An Alternative To The Windsor Star
I read the Star because I really do not have a choice for local news and advertisements. I was told by a well-placed politico-type that a very substantial percentage of people get their information from the Star compared with the other media.
If you are talking "local politics" and analysis that I focus on, who else is there? We have Joe McParland who asks tough questions after Council but his show is limited in length and I am usually ready to fall asleep by the time it is on since it takes place after Council. (Yes meetings are that boring!) His show, Council Close-up, with Bill Marra that helped explain what was going to take place at Council that evening was cancelled by Cogeco at the end of last summer.
Cogeco also runs John Fairley's Face-To-Face (from which I get plenty of great information) and Veronique Mandal's "Media Mix" but they are interview shows rather than "timely" news shows or political analysis.
For the broadcast media, Percy's Panel is about it on CBC TV, A-channel is news only and CKLW has Patty Handyside commenting for 5-10 minutes on Mondays. Melanie Deveau's show seems to have a different format with fewer interviews and call-ins from listeners. Then there is the Mayor Love-in show every Tuesday morning where the really tough questiosn are ignored!
The issue is clearly an important one. If someone chooses to run against a Star favourite, the person is behind the eight-ball right from the beginning. How does that person get his/her point of view across? And with "vigilant fairness," a person running against an incumbent may have a very difficult time.
Take Bill Marra, as an example. The Star deemed him to be a potential candidate so that means no Letter to the Editor over 300 words and only once every 6-8 weeks. They "profiled" him that way too. And I have already reported how Henderson has attacked him.
What got me going again today was the Windsor Star Editorial about the salaries of the Mayor and Council. Now how can I object you say. Wasn't it Roseann Denise that broke the story about the huge increase in salary for Councillors and the non-diclosure by the Mayor of $30,000 in income? Of course she did and she did her job well too.
But how can the story be important? The Editorial tell us it is not. Can you imagine though if it was the former Mayor and Council!
The Editorial starts off:
- "Perspective is a useful tool whenever tax dollars are involved. For example, there were likely raised eyebrows when the mayor and councillors disclosed that they'd made a significant amount of extra money last year for work at Enwin Powerlines and the Windsor Utilities Commission."
As I said before, I do not begrudge the Mayor and Council their money since they work hard. But I cannot believe that the Editorial Board of the major media outlet in town has passed off so quickly the manner in which the increases were made and the non-disclose since the Mayor did not want to "meddle." More importantly, I cannot believe that the Editorial Board of the major media outlet in town would not be fuming and demanding that an inquiry be held to tell us what crisis took place at Enwin that required all of these extra meetings. Not a peep about that or perhaps loss of taxpayer dollars.
I assume that we are to be comforted by the Editorial's last paragraph:
- "it's a matter of faith that directors of boards -- who are unelected and not directly accountable to taxpayers -- know what they are doing. If taxpayers think their municipal politicians are overpaid or underperforming -- or paying bureaucrats too much -- they can at least lodge their complaints at the ballot box.
What's the answer....I have heard a rumour that the Toronto Star might be opening a bureau here. And who knows, one of the monthlies could get brave and become weekly or an out-of-town paper from the County or elsewhere might come here. I won't hold my breath though in the interim.
No, the only alternative right now is for the other media in town to play a proper role in covering City Hall and providing real analysis of what is taking place in this City. After all, they are taxpayers too and should be helping us understand what is going on. We Bloggers cannot do it all by ourselves!