Showing posts sorted by relevance for query credibility gap. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query credibility gap. Sort by date Show all posts

28 December 2020

Mind the Gap #nlpoli

There is no shortage of gaps in politics in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Regular readers will be familiar with the Credibility Gap.  That’s the space between what a politician says and what the politician does.

Marketers forget that when it comes to reputation and hence lasting, reliable political support, actions speak far louder than words. They talk about brands and branding.  If you spend any time digging into brands and branding you will find really vague definitions that quickly lead you to the revelation that brands are for marketing what dependency theory and neo-liberalism are for left-wing academics.

True in civilian marketing. 

Doubly true in political marketing.

The gap between words and actions may not turn up right away but it does have an impact.

So take a look at the end of four months of Andrew Furey’s premiership at the number of times he has talked about “big, bold ideas”.

Now looked at his actions.

Nothing big or bold about them.

And the ideas are very familiar.  Pour government money into this hole or that.  Hold a government-issue dog and pony show to watch the politicians pouring public money into the hole.

Rinse.  Repeat.

21 November 2007

Leaving out crucial facts damages cred and rep

One of the things that undermines any marketing or public relations effort is the gap between claim or statement on the one hand and fact on the other.

It's called a credibility gap and when it comes to the provincial government's triffids brand cum "brand signature", the credibility gap keeps opening wider.  The business ministry issued a "news" release on Wednesday claiming that "[t]he brand signature of Newfoundland and Labrador is fast gaining international recognition."

The basis for the claim is that the "animated television spot featuring the brand logo captured a prestigious Silver London International Statue in television at the world-renowned London International Advertising Awards November 12 and also earned a finalist award in the animation category."


Bravo to the creative crew at Target Marketing.

But the rest of the release is just puffery, rehashing the entire brand signature/brand logo mythology that's been spewing from every government orifice since the $1.1 million plus farce was unveiled last year.

The London International Awards recognize excellence in various aspects of advertising and design. It's a big deal for any company to be a finalist, let alone win a silver or gold award as the best in the category. The creativity involved in the project had to stand up against some stiff competition and to be sure, anyone familiar with target's projects over the years will recognize that the pitcher plant logo thingy is by no means even close to the best work the company has done.

But at no point did the logo receive international recognition of the type the provincial government claimed.

Check it out for yourself.

Target won an award for a specific aspect of a specific component of the project.

That's nowhere the same as saying the "brand signature... is fast gaining international recognition,"  since that implies the logo itself won recognition.

The video created for the launch - the one with the wailing banshee voice - garnered an award in the Television/Cinema category for original music with lyrics.

That's it.

It also finished as a finalist in the cel animation section of the same category.

Congratulations, Target.

And a giant raspberry to a release from a government department that first of all isn't "news" of any sort, and second of all, tries to claim credit that properly belongs to the creative talent at Target. A new minister and a few other changes and the department responsible still hasn't learned from the mistakes of the launch.


24 May 2012

And she believes this crap is brilliant #nlpoli

Arguments are so much more convincing when claims match with the evidence.

Otherwise you wind up with a credibility gap.  It’s bad enough for ordinary people, but when you are – for example – the Premier of a province, having people doubt that what you say is true, you are pretty much headed for disaster.

Now Kathy Dunderdale has had a problem with getting things straight before, so, for many readers of these e-scribbles, this latest episode will come as no shock.  They can just look at this as more evidence of the problem the Premier has with figuring out a whole bunch of things lately.

19 April 2014

Legitimacy and Credibility #nlpoli

In the crude, modern way of putting things, shit got real for Premier-in-waiting Frank Coleman on Friday.

The Telegram’s James McLeod tweeted Coleman’s response to a question about whether Coleman planned to do this year what he normally does on Good Friday and participate in the anti-abortion march in Corner Brook.

Here’s what McLeod tweeted:

Media preview

And then Twitter exploded.

16 September 2011

The Popcorn Calculation #nlpoli

From the Telegram’s editorial on Wednesday:

The problem is that, when the proposed appointment first came to light, Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Natural Resources Minister Shawn Skinner fell all over each other claiming that they — not Williams — were responsible for the appointment. …

Problem is, the only way to keep the glare from falling on Williams was to deliberately dissemble and mislead, and it appears that the politicians who remained in office were completely up to the task.

At the very least, the letter shows Dunderdale and Skinner have a facility in being less than candid.

That’s really the crux of the story that dominated political news coverage for the first three days of this week.

And you have to put that fact against a group of politicians who claim they came to office on a platform of openness, accountability and transparency.

What they’ve done is the opposite of what they’ve claimed they were about.

Skinner and Dunderdale opened up a huge credibility gap for themselves.  That’s bad news for politicians. 

Danny Williams managed to maintained credibility even when he said some absolutely incredible things.  People believed him no matter how big – or how obvious –the whopper.  And he told whoppers a lot more often than people admit.

Kathy is no Danny, not by a long shot.

So when she heads into an election  - even against the Liberals and the NDP as weak and disorganized as they both really are,  taking a blow to your credibility is never good.

Lots of people already have questions about Dunderdale.  The CRA polls, as fundamentally skewed as they are, still aren’t so crude that they missed the huge drop in leader support for Dunderdale compared to Williams.

What’s worse is the drop in party support.  It now stands at a mere 44% of respondents to the last CRA poll, once you take all the CRA torquing and massaging out.  In other words, it wouldn’t take much to put the Tories into a serious election problem.

How do people respond to claims about Muskrat Falls, for example, when the person who is telling them the whole thing is great is also the person who dissembled and misled – in the words of the Telegram editorialist – about something as comparatively trivial as Danny Williams’ role in the Liz Matthews nomination?

People looking at the current provincial government will also start looking at other examples like the Dunderdale Skinner performance.  Joan Burke on the MUN president, for example. 

Dunderdale on Joan Cleary and the Public Tender Act.

Kevin O’Brien.

Kathy Dunderdale and the Tories stand on the edge of the Gorge of Eternal Peril.  Dunderdale’s credibility is weakened. More people than before will think twice when she says something now.

The Tories aren’t likely to be swallowed up by the political chasm as a result. 

Amateurs think winning a campaign is about having a star leader.

It isn’t.

It’s about the ground game.

The logistics.

That’s still where the Tories have an advantage.  If the party district organizations hold, that alone will pull through seats the Tories might otherwise lose.  District level organization beyond one or two spots has been the traditional NDP weakness. If they’ve added some strength, they could have a stronger showing.

The Liberals have atrophied at the district level over the past couple of terms.  They’ve rebounded in a good few but overall the party is still far weaker than it ought to be.  You can put that all down to neglect of the basic party organization by the people right at the top.

And organization on the ground is what wins campaigns.

But if the internal splits and schisms evident in the Danny Williams outburst this week got wider…

Well, that might be a different matter.

Stay tuned. 

The election is only just starting in earnest. this could be a real Ginger- get-the-popcorn kinda show.

- srbp -

22 August 2016

Message Control #nlpoli

Memorial University professor Alex Marland has a new book on the market.  Brand Command is about political communications.  Marland interviewed a lot of people and did a lot of research for this very big book that lots of people should read.

One of the big ideas in the book is that politicians these days are very keen on something called message control.  They have a fetish for consistency so that everyone is singing the same things from the same hymn book, as the metaphor goes. It's an old idea and there are many reasons why politicians like to be consistent.  For one thing,  repetition across many means of communication increases the likelihood the message gets through.

On another level, though,  consistent messaging means ultimately that actions match words.  The message of the words must match the message in the action that makes those words real.

In that sense,  message consistency is about credibility and values and trust. Politicians like to tell people what they believe in and  how they will make decisions. Voters don't spend a lot of time thinking about government so they want someone they can trust to make decisions they agree with or can generally trust are the right ones.  When political analysts talk about "connecting with voters"  that's what they are getting at. 

The real connection voters need to see is the one between the words used to make promises with the actions that follows.  That connection makes the words credible 0 literally, believable - the next time there are words about what the politician will do.

