The debate over the debates for the next election is becoming quite silly.
For some reason, many media outlets are portraying the Conservative rejection of the broadcast consortium’s debate proposal as meaning Stephen Harper is running away from debating NDP Leader Tom Mulciar and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Let’s be clear on something:
Due to the Conservative Party’s position, there will be at least five election debates this fall, not two like in the last election.
Additionally, Harper has already agreed to four proposed debates – a Maclean's debate, a Globe and Mail/Google/YouTube debate, a Munk Centre debate and a French debate hosted by the TVA network.
Mulcair has agreed to all of those, plus the consortium debates and has said he will debate Stephen Harper anywhere he can.
Trudeau has only agreed to debates hosted by the broadcast consortium.
The leader of the third party has also issued demands, more demands than the prime minister or leader of the official opposition.
So now that the facts have been laid out, who is really avoiding the debates?
The main broadcasters are throwing a hissy fit because they have lost control of the debates. They can still air any of the debates that have been set but that isn’t enough.
They want to run the whole show, select the moderator, the terms, the questions and the awful set.
(Why are the sets always so bad...?)
It is being portrayed as some kind of national crisis by some, an idea I just don’t get.
This morning I was on the radio with the usually level headed Phil Johnson at AM 1150 in Kelowna for our weekly political chat. Phil was in high dungeon that Harper would skip the consortium debate.
As we can read over at Huffington Post, the NDP weren’t too happy with the first proposal either. They didn’t want to have the debate at a university, saying that would not be a neutral venue.
What really isn’t neutral is the coverage coming from Canada’s major broadcasters. These supposedly neutral observers and imparters of straight news are now using their bully pulpits to try and force the Conservatives to agree to their debate terms.
Look, I don’t care who hosts the debates. Let’s just have some and please: let them be better than the last several I’ve been forced to watch, often in person, as I have covered them.
If the broadcaster consortium really just wants to make sure as many people as possible get to see the debates as possible then they will air the debates put on by other media outlets. Otherwise, they are simply acting like spoiled children that are not getting their way.
Do you agree? Talk about it in the comments!
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