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					     Fairness in the Media


           Presented to:
Canadian Media Research Consortium


           October 2007
Table of Contents


Research Background & Objectives                               2
Key Findings                                                   4
Profile of Journalists & Members of Parliament                 8
Attributes of Fair Journalism                                 16
Awareness of Journalistic Guide or Code of Standards          28
Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented                   31
Personal Encounters with Unfair Media Reporting               34
Canadian News Organizations                                   42
Influence of Political or Ideological Views on News Stories   46
Fair Media Reporting                                          52
Media Coverage and Criticism of Political Leaders             59
Influence of Outside Groups on Reporting                      64
Knowledge of Journalists                                      78
Media in Canada & Democracy                                   83
Regional Viewpoints in National News Coverage                 92




                                                                   1
Research Background & Methodology


   POLLARA was commissioned by Andre Turcotte and the Canadian Media Research Consortium
    (CMRC) to conduct one-on-one telephone interviews with journalists and Members of Parliament on
    issues regarding fairness in the media.
   Results are based on 64 one-on-one telephone interviews with Members of the Press Gallery in
    Ottawa, and 61 one-on-one telephone interviews with Members of Parliament. Interviews with
    journalists took place between March 21st and April 18th, 2007, while interviews with Members of
    Parliament took place between March 21st and June 13th, 2007.
   Due to the small sample sizes and corresponding margins of error for both journalists (+/-12.4%) and
    Members of Parliament (+/-12.8%), it is important to interpret findings with caution.
     –   Only statistically significant findings have been reported.
   Where appropriate, results are compared to data obtained in a previous study – Views of the Public,
    2003 Survey, commissioned by CMRC.
     –   Please note, comparison, while informative and insightful, should be interpreted with caution as the
         methodologies, including sample size and sampling techniques, vary between studies.


                                                 # of Interviews         Margin of Error
               Journalists                             64                    ±12.4%
               Members of Parliament                   61                    ±12.8%




                                                                                                                2
Research Background & Methodology

   Frequencies have been reported for each question from the survey. Furthermore, each closed-ended
    question was cross-tabulated against the following variables to identify any differences. Where
    statistically significant, differences between segments have been reported throughout the report.
     – Years worked in politics (MPs)
     – Years in elective office (MPs)
     – Number of terms (MPs)
     – Years worked as a journalist (Journalists)
     – Medium journalist for (Journalists)
     – Aware of journalistic code
     – Age
     – Gender
     – Education
     – Language of interview
     – Province (MPs)
     – Canadian news organisations politically
          biased vs. careful that reporting is not biased (MPs)
     – Frequency that stories are influenced
     – Political views
     – Political Party (MPs)


                                                                                                        3
Key Findings




               4
    Key Findings

Fair Media Coverage: Consensus & Disagreement
    Members of Parliament and journalists generally agree about what constitutes fair journalism. Asked in
     an open-ended question to identify the “attributes of fair journalism”, both MPs and journalists mentioned
     balance and getting both sides of the story most often (64% of MPs and 72% of journalists).
    Also identified as important attributes by both groups were impartiality and open-mindedness (36% and
     33%, respectively); accuracy (26% and 20%, respectively); well researched reports/well-informed
     reporters (20% and 19%, respectively); and honesty and truthfulness (15% and 13%, respectively).
    Journalists place more importance on protecting the confidentiality of anonymous sources and
     questioning sources vigorously than do MPs.
    Conversely, MPs view the protection of personal privacy of public figures, the avoidance of using
     unnamed sources, not reporting off-the-record conversations and avoiding the reporting of information
     obtained through the use of hidden cameras as more important than do journalists.


Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic Standards
     Awareness of a guide or code of journalistic standards is low among both journalists and MPs. Only one-
     in-two (50%) journalists are aware of such a guide, compared to one-in-four (23%) MPs. Of the
     journalists who are aware of a code or guide, less than two-in-five refer to it often (16%) or sometimes
     (22%).




