Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Michael Ignatieff: Losing Momentum, But Gaining Props

(Props as in slang for propellers or possible sources of momentum)

Cerberus's blog is right, there is a lot of media coverage on all the candidates, most notably on Ignatieff, Dion, and Kennedy. Now this is an honest statement, and I open the door to discussion on it yet I hardly doubt anyone would have much evidence; but Ignatieff and Dion seem to only be in the media, at least partially due to particular 'friends' or 'supporters' in the media. Whereas Gerard Kennedy has actually got media attention from policies and his positions.

I admit this sounds prejudiced, as you've noticed this Blog endorses Gerard Kennedy. As a reflective being I cannot say it is completely without bias, as I don't exactly know; but I can present evaluable facts to back up my claim that Ignatieff and Dion are on the down turn of their momentum, that is if Dion ever had real momentum.

Michael Ignatieff recently had an interview about him published in Macleans, it was written by Peter C. Newman; now this article was motivated not because of the man or his policies, but based on his past and currently recent 'buzz.' The article begins with such a hint into the reasoning to choose Ignatieff to do an article on:

"Cool" best describes Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal leadership contender creating all that buzz. Cool is an elusive essence but it sums up the lanky ex-Harvard professor's surprising emergence as the candidate to beat in the Liberal party's desperate quest to renew itself.

Furthermore in that article, the interviewer doesn't ask Micael about his policies, the closest he comes is a follow up question pertaining to expanding Ottawa's powers. This illustrates that Michael is only in the media only as a result to his past momentum and conveys no self-generating force in the media about his campaign.

Another article about Michael Ignatieff that had some Ignatieff blogs hot and heavy, was the article in the Globe and Mail written by Michael Valpy. Now this is all inconclusive, but I think it should be presented and be judged upon. The motivation for this article is still trying to cash in on the percieved momentum of Ignatieff, as it too does not contain specific or broad references to his policies; but tied with that is the possibility of the Globe and Mail commtting a case of favoritism or partisanship.

Evidence for this is:
1. Michael Ignatieff was a Globe and Mail reporter when he was 19, a newspapers reputation or at least it's own perception of itself would increase knowing a future Prime Minister worked there.
2. Another piece of evidence is Michael Valpy, the writer of said article, has known Michael Ignatieff for 40 years, certainly adding to a commitment to the length of the article.
3. Michael Valpy, in the article discusses a conversation with, guess who? Peter C. Newman, the very writer of the Macleans article. Valpy writes:

"I had breakfast at the summer's outset with political journalist Peter C. Newman, who talked over bagels in his north Toronto apartment about how politicians who become accepted into the mythology of the country have nicknames bestowed on them: Rex for Mackenzie King. Mike Pearson. Dief for John Diefenbaker. PET for Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
"And now Iggy," Mr. Newman said.""

Does this not convey a certain sense of like minded individuals trying to 'prop'el Ignatieff?


Blogger Cerberus said...

Except that the Newman piece wasn't recent: it was written based upon an interview in the winter, right around the time he decided formally to run. So no surprise that it was mostly about priorities and vision and not policy.

Valpy also was a personal piece, but you'd be hard pressed to convince anyone that it was a favourable piece. It has some good and a lot of bad. The best that could be said of it was that it was "raw", honest, open and balanced.

But to say the media has not focused on his policies is a bit of a stretch don't you think?

His statement on the Middle East was really the only one that attracted any media discussion or debate. And people are still discussion it.

His environmental policy came out last week and everyone covered it in detail.

Last week's Maclean's magazine you also ignore which was a 10,000 essay on policy.

Look Kennedy is a great candidate. He has a lot of strengths that Iggy and the other candidates don't have. You'd be better off highlighting those than trying to tear down someone who will be a cabinet colleague of Kennedy's one day, one way or the other.

Doncha think?


3:39 PM  
Blogger Daniel Mosely said...

Each paragraph is in response to each paragraph of Cerberus (excluding this one).

I admit the Newman piece wasn't recent, and I grant that was the reason why it wasn't about policy.

