More Media Massaging

February 4, 2010

If we’re rounding up emerging media narratives for Elections 2K10®©™ it would be remiss of us to ignore other, non-Toronto Sun ones that are beginning to percolate. (And frankly, that one is so predictable as to be non-newsworthy. Corporate elitist anti-progressive screed wrapped in an outraged grassroots populist package. My colleague, Cityslikr’s obsession with Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy teeters perilously close to an I-hate-her-so-much-that-I-just-might-be-in-love-with-her line that we may be witnesses to a tempestuous journalistic romance in the making.)

How about the Toronto Star’s coverage of candidate Giambrone’s announcement soirée? Hip hip and squeals greet Adam Giambrone from Katie Daubs and Paul Moloney. The title itself underlines the idea of ‘young’. Hip hop music is the kids’ music. Infants squeal. Second sentence in hit that mark with “teenage supporters” squealing. (I’m assuming one of either Daubs or Moloney verified that claim by tracking down the squealers to confirm their age.. their teen age.)

Third sentence, be sure to state Giambrone’s age, 32 which, holy mackerel, that’s young. He wants to be mayor? Fourth sentence use `boyish’ to describe the candidate. His reaction to the overwhelmingly positive response his initial appearance elicited from the crowd? A ‘bashful’ smile. Beautifully used as it not only denotes a certain youthfulness once more but also a hint of girlishness. Nicely done.

Then after a brief stop to report on something Giambrone actually said, it’s back to squealing teenagers, hip hop music and Twittering which is a social networking tool that only the youngsters really understand. Young. Youth. Teenagers. Hip hop. Tweeter. Inexperienced. Inconsequential. Not worthy of serious consideration. Etc., etc. etc.

Now, I was in attendance and recorded the proceedings as I do most dialogue driven interactions (both public and private) in order to sift through them afterwards to discover hidden, subliminal meanings and messages. (Don’t look at me that way! I am an academic. I research!) Replaying Giambrone’s speech, I can hear no squeals from either teenagers or anyone else. There is plenty of cheering, hooping and hollering, yelling. But these are sounds one might expect to hear at a campaign rally especially one where the candidate is announcing that he/she is running for office.

Perhaps the teenage squealers Daubs and Moloney incessantly talked about were not in my vicinity. Perhaps they had been cordoned off, away from the cash bar where I had taken up residence. Or maybe (to borrow some stylistic panache from Sue-Ann Levy) Daubs and Moloney were “editorializing” on the news rather than “reporting” it. That is purely conjecture on my part but at least I’m admitting to it unlike either Ms. Daubs or Mr. Moloney of the Toronto Star.

As for the tales of protestors that both start and end the article? On my way out of the venue, I counted in the neighbourhood of 20-25 of them. That’s not only a number heavily dwarfed by the amount of supporters inside but the protestors were even less numerous than people who were standing in line, waiting to be allowed into the already full house. So, in fact, the protestors were significantly less prominent than the article would have readers believe.

While the Toronto Sun wears its antagonism toward Adam Giambrone on its sleeve, the Star attempts to be much more subtle in its disdain of the man. Either way, both newspapers are advocating rather than reporting. That’s an important factor when readers go about trying to gather information.

Thank you for reading.

submitted by Acaphlegmic


This Time It’s Personal, Sue-Ann Levy

February 4, 2010

As much as anybody we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke love reading the adolescent taunts and insults hurled by the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy at all her political foes. It is a constant marvel to us how an alleged adult can get paid by a “major” news organization to write (and think) like a 12 year-old. No offense intended to any 12 year-olds who might be reading this.

But our mirth soon turns to.. mirth.. lessness when Ms. Levy volleys her hectoring invective in our direction. No. She didn’t single us out personally. We were not savagely set upon by her trademark quotation mark attack. Not yet dismissed as little more than “Bloggers” or “Drooling Denizens of Millertown”™®© although we vow to keep trying.

Instead, those of us in attendance at Adam Giambrone’s mayoral kick-off on Monday night were lumped together and hosed down in a typical Sue-Ann Levy gland expressing spray. According to Levy, the “packed crowd” consisted of “CAW members”, “bike lane and transit fanatics”, “a handful of councilors” and “assorted freeloaders”. I guess Sue-Ann missed the bank of “journalists” that “hogged” the front of the room, so they didn’t really count as being “there”.

The “CAW members” were easy to spot, sporting the union label on shirts and jackets as they were. How they cleverly managed to hide their horns, tail and cloven hoofs is another matter entirely. I didn’t see “a handful of councilors” but did get close enough to catch a whiff of Howard Moscoe’s cologne. Who knew they still sold Hai Karate?

Only the keen, journalistic sense of someone like Sue-Ann was able to suss out the “bike lane and transit fanatics”. No one I saw wore a bike helmet or reflector vest. No pro-bike/public transit or anti-car signs were in evidence. Perhaps, she could hear the jangling of tokens in people’s pockets over the din of the “packed crowd”. The room did cheer Giambrone’s rebuff of fellow candidate Rocco Rossi’s pledge to keep bike lanes off arterial roads. Levy agrees with Rossi, therefore anyone who doesn’t is a “fanatic”.

As to the “assorted freeloaders”? Maybe someone in the crowd asked Sue-Ann for change. I don’t know. There were complimentary plates of finger foods making the rounds. So I guess those who dug in were, to Sue-Ann Levy’s quicksand way of thinking, “freeloaders”. Guilty as charged, I’m afraid as I did “freeload” a passing samosa. Nice and spicy if a little chewy.

This was clearly not Sue-Ann Levy’s crowd. Her people were outside the venue, “alleged” disgruntled residents of Giambrone’s ward 18. Chanting and waving protest signs, these were the victims of the young “Mini Miller”’s “arrogance”, “fiscal incompetence”, “social engineering” and “vindictiveness towards those who don’t see the world his way”. (Hello!! Kettle! Pot’s in the Toronto Sun being hypocritical!!)

She’s like some wind up toy that the Sun lets loose to snarl out pre-programmed sound bites. There’s no on-off button. Just a for-against one. While there’s going to be a slight variation on the theme, it looks like what we’ll be hearing from the Toronto Sun over the next eight months or so will be something like this: “Giambrone” = “Miller” = “Bad” and if you don’t agree you are a “union loving” “car hating” “bike riding” “free food eating” “island airport protesting” pooh face.

That will be the Toronto Sun and Sue-Ann Levy’s story and they’ll be sticking to it regardless of how the campaign unfolds.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr