Please call pre-election spending for what it is
I have always found the orgy of government spending that goes on in the months leading up to an election to be extremely distasteful.
What governments are attempting to do, when they indulge in this behavior, is buy our votes with our own money.
The government in power did not invent this phenomenon it's a time-honoured tradition for Liberals too though I did have high hopes that Premier Williams would rise above this tawdry game and set the province on a new course.
Either way, I think it's important for the media to keep an eye on this practice and build a reality check' into such coverage. I've been keeping an eye on this, as the folks at Here & Now will attest, and today I'm calling The Telegram out on some of their coverage.
On July 20, The Telegram ran an article in its Business section about Shawn Skinner's announcement that the province would open six new career information offices around the province. The article appears to be written directly from a press release, with no reference to an election pending in October.
The day before, on July 19, The Telegram's business section carried an article with this glowing headline: Premier brings optimism to Corner Brook.
What the Premier brought were some upbeat comments about economic prospects in the region and another bag of election goodies, including a tender award for construction of a new courthouse, and presentation of cheques for the Summer Games and the Ironman competition. Again, the reporter made no mention of an election in the offing.
Both articles originally appeared in the Western Star and were reprinted in The Telegram, which I suspect is the source of the problem. When politicians come to your region with spending announcements, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement. Back in cynical St. John's, however, we need to curb our enthusiasm a little. And no, I am not saying that Corner Brook or any locale does not deserve these goodies, as dubious as the timing may be.
All I am saying is, please temper your coverage with a few simple words like "a round of pre-election spending announcements."
Please remind us why the politicians are suddenly so generous with our money.
Reporters who fail to do so and editors who don't fix it risk becoming an extension of the government's PR machine.