Now about the Valpy piece, I think you miss my point. Since it's a personal piece it does not mean it cannot be included in my argument. Because it is a personal piece that proves my point, instead of being about policy, it is about him personally. Try to be more specific, because you didn't address my claim.

I never said the media has not focused on Michael's policies or that his policies have not been addressed. I admit though I should have been more clear; in the first paragraph I was referring to the more recent time period of media coverage and not the entire leadership race. With that distinction made, I do not think it was a stretch at all, I find my argument still valid and indeed strong.

I'll further grant the media did give Ignatieff's Middle East statement coverage but not in the way you'd wish or to help your argument. They did not focus on it because of policy but because of the delay in the address of such statement. Therefore I find this comment either with no merit or at the most debateable on the grounds of what determines a suitable amount of media coverage.

As for his policy on the environment this falls into the subjective or relative category. I live in BC, in neither the Province, Vancouver Sun, or Local papers did I find a reference to Ignatieff's environmental policy. Therefore I can't really "ignore" media coverage that I had not observed. I think it would be reasonable to assume no one can read or watch all the media coverage.

Then to address last week's Maclean's magazine article, the 10,000 word essay on policy. I admit this did address and cover his policy, but this is still permissable to my argument, and does not weaken it. My argument is the media is covering him not for his policy but for his past glory in the race. Because Maclean's, one source, discussed his policy does not mean they did not focus on him because of his percieved reputation. I read it and it seemed to try and cash in on Ignatieff name recognition and not his policies.

I take offence to the last comment and perhaps not for the reason you think. No where in this article do I tear at Ignatieff. I present an opinion that is structured like an argument and is open to debate. Most of my inferences are included ( I am not perfect) and not one phrase includes my making a negative comment about Ignatieff. I take offence because you have put an insult in my mouth that was never there. I do admit to tearing at the Ignatieff campaign who have lost the creativity which inturn has lead to a lower momentum.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Cerberus said...

Sorry, my friend, I disagree.

You said: "Ignatieff and Dion seem to only be in the media, at least partially due to particular 'friends' or 'supporters' in the media."

Clearly, when there is such broad coverage of a candidate, especially a frontrunner, it is natural to expect some coverage to be about the personal. Old friends who happen to be journalists trot out the "I knew him when" articles. But just because a couple of articles are personal, doesn't negate the majority that are about policy. You in fact site only two sources for the personal: Valpy and an article written last winter. And then discount the Maclean's article. And ignore the Vancouver Sun, the entire CanWest chain, the Globe (which you obviously read if you know about the Valpy article, etc. etc. etc. coverage of his environmental policy.

Most of the blogging world was all consumed by the perceived delay in his statement on the Middle East. But I don't know what newspapers you are reading but for weeks after, the press was talking about his statement for its substance. Norman Spector, Lysanne Gagnon, Adam Radwanski, etc. etc. No one talked about the positions of the others because there was no substance. Read the other statements objectively and you'll see there was no there there.

And then I don't get you being offended when I suggest you should be promoting your very good candidate Kennedy. You say you are offended because "you have put an insult in my mouth that was never there" but then say "I do admit to tearing at the Ignatieff campaign".

And no offense, but if you are going to put up a post saying that the media generally is focused on the personal "props" and not policy, then you have to do better than simply say I only read the Sun and Province so nothing else matters. Especially when your only evidence comes from the Globe and Maclean's.

Look, I don't mean to pick on you and no insult or offense was intended. If it can be interpreted that way then I apologize. Wholeheartedly. I'm not in this blogging game to insult the colleagues with whom I going side by side into battle in the next election.

And I admit that Ignatieff has lots that can be criticized. I guess because I think there is so much that could be discussed and disagreed with, I'm just puzzled by the stretches to make a story.

The article is an attack on Ignatieff because there is no research behind it. We Liberal bloggers have to be more credible than this and put up more and better research. If you want to have influence with your blog, then you'll be more effective if you back it up with something more solid.


12:06 PM  
Blogger Daniel Mosely said...

Well this is the be-all-end-all response, I don't think I could have a stronger argument as provided by your last comment. I'm not going for a knock out argument because I'll be here until the next election. I'm just going for a firm foundation that more then proves my point.

