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Watching the Watchdog: Some Things I Don't Understand

04/12/2013 04:52 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Tim Knight writes the regular media column, Watching the Watchdog, for HuffPost Canada.

Some things I don't understand:

  • What happened to that absolutely essential element of political participatory democracy -- that losers accept their defeat as part of the political process and learn from it because defeat is a clear warning that ultimately the people are in charge and politicians are paid good money to work for the people?
  • Why our American neighbours are deliberately destroying their nation by turning their two parties into rival warring tribes which don't even talk to each other, much less debate the issues of the day?
  • And here in Canada, why the Prime Minister's Office -- which actually runs this country -- behaves in pretty much the same way as the Americans (albeit, since we're Canadian, in a slightly less murderous manner?)
  • Why we've let the House of Commons version of debate degenerate into a string of insults followed by an announcement that the government has (surprise!!!) just won more "ayes" than the other guys. Not quite as bad as North Korea or China yet, but heading in that general direction.
  • Since Parliament doesn't work any more, why Prime Minister Harper doesn't do the decent thing and hold regular news conferences to at least keep us informed of his, no doubt, splendid plans for our future?
  • Why the sainted Economist and New York Times, and Canada's national newspaper, the Globe & Mail, publish corrections in virtually every edition, yet it will be a cold day in hell before Mansbridge (CBC), LaFlamme (CTV) or Friesen (Global) admit on air that their journalists have ever got anything wrong? (I asked CBC's new ombud once if this was because CBC News never makes mistakes. But in the unlikely event that such should happen, why The National couldn't put five minutes aside for on-air corrections once a month or so. She mumbled something along the lines of "very difficult" and sidled away.) Funny thing, though, about corrections and real apologies -- they bring respect and respect brings bigger, better numbers.
  • Why Canada's newspapers and news broadcasters are so seriously sloppy about identifying the national origin of stories, particularly when said stories come from America. Too often, a story starts with, for instance, "President Barack Obama said today ..." or "The Republican party's fight against gun control ..." (My point is that as a journalist I automatically translate such stories as coming from across the border. But a whole lot of people -- particularly the young -- don't have that automatic Rosetta Stone to translate for them and over time get very confused about where the U.S. ends and Canada starts. Not at all healthy for either our identity or our parliamentary democracy!)
  • How the Pope could accept the keys to St. Peter's church knowing the old men in frocks who elected him knew all about the decades of priestly rape of children, yet most lied about it and even covered up the crimes of their fellow club members? Only a pathetic few ever tried to protect the defenseless children by reporting this unholy conspiracy to police. Did Francis? Whether he did or not, he knew.
  • Why Israel is sacred beyond any other nation on earth? Leaving aside its heartless treatment of its Palestinian citizens, how come it was recently able to get away with murdering a couple of journalists in Gaza with the bland statement that "the targets are people who have relevance to terror activity"?
  • Why anyone takes the sociopathic and idiotic ramblings of that silly, pudgy, child emperor in North Korea so seriously? Like all spoiled children, being taken seriously just encourages him. Surely, we should just laugh when he speaks and go about our business?
  • Why women spend big dollars and many hours painting their faces and adorning their bodies, then complain when a news story mentions their appearance, even though the mention is usually complimentary?
  • Why, since I've been writing this splendid column for a year now, isn't Arianna (means "chaste, very holy") paying me huge amounts of money so I can live in the manner to which I could easily become accustomed?
  • Why spring hasn't sprung yet.