Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On early definition

It's entirely predictable that far too many in the media are starting their coverage of Thomas Mulcair's election as NDP leader with the Cons' instant spin - in some cases even while showing plenty of optimism about Mulcair. (On that front, due credit to the Winnipeg Free Press for criticizing the Cons' immediate attacks without repeating and reinforcing the first set against Mulcair.)

But perhaps the most interesting counterweight is this - as the NDP isn't hesitating to let the media start doing the same to amplify its own message even before any ad campaign is ready:
The NDP has already held auditions for the TV ads it plans to film this week featuring new leader Thomas Mulcair, and a script used for the auditions gives some insight into what themes the party hopes to hammer home.
The ad spot, titled "A Leader" opens with images of Canadians and is intended to have "a very day-in-the-life feeling," according to the audtion script. Various actors would read the following lines: "Canada has a new leader who will fight for my family. [New leader's name]. He'll actually help me make ends meet. Help me save for retirement. A leader who will take on Stephen Harper. And win."

The script includes an appearance by Olivia Chow saying, "Jack's vision is in good hands."
The audition script includes alternate lines on how the new leader will hire more family doctors, crack down on polluters and make them pay, clean up Ottawa and put an end to scandals.
Of course, I'd ultimately prefer to see less media attention given to merely repeating party messages. But as long as the Cons can count on having their every attack repeated ad nauseum, it makes a world of sense for the NDP to use the same mechanism to contrast Mulcair against the Harper Cons. And the more the message war plays out in the media, the less the Cons' deep pockets figure to affect the public's ultimate perceptions.

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