Hey Ottawa, change the channel

10Jun09

Today was a very important day for those of us who live in Ottawa and care about what happens in the Parliament buildings. You see, the natural resources minister apologized for calling a crisis “sexy”. This was a big thing. She was teary-eyed, which cameras loved. She sounded sincere, which her supporters love. And she didn’t resign, which her opponents love. Hey, it means they can keep pushing her on this and, their logic supposes, raise their own stock in the process.

The problems here are several fold. While lots of us live in Ottawa and care about politics, every day I would wager that fewer and fewer residents of this city likely care much about what happens on Parliament Hill. At all. And people outside of Ottawa? They tuned out forever and a day ago. And why not? No matter what natural resources minister Lisa Raitt says, the damage is done. And no matter how politely the opposition parties excoriate her during question period, they’re winning no fans among the electorate on this.

How long have we talked about the inclination of politicians to avoid talking about issues and instead make disparaging remarks and generally insult each other?

Anyways, the politics of it all was swallowed hook, line, and sinker by most national media.

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Citizen

The Citizen led the way, splashing an image of Raitt on its front page. This might be the only paper that can legitimately claim that this is big news for its readers. I mean, the minister did apologize (important!) for badly mispeaking (also important!). Fair enough, Citizen.

Toronto Star

Toronto Star

But the Star used a similar picture of Raitt.

CBC

CBC

And then the CBC joined in, too.

CTV

CTV

So did CTV.

Interestingly, neither national newspaper made Raitt’s apology the biggest news on the site. Here is what the National Post offered along its right-side panel.

Raitt-PostPretty low-key. And while the Globe has Raitt-Gate placed prominently on its page, that the apology is not leading news looks very deliberate. Here is a screengrab of the Globe‘s site:

Raitt-GLOBETeased in the top-left corner is a discussion about why the issue shouldn’t be Raitt’s remarks or her apology, but instead the medical isotope shortage and looming semi-crisis.

Notice that Bob Rae’s deportation is top story and Raitt’s apology, while still big news, is clearly not the most prominent item on the page. Seems like the Globe is walking the talk on this one.

The Globe‘s editors might be looking at other news media and seeing that outside of Ottawa (which gives the Citizen a free pass here), lots of people don’t think Raitt’s apology is particularly pressing news.

Raitt-LA_PRESSE

La Presse

This is all the mention of the apology at Cyberpresse.ca.

Meanwhile, most other large newspapers in Canada are not thinking about Lisa Raitt this afternoon. Here are the headlining stories across the country.

Not one of those newspapers has Raitt anywhere near “pictured-here” status. Other people elsewhere couldn’t care much less about Raitt either way, it seems.

Edmonton Journal Top Headlines
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