You said, "Clearly, when there is such broad coverage of a candidate, especially a frontrunner, it is natural to expect some coverage to be about the personal." Okay you openly admit that there is some media coverage on Ignatieff that was personal. That's all I needed. We have an agreed upon principle.

From that premise, we can agree on another, there can be hundreds of media sources or articles on Ignatieff but no one can read all of them, whether it is me or the public, excluding you of course who sleeps in Ignatieff's Manifesto; and so it is usually the bigger or more popular articles that are more widely read. Do you disagree?

Now another premise can be that people base there opinions on the information they have (People can't base their opinions on information they don't have). I take this premise to be self-evident.

Now I conclude that not all or maybe even a majority of the media coverage was only discussing Ignatieff's personality or history; but it didn't have to be to prove my point. If you only read the personal articles on him, then you arrive at my conclusion. Or if you only hear of his personal articles, or if you hear nothing about his policy my conclusion still stands. But I fully admit if you read every article ever written, even the less popular articles then you will surely see the articles containing his policy ideas.

I know how this leadership campaigning is going, I got all the little news articles about Kennedy's policies earlier in the race. But those articles aren't read by the masses. Perhaps it's different where you are, but in my regional paper the only candidate so far to have articles about him was his policy. It isn't even a Liberal paper, the riding itself has been Conservative since the 1960s. But if a local newspaper, that selects out of the thousands of stories, selects articles about Kennedy's policies and not Ignatieff that at least shows, in that newspapers eyes, Ignatieff's policies aren't worthy or news worthy.

What I'm experiencing now is co-workers, friends, and other people uninterested in politics, knowing that I'm involved, but not knowing any specifics, like who I'm supporting, as I keep my business and politics seperate; come up to me and bring up Gerard's stance on Women's equality and Gerard's stance on Afghanistan.

Another example is my riding association just had an executive meeting, what was the buzz? Ignatieff's policies? Nope. Kennedy's Afghan proposal? Yup.

I think you are too immersed in the Igg's and Out's of the Leadership race to even see my argument.

I fully admit it's not that thorough, but it didn't have to be. I never said all the media, and I never said for the whole leadership race; I said what I meant, and it was the media I mentioned that talked about his personal.

I never meant or implied no other media matters. I meant that no other media influenced my perspective then those I mentioned. And that is more media then the delegates who will be voting on the next leader will have read. So that point has no ground.

Thorough-ness is needed in Liberal blogs, but that also applies to a thorough understanding of what is someone arguing against.

About you saying I took tear at Ignatieff. Did I? Your first post stated: "You'd be better off highlighting those than trying to tear down someone who will be a cabinet colleague of Kennedy's one day" As I rebuffed you I never once put down Ignatieff, but instead of excusing yourself on that error, you then change your criticism to a prediction; because you must of know I was going to criticize the Ignatieff campaign in my next response.

I went on to say: "I do admit to tearing at the Ignatieff campaign who have lost the creativity which inturn has lead to a lower momentum." You then made the awkward suggestion that criticizing the Ignatieff campaign is criticizing Ignatieff. Well if you notice the grammer I used when I admitted to tearing the Ignatieff campaign I used the plural of 'who have' and not the singular of 'whom has.'

Then you went on to attempt to strengthen your argument by saying the whole post was an attack on Ignatieff, and therefore that's how I took a tear at him. Really? Hmm. See, saying that his campaign is losing momentum isn't an attack, I think that is fairly obvious. An attack would be on his policies or on his personality. But making an observation, that may not have been as thorough as you would have liked it, (but as I pointed out, no one is at the level of your thoroughness) is certainly not an attack.

Saying that the German's were slowing down in 1944, would just those words be an attack? Saying that an object is losing its momentum when it is percieved to go through friction, is that an attack? I just don't see how me commenting on a couple of news articles is an attack.

I find though that you are trying to make it more then it is. You first say I took a tear at Ignatieff. 'Tear' having a relativly low negative connotation; but now you have progressed to it being an 'attack.' In your next comment will it be a holocaust?

I appreciate you commenting, as everyone wins in a debate; as both understand each other's stance a little better.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God, more useless issues and paranoia.

6:53 AM  

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