Anything that attacks a politician's credibility is bad and when - as in Ball's case - the wounds are all self-inflicted, then you know there is a huge problem.

So why did Dwight Ball fire John Ottenheimer?

11 June 2013

And then magic will happen: Kennedy #nlpoli

Corporate Research Associates obscures what little useful information there is in its quarterly polling by converting party choice numbers to a share of decideds instead of a share of all answers.

Nowhere has this been more obvious lately than in its second quarter polling in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Report the numbers as CRA released them and you get what CBC and the rest of the conventional media will tell you:  big Conservative drop; Liberals and the NDP in a tie, with the NDP down slightly, but within the margin of error for the poll. Liberals up a bunch


03 April 2008

Revisiting the Gorge of Eternal Peril

An e-mail from a seasoned political observer prompted a second look at a post original made at Persuasion Business in the summer of 2007.

The e-mail exchange centred on the political implications of sudden discoveries of e-mails previously not thought to exist or of the question of what the Premier knew of the Eastern Health crisis and when he knew it. The notion of credibility came quickly to mind since it is a core concept in public relations and it is certainly a core concept in the entire Eastern Health debacle.

The whole idea is the focus of a post titled "The Gorge of Eternal Peril."

One of the examples cited is a pair of comments made on George Tilley's resignation.  In hindsight, it is remarkable to see how consist Eastern Health and the health ministry have been in trying puffery and palaver when simple straightforward statements would do.  Tilley's replacement taxed the ears of her audience on Thursday with her endless talk of stories being told at the end of the day.

06 May 2014

HVP controversy deepens #nlpoli

[In a hole with a jack-hammer update  at bottom]

The controversy around Humber Valley Paving got worse for the provincial Conservatives on Monday as transportation minister Nick McGrath confirmed that he actually released $19 million in performance and goods bond’s supplied by the paving company despite the fact they failed to complete the tender as original awarded.

But that’s not all.

Put McGrath’s comments in the House on Monday together with media reports last week and you have a pretty clear picture of the pretty sweet deal McGrath cut with HVP.

01 April 2013

Damn the finances! Full spend ahead! #nlpoli

We don’t know precisely what economist Wade “the Can-Opener”  Locke is doing to earn his loonie from the Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers.

Finance minister Jerome Kennedy hired him this year to give advice on how to manage the province’s financial mess.  According to the Telegram his contract caps of his pay at $75,000 for a couple of months work.  Locke says regardless he’ll only bill a dollar.  That’s decent of him given that the university is giving him 80% of so of his usual paycheque now that he is on paid research leave from his usual job.

Locke has given the provincial government advice before on everything from Equalization to the annual budget to Muskrat Falls.  We don’t know what, if anything, he got paid for those other stints, but that’s really neither here nor there.  The thing is that Locke is closely tied to the current administration and to what they are doing.

We may not know what else he has been doing the past few weeks but Kennedy released a short memo Locke sent him on March 25, the day before the provincial budget.  It’s a telling little document in many ways.

24 November 2010

The political uses of talk radio

From a story on the front page of the Wednesday Telegram:
Open-line has little impact on the formation of big-picture public policy, but does have a strong effect on government behaviour, with political actors paying "considerable attention" to what is said on VOCM. 
That has translated into partisan efforts to control the frequency, as it were - intense monitoring of open-line programs for rapid reaction to issues that may arise; promoting party positions through stacking the lines to suggest grassroots support; and using the airwaves to avoid answering difficult questions from other media outlets.
Sadly, it isn’t available online unless you are a Telly subscriber.

The story discusses an article by Memorial University political scientists Alex Marland and Matthew Kerby who conducted a detailed study of politicians and talk radio in the province.  As part of the research, Marland and Kerby compiled statistical analysis of callers, frequency of calls and dates as well as a series of in-depth interviews with politicians, political staff and journalists.

