Saturday, January 09, 2010

We'll tell you what you think

The National Post editorial board tries to spin the obvious unpopularity of Stephen Harper's decision to suspend Canadian democracy by making the remarkable argument that you can't trust the public to tell you what the public thinks:
Voters may say that they oppose Mr. Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament -- if a pollster calls them at home and puts the question to them. And some youths may even put up Facebook pages denouncing the Tory tactic. But public interest in the issue is thin and fleeting.
So if members of the public are prompted for their opinion, then the Post considers that to unduly distort the results - at least when it comes to an issue where Harper is taking a beating from all sides. And indeed I'll be interested to see if the Post shows similar skepticism toward every other poll it prints in its pages - particularly those which can be spun for the benefit of the right.

But at the same time, if the public instead takes spontaneous action which results in over a hundred thousand Canadians expressing their opinion publicly, the Post dismisses that too as some mere folly of youth and thus safely ignored. So the takeaway from this particular editorial is that there's nothing the public can do to convince the National Post that it could possibly disagree with the Post's echo chamber.

Again, I'll be interested to see whether the National Post bothers taking anywhere near that critical a stance on any other issue which isn't so inconvenient for the Dear Leader. But for now, every indication is that the Post is far more interested in using even clear evidence of public opinion as an excuse to lecture Canadians that they shouldn't care what their government does, rather than listening to the fact that the public actually is interested in what happens in Ottawa.

(Edit: fixed wording.)

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