                                                                                                              5
    Key Findings

Personal Encounters with Unfair Media Reporting
    MPs are much more willing to discuss their personal encounters with unfair media reporting than are
     Members of the Press Gallery. Many MPs have had multiple encounters with what they perceive to be
     unfair media reporting, commenting on issues of unbalanced, one-sided reporting, comments being taken
     out of context, inappropriate “spinning” of the story, uninformed reporting with inaccurate information, and
     misleading headlines.
MPs Critical of Canadian Media
    Three-in-five (61%) MPs believe Canadian news organizations are generally politically biased in their
     reporting, while three-in-ten (30%) think Canadian news organizations are careful that their reporting is
     not politically biased.
    The vast majority of MPs think reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report
     the news often (43%) or sometimes (48%), compared to significantly fewer journalists who admit their
     own news stories are often (6%) or sometimes (27%) influenced.
    Two-in-five (43%) MPs think that the media coverage of the personal and ethical behaviour of political
     leaders is excessive compared to only one-in-ten (11%) journalists.
    Further, one-in-five (21%) MPs think the media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is
     excessive, compared to one-in-twenty (5%) journalists.




                                                                                                                  6
    Key Findings

Influence of Outside Groups & Corporate Control in the Media
    One-in-two journalists (55%) and MPs (49%) think lobby groups influence the news. Journalists (27%)
     are more likely than MPs (16%) to think politicians and governments influence the news, while a similar
     proportion agree that public opinion (22% and 16%, respectively) and business and corporations (17%
     and 15%, respectively) have an impact.
    Twice as many MPs (46%) as journalists (22%) think that the corporate control of the media often
     influences the particular news stories that are presented.


Dissatisfaction with Variety of Regional Viewpoints in National News Media
    Three-in-five MPs are either not very satisfied (43%) or not satisfied at all (18%) with the variety of
     regional viewpoints reported in the national news media, compared to less than one-in-two journalists
     (34% and 13%, respectively).
    When asked about the differences between French and English news coverage, journalists and MPs
     identify French coverage as being more focused on the province of Quebec, while some, particularly MPs,
     consider English news media to focus more on national coverage. Other differences that journalists and
     MPs cite include French news coverage being more “aggressive”, “sensationalistic” and “animated”, while
     others think the subject matter covered by the two types of media varies.




                                                                                                               7
Profile of Journalists &
Members of Parliament




                           8
   Type of Journalism Practiced

    The vast majority of journalists indicate they practice “mostly news” (89%) journalism and only a few are
     “mostly commentary” journalists (5%).




                                           Don’t Know/
                                            Refused
                                   Mostly      6%
                                 Commentary
                                    5%




                                                                      Mostly News
                                                                         89%



Q1: Could you please tell me which kind of journalism you practice?                                          9
   Journalism Medium

    Two-in-three (66%) journalists say they report for print, while one-in-three (36%) identify television as
     their main medium. Roughly one-in-six (14%) are journalists report for radio, and 5% for the internet.




                                                                                           66%
                                            Print
                                                                                          (n=42)

                                                                          36%
                                     Television
                                                                         (n=23)

                                           Radio                14%
                                                               (n=9)

                                                         5%
                                        Internet
                                                        (n=3)

                                                        2%
                       Don’t Know/Refused
                                                       (n=1)
                                                  0%           20%       40%        60%       80%


Q2: Which medium are you a journalist for? (READ LIST; MULTIPLE MENTIONS ALLOWED)                                10
Organization of Journalists


                                                            % (n)                                          % (n)
                                Globe and Mail              9 (6)   New Brunswick Telegraph Journal        2 (1)

                                The Hill Times              6 (4)   Halifax Chronicle Herald               2 (1)
                                Ottawa Citizen              6 (4)   Ottawa Sun                             2 (1)
                                CBC TV                      6 (4)   Politics Watch                         2 (1)
                                CanWest News Service News   5 (3)   Global TV                              2 (1)
 Members of the Press
                                CTV                         5 (3)   Diplomat Magazine                      2 (1)
  Gallery who were
  interviewed for this study    Canadian Press              5 (3)   Radio Canada International             2 (1)
  are journalists for 35        Sun Media                   5 (3)   Reseau NTR                             2 (1)
  different organizations.      TVA                         5 (3)   Science Bulletin                       2 (1)
  One-in-ten (9%) journalists   Radio-Canada Radio          3 (2)   CPAC                                   2 (1)
  interviewed work for the
                                TV Ontario                  3 (2)   The Financial Post                     2 (1)
  Globe and Mail.
                                Radio-Canada TV             3 (2)   CHUM                                   2 (1)
                                Toronto Star                3 (2)   Christian Current Ottawa               2 (1)
                                Macleans                    3 (2)   Association de la presse francophone   2 (1)
                                Le Devoir                   2 (1)   Aboriginal Peoples TV                  2 (1)
                                Le Soleil                   2 (1)   Western Producer                       2 (1)
                                La Presse                   2 (1)   Winnipeg Free Press                    2 (1)
                                Medical Post                2 (1)