Regular readers of this corner of the universe will recognise the discussion, for example, in this section of the Telegram story about planted callers,
Marland and Kerby found that the limited pool of callers to open line presents "a very serious credibility gap," with line-stacking so prevalent it is believed that the lines are monopolized by a pool of just 30 to 100 callers. 
"The prevalence of political calls questions whether the openness and spirit of talk radio is supplanted by parties' efforts to control the shows' content," the MUN researchers note in their paper.
There’s also a section on poll goosing, that is timing announcements and open line activity to coincide with CRA polling periods.

And the bizarro attention paid to VOCM Question of the Day? Here’s a tiny bit of the Marland and Kerby take on things:
One respondent provided us with tabular data of efforts to influence the outcome, which involved hundreds of automated repeat votes that were critical of Williams, and which almost instantly provoked an apparently automated response supporting the premier. This occurred only during the workday and not in the evening (one minister told us that party staff‘go crazy’ clicking during the day).[Note:  Marland and Kerby here are referring to political staff working in government offices]
The one thing they really don’t make clear is that the level of this sort of activity since October 2003 dwarfs anything that went before.  Some people may like to think otherwise, just as some people like to deny this sort of stuff goes on at all. The evidence speaks loudly for itself, however.

“The audience is listening: talk radio and public policy in Newfoundland and Labrador" is available in the November 2010 issue of Media, Culture and Society, a peer-reviewed journal of research on communications and society. Individual articles are available for purchase online or through your local library. 

The Memorial University Library subscribes to MCS for those who can access it.

- srbp -

29 May 2012

What they said…Part Deux #nlpoli

Basic public relations problem.

Say one thing.

Say another thing.

A few weeks later, do something else, twice over.

For starters, here’s the what Premier Kathy Dunderdale said in the House of Assembly in March about job cuts and the provincial budget:

03 August 2009

Lemme get this straight…

The guy who liked to recycle expense claims (in one case three times) and who serves in an administration renowned for recycling announcements (in some cases as many as eight times) is criticising another politician for supposedly recycling announcements.

Oh yeah and to make it even funnier, this same guy campaigned not once but twice for the guys he now criticises and he’d-a-been out there a third and fourth time if his boss hadn’t told him he couldn’t.

Can you say “credibility gap”,  boys and girls?

Maybe he’d have been waving around a signed contract for the feds to help pave the Trans-Labrador Highway.

Speaking of HMV, where exactly is that lawsuit against Roger Grimes, John Hickey?  If memory serves, Hickey was suing Grimes for something Danny Williams actually said.

Now there’s a brilliant law suit for you.

By the by,  who is stunneder in that case:  the guy who gave the advice to sue or the guy who took it and wound up paying the bill out of his own pocket?

Tough call.

Oh yes, and this latest release recycling news release is itself recycled.


02 April 2006

Requiem for The Sunday Independent

The Sunday Independent is no more.

Actually, that paper died when it was bought out by local entrepreneur Brian Dobbin.

Now its successor newspaper, The Independent, is out of business as of yesterday when the last number went to the printers.

The official reason - repeated ad nauseum by Dobbin and managing editor Ryan Cleary - is that the paper ran out of money and time.

The official reason is a crock.

Dobbin and Cleary had two full years to do whatever was needed to make the paper viable. That's plenty of time. There was also plenty of cash, evident from the page three picture in the last number showing the staff members. By a rough count, the final staff was at least double the complement of the old Sunday Independent and may well be closer to triple the band that got the paper off the ground in the fall of 2003.

The magnitude of the bleeding will never be known publicly, but it was obviously enough to push Dobbin into abandoning the paper. The Current estimated last fall that Dobbin was losing about $10, 000 per issue; the real figure might well have been much higher once one considers how much of the Spindy's ad revenue came from Dobbin's other companies.

The real season the Spindependent died had nothing to do with time and money. No one can blame Trans-Con Media for this loss, either.


The Spindy died because it simply never matched the grandiose claims its publisher and managing editor continued to make for it right up to the interment. In the whole twenty-odd months of its life, there was rarely anything in the Spindy you couldn't live without reading on Sunday when the paper came out; nothing that couldn't wait until Wednesday when you could get the paper online for free.

