The Liberal leadership is not even a couple of weeks old and already reporters are getting inundated with the suggestions from anonymous turd-mongers wondering why they are not covering this angle or that aspect of one candidate
The Telegram’s James McLeod wrote a blog post about it on Tuesday, rattling off some examples of the stuff he’s been getting. McLeod offers a few simple explanations of why reporters don’t cover the sort of crap that these tidbits of excrement.
In the process, he actually gives publicity to the stuff he says wouldn’t be covered for journalistic so there is a bit of a contradiction in there. For the most part, what you can see are the sort of small-minded points offered up by people who have nothing much to say and on top of that don;t even have the stones to identify themselves. The world is full of those sorts of sorry specimens of humanity; politics just makes it seems like there are more of them attached to political parties.
The real answer why many of these sorts of comments never make the news is that they are not, in and of themselves, stuff people will generally find interesting. What makes a political accusation news is not necessarily the substance of the charge but that someone is making it. Controversy makes news. If an anonymous e-mailer had the spine to stand behind the accusation, it would make news. Since they won’t nut up, then they should shut up and the rest of should just ignore them.
Sadly, that isn’t what happens. In this province not so very long ago, we’ve had incidents where an incumbent’s sexual orientation became the subject of a whisper campaign in election that he ultimately lost. Were the two connected? There’s no way to prove one conclusion or another but we’d all be fools if we didn’t allow that the smears had their desired effect on enough people to make a difference.
Former Liberal leader John Turner was the victim of an ongoing rumour campaigns during the 1980s often coming out of the subterranean leadership fight being waged by Jean Chretien and his supporters. One of the hardest charges was that he had a drinking problem. The whole thing lingered on for some time, widely known among a great many people in Ottawa and across the country. No one reported it until Pamela Wallin posed the question to Turner once, on air.
As long as there are people, there will be rumours and people to pass them along.
That’s just the way it is.