                                                                                                                   11
   Years Worked in Profession

    On average, journalists have worked in their careers for 20 years, while MPs have worked in politics for
     16 years.
    The vast majority of journalists (77%) and MPs (59%) have been working in their careers for more than
     ten years.

                    60%                                 Journalists (Mean: 19.7)
                                                        Members of Parliament (Mean: 16.3)

                                                                 41%
                    40%
                                     38%         36%                    34%

                                                        25%
                             23%
                    20%



                                                                                        3%
                                                                                   0%
                     0%
                            10 Years or         11-20 Years     More than 20       DK/Ref.
                               Less                                Years

Q39J: How many years have you worked as a journalist?                                                        12
Q37MP: How many years have you worked in politics?
 Number of Years In Elective Office


     On average, MPs have been in elective office for 9 years. Two-in-five (43%) say they have been in
      elective office for three years or less.
     Two-in-five (38%) MPs have been in elective office for more than 10 years.

                   60%
                                                                              Mean: 9.2
                                43%
                   40%
                                                                  38%




                   20%
                                                     18%


                                                                                   2%
                    0%
                            3 Years Or         4 To 10 Years   More Than     Don’t Know/
                               Less                             10 Years      Refused

Q38MP: How many years have you been in elective office?                                                   13
Political Party Affiliation

 Of those interviewed, 34% of MPs are Liberals, 30% are Conservatives, 20% are NDP, and 15% are
  Bloc Quebecois.                                                                 House
                                                                              Composition

                    Liberals             34%                                      30%



             Conservatives             30%                                        36%



                        NDP        20%                                            17%



           Bloc Quebecois          15%                                            10%



              Independents        2%                                               5%


                             0%             20%            40%             60%

                                                                                                   14
Language of Interview


  Three-in-four journalists (78%) and MPs (75%) interviewed completed the survey in
   English, compared to one-four who completed the survey in French (22% and 25%,
   respectively).




                                                                    Members of
                                                 Journalists        Parliament
                                                   % (n)              % (n)
                 English                           78 (50)            75 (46)
                 French                            22 (14)            25 (15)




                                                                                       15
Attributes of Fair Journalism




                                16
   Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”

   In general, journalists and MPs agree on what they consider to be the attributes of fair journalism,
    namely balance and getting to both sides of the story, being open-minded and impartial, being accurate,
    doing research and being informed, and being truthful and honest.


                                                                                                      72%
                    Balance/Getting Both Sides                                                      64%
                                                                                    33%
                  Being Open-Minded/Impartial                                        36%
                                                                            20%
                                                  Accurate                     26%
                                                                            19%
                             Do Research/Informed                            20%
                                                                          13%
                             Being Truthful/Honest                         15%
                                                                     3%
                                                      Desire 0%
                                                                      6%
                                                        Other        3%
                                                                                     Journalists
                                                                       11%
                                Don’t Know/Refused                                   Members of Parliament
                                                                     3%
                                                                0%        20%       40%       60%        80%    100%
Q3: I‟d like to talk to you about your perceptions of journalistic “fairness” in Canada. What do you consider          17
    to be attributes of “fair journalism”? (PROBE: Anything else?)
   Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”,
   by Age & Gender

       Male journalists (80%) are more likely than their female counterparts (50%) to consider balance an
        attribute of “fair journalism”.
       Among journalists, those 39 years of age and younger (39%) are more likely than older journalists to
        believe doing research and being informed are attributes of “fair journalism”.