As we put it here at the Bond Papers a year ago:
the more Ryan slags everyone else and claims that his paper is somehow superior, the more I know it is just spin; pure unrefined shite. Every week, I look through the Indy and I have yet to see any story that isn't covered just as well if not better in any other news outlet in the province. Well, almost any. I don't read The Monitor any more.

And when I see recycled flatulent crap, as I did this week yet again, on the Indy front page, no less, I can explain to you why your circ sucks. It has nothing to do with CBC refusing your TV spots.

The basic problem is that you claim to be the newspaper for thinking people. You claim to be informative and a whole bunch of other things. Anybody who has looked at the paper knows that it isn't any of those things. Your ad campaign sets you up for a gigantic credibility gap when they hear the ad and then look at a paper that is more like the Spindependent or, this week, the Windypendent than the newspaper for thoughtful people.

If you want to boost your circulation, Ryan, stop telling me how great you are. Try writing a story that proves it. Stop with the grandiose and go back to the basics. Give me solid research, a novel approach, some background and good writing. No one is really interested with the stuff they can get anywhere else, including Open Line. And they obviously aren't really interested in pseudo-nationalist rantings in place of well-researched stuff that draws its conclusions from the evidence, not picks evidence to fit the preconceived conclusions.

In the long run, you'll find that approach is actually less expensive than the in-house ad campaign and it will be more effective in boosting your audience. Boost the audience and you can sell enough advertising to pay the bills.
To be fair, in the past year - especially in the past six months - the Indy generated better stories. The Melina and Keith series is an example, but sadly it was a rare example of the potential the Indy had but never came close to attaining consistently enough to make the paper financially viable.

Cleary's only big project - the much ballyhooed rack of Confederation six-parter - was an utter flop. He did not pull in "every brain" as he claimed in the last number of the paper. Instead he grabbed two refugees from radio talk shows, neither of them known for sticking with facts. By the looks of it, he did grab the janitor to cobble together something that didn't challenge the local orthodoxy. The Spindy series merely repeated it.

They had a conclusion and by God the facts would be chosen to conform to it. When problems occurred, the Indy management was quick to claim information actually in the public domain couldn't be found or was being withheld. In Newfoundland public life, the most common of barnyard animals is the scapegoat.

Not only did the Spindy fail to live up to its self-promotion, it also missed in another crucial area as well. In his final column, Dobbin writes of wanting to put in print what he had heard over a beer or while sitting at the dinner table.

There are two problems with that. First, what is heard over a beer is seldom better than the stuff Cliff Claven spouted. People don't quote barstool know-it-alls except to laugh at them. Second, and more importantly, what is evidently heard around the Dobbin or Cleary dinner table is not some radical new thought. It is very much the view of the local elite on everything from Danny-boy to Confederation.

For a supposedly brazen newspaper, being an Establishment mouthpiece is deadly. Upstarts need to be anti-Christs. They need to challenge orthodoxy, reject the conventional. They need to get in your face and stay there so that as much as people might publicly denounce you, your broadsheet is their secret, guilty pleasure.

The stuff they pull up the covers and read with a flashlight so the husband...or wife...wouldn't catch them at it.

The stuff they will need to go to confession about.

"Forgive me, Fahder for I have sinned. I read it in The Independent."

The Indy under Brian and Ryan was entirely conventional and totally orthodox. The audience they were shooting for already knew just about everything the paper printed and if they needed reinforcement, then surely they could get it by tuning in five days a week to Bill Rowe...for free. Without eyeballs, a paper can't attract readers. And without readers, there are few if any advertisers - the source of cash for all publications.

With all that said, mourn the loss of The Independent. This province needs another media voice, not because the rest is bland or suppressed, but because there are stories here to tell that aren't being told by anyone else.

Mourn the loss - hopefully a temporary one - of talent like photo editor Paul Daly and senior editor Stephanie Porter. They remained my only real reason for buying the paper each week. Sadly, they could not keep the venture afloat on their talents, as considerable as they are.

