Sphere of Deviance
With the provincial election coming up in May, and another referendum on changing our electoral system from the obsolete first past the post system to the single transferable vote system proposed by the Citizens Assembly, it made me think about the role the media plays in the debate on electoral reform.
One of the things I've always been unable to understand is just why the media is so opposed to electoral reform. In fact, one of the first posts on this blog (back in 2004!) concluded by asking, "What is it about PR [proportional representation] that leads columnists to write such absurd things? What are they afraid of?"
The reason I asked was because despite being opposed to electoral reform, most of the folks in the media seemed unable to put together a coherent explanation for *why* they were opposed, seeming to come to a conclusion first and then go looking for supporting arguments, much in the way of drunkards and lampposts.
Some of the journalists /columnists who oppose reform, Bill Tieleman comes to mind, are simply partisans who feel the reform will hurt their party and argue accordingly, but many of them seem to just have some instinctive reaction to defend the status quo.
After reading Jay's piece, I can see how in some ways that [defending the status quo, or the views of the establishment], is one of the most important functions the media has, but they're not aware of it so they do it instinctively, without even realizing what they're doing or why. I don't know if this insight can help the STV (Single Transferrable Vote) proposal get less hostile media coverage this time around, but maybe the greater strength of the internet (where support for reform is high) vs. the media now vs. 4 years ago will help shape the debate in terms more favourably towards reform.