Tuesday, September 16, 2008

CanWest editorial policy: Cons' promises are ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!!

It was suspicious enough when Kelly McParland's comparison of the parties' respective election promises conveniently left off the price tags of most of the Cons' platform - failing to mention the massive $600 million annual cost of a diesel tax cut, or any cost at all associated with either perpetually increasing capital gains tax exemptions or increased small-business exemptions.

But today CanWest is at it again. Not only does its general coverage describe the three main parties' latest platform planks while including price tags for only the NDP and Lib proposals, but it also misleadingly places the total cost of those plans next to the per-recipient cost of the Cons' house-buying tax credit - making it appear that the cost of the Cons' promise is several orders of magnitude smaller than it is.

Needless to say, the Cons' strategy of pretending to be fiscally responsible (against all available evidence) fits nicely with coverage which distorts or hides the actual cost of their promises. But for voters looking for an accurate comparison of what the parties actually have on the table, there's plenty of reason to doubt that they'll find that in CanWest's coverage.

Update: Here's some improvement - though it's still striking how selective the latest effort is in presenting promises over four-year periods rather than annually.

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