Sunday, May 03, 2009

Leaders' debate? What debate? What election? Media falls down on the job

Did you know there is a televised debate tonight at 5 p.m. between BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell, New Democrat Opposition Leader Carole James and Green Party Leader Jane Sterk?

Do you know who the moderator is for the only TV debate?

Do you know if there is a panel of journalists asking questions? Who they are? What the format is?

Well, neither do I - and therein lies a tale.

Saturday afternoon I tuned in to the Sean Leslie Show on CKNW AM 980 to hear some updates on the election. Sean, to his credit, said on air that he did not know who the TV debate moderator was nor the format.

Sean asked his first guest, Province reporter Ian Austin - who didn't know either despite travelling on the campaign bus for the BC Liberals.

Sean asked his second guest, Canadian Press reporter Dirk Meissner - who also didn't know despite travelling on the NDP campaign bus.

I've been scouring the Internet this morning to no avail either - I found a news release about the debate that gives time - 5 p.m. - place - Shaw Cable studios in downtown Vancouver - and how media types can get accredited - but no mention of a host or media panel asking questions.

I've emailed CBC producer Wayne Williams for details and if I get them they will be posted here.

UPDATE! - Wayne Williams quickly got back to me - thanks Wayne! - and tells me that former news anchor Russ Froese is the host of tonight's 1 hour, commercial free broadcast. Froese is currently a Senior Counsellor at James Hoggan & Associates.

There is no media panel - questions will be posed by viewers from all the TV stations involved in the broadcast, including CBC, Global and CTV.

There will be 2 questions for each leader in 6 broad categories which include the economy, healthcare etc.

BACK TO EARLIER POSTING - Meanwhile, here's all that's been determined so far - the news release from the TV/media consortium.

You will note that BC Conservative Leader Wilf Hanni and BC Refederation Party Leader Mike Summers are not invited to participate.

Lastly, I will be live blogging on Public Eye Online with host Sean Holman and panelists Alex Tsakumis of 24 hours and former Vancouver School Trustee Eleanor Gregory throught out the hour-long debate.

Following that, The Tyee will be posting a series of reports and fact-checking on the debate, where I will also take part.

* * * * *

Media Advisory

Provincial leaders' debate Sunday May 3, 2009

VANCOUVER, April 30 /CNW/ - A consortium of B.C. media organizations will present a live, one-hour, commercial-free party leaders' debate this Sunday.

Location: Shaw Cable, Main Floor, 1067 West Cordova St., Vancouver

Time: 5 pm

Participants (alphabetically): Gordon Campbell of the B.C. Liberals;
Carole James of the B.C. NDP and Jane Sterk, of the Green Party of B.C.

A media room is being provided. The debate will take place in a separate,
closed studio. Audio and video feeds will be provided, but the number of
outlets is limited.

Arrangements should be made to record off-air at individual stations as a precaution.

Ten-minute scrums will be held with each of the leaders after the debate,
starting at 6:15 pm. Local TV and radio are welcome to record these scrums. A
uni-mike setup will be provided.


Members of news media are required to register in advance with name,
position, organization and contact info. Credentials required on site prior to

Media should arrive no later than 4:45 pm.

Send registration information by email to: XXXX


Anonymous said...

James Hoggan and associates?
The same Jim Hoggan who gave Gordon Campbell a whole whack of money? Who's associated with the Suzuki Foundation that has essentially fallen to its knees endorsing the Liberals?
The same James Hoggan and Associates that have been given hundreds of thousands in Liberal government contracts?
Well, I can't wait for this fairly moderated debate. Will there be an extended silence on this one too?

RossK said...

Mr. Hoggan is also listed as a person of interest being 'followed' on what appears to be the Premier's Chief-Of-Staff's Twitter feed.


Skookum1 said...

too bad they don't have a 15-minute media scrum for the host huh?

The further question is to Shaw cable, as to what their process for determining the structure of the debate and/or who the host would be....were they also the recipient of Liberal Party donations?

All I can say is "at least it wasn't Kevin Newman"

Skookum1 said...

Gives me an idea for a very "POV" Wiki article - "List of British Columbia Liberal Party contributors who have received government contracts", with the amounts listed. Not what Wikipedia is for and such a list would probably be quickly deleted or renamed/neutered to something provocative, but an interesting idea; also not allowed by rules against original research and "synthesis" but comparative lists of this kind abound....myself I'm just wondering if there's any kind of quotient between the amount donated and the amount of largess gotten back in return (notwithstanding dinner parties on the public purse as part of the schmoozing on the deal).

No wonder the government's in debt, when you think about the spending on kickbacking alone....back-scratching is part of our system, cf. the Sponsorship Scandal, Shawinigate, the Airbus Affair......

Companies who contribute to governing parties, or parties about-to-be-governed, know that the rate of return on such investments is well over 10 to 1, often very much more. It's a better deal than stock portfolios for sure.....

Skookum1 said...

er, my wording about Shaw cable receiving Liberal Party donations was an editing/writing error, but maybe more truth to it than seems at first. Because if a donation of a few thousand dollars to the Liberal Party gets you back hundreds of thousands of dollars, as with James Hoggan & Associates. then in actual clear fact it's the Liberal Party who's donating the public money to those who backed their campaign.

Just a further demonstration that the constitution we've evolved here is an oligarchy that has hijacked the mechanisms of what was supposed to have been a democracy....

RossK said...

I must say that Mr. Froese did a good job, at least within the straight jacket-like confines of that format.

The most interesting thing about the moderator was how Mr. Campbell kept calling him by his first name during those times when Ms. James took over the debate and became the def-facto moderator herself...


Anonymous said...

Was there not a single working journalist in all of BC who could have moderated the debate?