Above all else, mourn the loss of potential. If just for a moment the Indy had ever come close to what it ought to have been, we'd be sitting here on a Sunday with jaws on floor. We'd be gobsmacked at the latest revelation.

Instead, I am typing an obit I never wanted to see, let alone write.

I sincerely wish it were otherwise.

15 May 2005

A little perspective would be nice

On Day Two of the revamped Fair Deal campaign, over 7, 000 e-mails have been sent to Norm Doyle and Loyola Hearn pressing them to vote for the offshore money on Thursday - put province above party.

I just caught Loyola Hearn desperately trying to avoid dealing with that core issue.

It is everyone else's fault, says Loyola, not mine that I must put party above province.

Let's take a little time out for perspective.

A few short months ago, a motion cam before the House - from Loyola I believe - condemning the Prime Minister in strong language and pressing the government to sign a deal on the offshore.

Some Liberal MPs voted for the motion, something I don't mind telling you I thought was despicable given that the Pm was obviously trying to conclude some sort of deal. I even went so far as to e-mail one of them saying that he should resign.

Well, in hindsight, I will say that I was wrong. Those Liberal members of parliament actually took a stronger stand since they voted on a mere motion which, even though it criticized the prime minister, had little weight. It still took guts to do that.

By contrast, now when the cash is on the line, when it is meaningful and serious, it is clear that both Doyle and Hearn are putting party before province.

A few months ago those Liberal MPs could have sided with the prime minister and voted against the motion knowing full well a deal would be done and the vote would come before the House. The difference between the two positions could not be any more stark.

As a closing point, here is what Stephen Harper said in the Commons last week when he failed to get unanimous consent to split the offshore deals from the rest of the budget bill:

"The government House leader and the Chair will of course know that by what he has done he has ensured no vote on the Atlantic accord for at least a year."

Now what exactly did Mr. Harper mean by that, in light of Mr. Hearn's assurances that a Conservative government would bring the bill before the House shortly after the next federal election?

Credibility gap?

Rampant pinocchiosis?

Take your pick.

15 March 2005

Spin Control: Locally owned news very predictable

This week is definitely the week when everyone should wait and get the Independent for free when it goes online Wednesday.

Yes, I know you hear that every time I write about the Indy, but this time I really mean it.

Page 1: A story about foreign overfishing and how critics say trade relations with the EU are more important than sending out the navy to shoot any foreigner daring to take fish we should rightly be driving into extinction ourselves. What's new: there isn't a quote from Gus "Highgrade" Etchegary. This time the anti-foreigner quotes are from Sheila Copps, since Sheila is in town plugging her own book and demonstrating - via John Crosbie - that not all Newfoundlanders have the talent of Rick Mercer.

Page 1: a story in which Leo Puddester promises a "racket" over treatment his members are getting from government . Yeah Leo. Right. We heard that one last year, when there actually was a fight and well, there was a fight. But that was last year, Leo.

Page 1: A story by Jeff Ducharme telling us that, surprise surprise, Alberta makes way more money of its oil and gas than we do from ours. Try to find a reason for running that story. I guess we need to hear that yet again in order to be a well-informed, thinking person.

Editorial: Condemning CBC for not running the Indy's arrogant, insulting and completely laughable TV spots. (Yes Ryan, they were produced in-house and rather cheaply; It shows.)

Running through most of the editorial are the predictable things: The Indy is the only locally owned paper in the province. Every other news organization is pure shite. Buy us and be a thinking person. Blah. Blah. Blah.

There's another column by Ivan Morgan saying stuff I swear he said to me over a beer at the Breezeway or Ben's 20 years ago.

There's a column by John Crosbie attacking Liberals for corruption. John ignores his colleagues from the old Tory party from Quebec who did hard time for political crimes in the Mulroney years, but I digress.

There's a short-I mean really short - article on the Radar for Goose campaign. Interviews with proponents only. No background. Obviously people who read this blog know more about X band radar than anyone who relies on the locally owned paper for thinking people.

There's a story on page 4 on a road in Quebec that might mean the Stunnel is a living breathing idea. Above that on the page are stories on the crab plan and complaints from Labrador about a lack of kidney dialysis.

