To the editor,
If anybody ever wondered why some of British Columbia’s media mavens share credibility ratings with snake-oil salesmen, pompous politicians and used-car traders, the answer came Saturday night.
Every day since the snap provincial election was called, one year earlier than mandated, B.C.’s media mavens informed the public that no announcement of the winner would be available until all mail-in ballots were counted, and that process would begin on Nov. 6. Yet television anchors announced just one hour after the polls closed on Saturday evening that the election had been won by the New Democratic Party, and a half-hour afterwards that the NDP would form a majority government. There were about 725,000 mail-in ballots issued, with about two-thirds returned with votes to be counted.
Shortly after the televised declaration of a majority government, the Parksville-Qualicum community paper’s website tabulated the numbers with all polling stations reporting. About 18,000 votes had been counted, and over 14,000 mail-in ballots had been received. A large picture of the front-runner with his smiling family appeared at the top of the page, but his lead was only about 900 votes. Obviously, some constituencies do have runaway winners, but many are as close or very much closer than the numbers in my hometown, so when mail-in ballots are counted there could be quite a few reversals of fortune.
With media of all types involved during the campaign, there were inevitable fake news reports, manipulation, character assassination and deliberate disinformation on social media, while in the mainstream some reporting was lopsided. Biased reporting is always a problem, where some candidates from one party get a kiss on both cheeks when they made a public blunder, while those from another party are subjected to public body-cavity searches – figuratively speaking, of course. That’s always been the case with B.C.’s political media, but what really irks this time are the puzzling premature pronouncements from puerile provincial pundits and pontificating pollsters.
Bernie Smith, Parksville
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