Now think about that.

I mean really think.

A hot current story about the fishery that screams for background detail - why did Trevor Taylor cook up this particular crab scheme? - gets buried on page 4.

Ditto a story on health care shortfalls.

Recycled crap makes the front page where, typically one finds...


and the editorial? Well, let me just say this: the more Ryan slags everyone else and claims that his paper is somehow superior, the more I know it is just spin; pure unrefined shite. Every week, I look through the Indy and I have yet to see any story that isn't covered just as well if not better in any other news outlet in the province. Well, almost any. I don't read The Monitor any more.

And when I see recycled flatulent crap, as I did this week yet again, on the Indy front page, no less, I can explain to you why your circ sucks. It has nothing to do with CBC refusing your TV spots.

The basic problem is that you claim to be the newspaper for thinking people. You claim to be informative and a whole bunch of other things. Anybody who has looked at the paper knows that it isn't any of those things. Your ad campaign sets you up for a gigantic credibility gap when they hear the ad and then look at a paper that is more like the Spindependent or, this week, the Windependent than the newspaper for thoughtful people.

If you want to boost your circulation, Ryan, stop telling me how great you are. Try writing a story that proves it. Stop with the grandiose and go back to the basics. Give me solid research, a novel approach, some background and good writing. No one is really interested with the stuff they can get anywhere else, including Open Line. And they obviously aren't really interested in pseudo-nationalist rantings in place of well-researched stuff that draws its conclusions from the evidence, not picks evidence to fit the preconceived conclusions.

In the long run, you'll find that approach is actually less expensive than the in-house ad campaign and it will be more effective in boosting your audience. Boost the audience and you can sell enough advertising to pay the bills.

In the meantime, I'll just recycle my existing bank of quotes from Gus and Sue and Ivan and Ryan and John Fitz.

And I'll keep telling people to wait until Wednesday.

Nothing in the Spindy is so hot you have to read it on Sunday.

And on Wednesday, you can get the Spindy for what it is worth right now.

I sincerely wish it were otherwise.

14 March 2005

Loyola Sullivan's Credibility Gap: Welcome to the Grand Canyon

It is possible the CBC story actually misquotes Loyola, but I don't think so.

Let's compare the claims Loyola makes and compare them to the facts

Claim 1: "Starting with its first budget last March, the Williams government has changed the way it reckons its books.

Last year's projection, for instance, included the cash or current account deficit of $362 million, which traditionally has been the only figure governments have reported as its deficit.

However, the Tories now included all liabilities, including pension deficits."

This is CBC background but it reinforces the general tone of Loyola's comments. These aren't Loyola's errors directly but they increase the errors of Loyola's actual comments by putting them in a false context.

Fact: The provincial government switched to accrual accounting two fiscal years before the Williams administration took office. Those projections included all liabilities, including pension deficits.

Fact: There was nothing new in last year's budget figures.

Fact: The $362 million cash shortfall Loyola predicted was wiped out by economic growth including oil price windfalls.

Fact: The 2004 accrual deficit will be closer to $500 million, almost half the amount projected in March 2004.

Claim 2: "Sullivan says it would be impossible to balance the budget in the next three to four years without deep cuts to government spending.

Instead, he expects the deficit to hover at around $500 million for at least a few more years."

Fact: Provincial government revenues will increase annually for the foreseeable future.

Fact: The provincial government's own projections show oil revenues in Fiscal Year 2006 will be at least $600 million. That's three times current annual revenues.

Therefore, it should be possible to balance the province's books on an accrual basis without "massive cuts" to spending.

Claim 3: "That could change, he says, if oil prices soar and government revenues increase.

However, Sullivan says the debt will continue to grow, no matter what happens."

Fact: the ONLY way that the debt will continue to grow despite revenue increases will be if the provincial government fails to address the deficit and debt as it pledged in the Blue Print AND it increases spending in the meantime.

Fact: Oil prices are expected to remain at high levels, therefore increasing provincial government revenues beyond the projections used in the first six months of 2004.

Fact: The federal government has already announced increases to federal transfers in addition to the January offshore deal.

Fact: Voisey's Bay and White Rose will begin production within the next three years increasing government revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Fact: Hebron-Ben Nevis will likely be brought onstream before 2010, further increasing government revenue. Development spending will increase government revenue before the field comes on stream.

Claim 4: "In particular, he says the government needs to spend money on infrastructure to help the economy and to boost government revenue."

Fact: There is a need to spend money on infrastructure like roads and schools.

Fact: This spending is designed to correct previous neglect, not to help the economy. The economy is thriving largely due to resource developments that are not dependent on infrastructure spending.

Fact: Government spending on infrastructure will not boost government revenues. [Let's allow that this sentence is an error by the CBC webpage writer. Maybe the increased government revenues is something else the government needs to do besides spend on infrastructure. As anyone can see, though, government revenues will increase anyway.]

15 February 2016

Stepping on rakes: #nlpoli version

Premier Dwight Ball has changed his position. 

That’s the first thing.

Here’s the way James McLeod described Ball’s position on cuts to the public service.  It’s from the Saturday Telegram:
“We’ve met with some of the labour organizations and leaders right now, so what we’ve committed to — and it hasn’t changed — is attrition still remains as the primary source for us to see changes in numbers around the public sector, and a fair negotiating process,” Ball said. 
“Once we get into that fair negotiation, we will see then what direction the discussion goes.” 
Ball said job cuts in the government will be tied together with contract negotiations.
“They’re all connected, because it’s all where you save money and expenses,” he said.

04 December 2005

No contest in the TV spots

Check out the Conservatives' first TV spots - a series of three 30 sec spots built around the fake concept.

Here's Steve appearing to be interviewed by someone who is obviously not a real TV presenter. There's a screen in the background on which people who appear obviously to be actors are reading obviously scripted bits in an obviously 'I am reading a cue card or teleprompter' kinda way.

The people are referred to by first names, like "Joan", so we get the impression really quickly that these are generic Canadians. They are not real - even though there are obviously a few million real people across the country who would have been prepared to participate in some Conservative Party advertising.

Then Steve recites a bit of dialogue in a obviously stilted way. Aside from the obviously stiff approach and the obviously fake nature to the spots, the messaging is pretty heavy handed, as in crudely executed.

Then there are the first Liberals spots.

A soft approach featuring real people, with real names in real places across Canada telling you why they are voting Liberal. Since I had a small part in identifying people to participate, I can tell you they are real.

Then there's another one with a series of headlines praising Liberal policies over the past couple of years.

There's a big gap here in the quality and the execution of these TV spots on just about every level, from creative on down through the list. To be fair, the Conservative spots match their first week of campaigning in tone and message, but - and this is a big but - there is a sophisticated way to run political advertising that the Conservatives have just missed. They missed it in the flight they ran in August as well.

If the context and appearance - the look and feel - of the advertising lacks credibility, then the message will lack credibility as well.

But just so that everyone understand what the standards are for this type of advertising, try surfing through this site, The Living Room Candidate. I dare you to find a recent political television ad as lame-assed as these Conservative ones.

26 September 2014

Premier Davis and the Dead Children #nlpoli

Paul Davis will get a lift down to Government House this afternoon and swear the oath of office so Tom Marshall can finally get out of politics.

It’s been about two weeks since Davis won the Conservative Party leadership and that’s a fairly typical period of time between election and taking office.  What hasn’t been normal is that Davis has been doing something in the Premier’s Office since last week.  He’s been standing in for the real Premier and we don;t know for sure what else he has been doing.

Davis doesn’t have a cabinet yet.  He’s going to name the cabinet and get them sworn in next week.  As for office staff,  Davis has named a chief of staff but there’s no sign yet of other names for other jobs.  One of the key jobs that is going begging is the person to run Davis’ public communications. 

There’s talk Davis will run a national competition for someone to take the job.  What would happen in the meantime – if he really goes that idiotic route – is anyone’s guess.  By the time they find someone to take the communications job, Davis’ political goose may already be cooked.