              Balance/Getting        Being Open-                                    Do                 Being
                Both Sides         Minded/Impartial          Accurate        Research/Informed    Truthful/Honest
             Journa-             Journa-              Journa-                Journa-             Journa-
              lists      MPs      lists      MPs       lists        MPs       lists     MPs       lists      MPs
               (%)       (%)       (%)       (%)        (%)         (%)        (%)      (%)        (%)       (%)
Total          72         64        33        36         20             26     19        20        13          15
39 years       83         80        30        40         22             -      39        20        4           -
and
younger
40 to 55       80         62        36        38         28             28     12        14        20          17
years
56 years       50         65        29        35         7              27      -        27        14          15
and older
Males          80         61        39        37         22             25     17        24        15          12
Females        50         80        17        30         17             30     22         -        6           30


                                                                                                                   18
  Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”,
  by Language of Interview

 MPs (33%) and journalists (24%) who completed the interview in English are more likely than those who
  completed it in French (7%) to identify “accuracy” as an attribute of fair journalism.




           Balance/Getting      Being Open                                     Do                 Being
             Both Sides       Minded/Impartial          Accurate        Research/Informed    Truthful/Honest
          Journa-            Journa-             Journa-                Journa-             Journa-
           lists     MPs      lists      MPs      lists        MPs       lists     MPs       lists     MPs
            (%)      (%)       (%)       (%)       (%)         (%)        (%)      (%)        (%)      (%)
Total       72        64        33        36       20              26     19        20        13        15
English     74        67        28        37       24              33     18        22        12        13
French      64        53        50        33        7              7      21        13        14        20




                                                                                                          19
  Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”,
  by Years Worked in Profession

 MPs who have worked in politics for more than 20 years (62%) are more likely than MPs with less years
  of experience to view being open-minded and impartial as attributes of fair journalism.
 Journalists with 20 years or less experience are more likely than their counterparts with more years of
  experience (4%) to consider doing research and being informed as attributes of fair journalism.



            Balance/Getting       Being Open-                                  Do                   Being
              Both Sides        Minded/Impartial        Accurate        Research/Informed      Truthful/Honest
            Journa-             Journa-             Journa-              Journa-             Journa-
             lists     MPs       lists     MPs       lists      MPs       lists      MPs      lists         MPs
              (%)      (%)        (%)      (%)        (%)       (%)        (%)       (%)       (%)          (%)
Total         72        64        33        36         20          26      19        20        13           15
10 years      80        65        33        26         33          26      27        17         -           13
or less
11 to 20      70        67        39        20         13          40      30        20         9           20
years
More than     69        57        27        62         19          19       4        24        23           14
20 years




                                                                                                              20
   Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
   Commentaries

                                                    Journalists                                  98%                       2%
Place information in context
                                                            MPs                                  95%                       5%

                                                    Journalists                                   97%                      3%
Verify information before reporting it
                                                            MPs                                  98%                       2%

                                                    Journalists                                  95%                     3%2%
Quote sources accurately
                                                            MPs                                   97%                      3%

                                                    Journalists                               88%                       11%2%
Include all the relevant facts
                                                            MPs                            82%                          18%

                                                    Journalists                              86%                         14%
Protect the confidentiality of
anonymous sources                                                                   57%                       33%         2%
                                                                                                                        3% 5%
                                                            MPs
                                                                  0%          20%          40%          60%       80%       100%

             1 of 3                                       Very          Somewhat        Not Very      Not Important   Don’t Know/
                                                          Important     Important       Important     At All          Refused

Q4-18: In evaluating fairness in journalism, how important to you is it that news reports and commentaries:                         21
       (PROBE: Is that very or somewhat?) (READ AND ROTATE)
   Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
   Commentaries

Avoid reporting accusations                         Journalists                              86%                       9%2%3%
without giving accused opportunity
to respond                                                  MPs                                 92%                         8%

                                                    Journalists                               83%                       16% 2%
Question sources vigorously
                                                            MPs                        69%                            30%    2%

                                                    Journalists                             81%                        17% 2%
Resist attempts by sources to
“spin the story”                                            MPs                            75%                        23%   2%

                                                    Journalists                            78%                    11% 3%8%
Avoid obvious partisanship or bias
                                                            MPs                            84%                        13%2%2%

                                                    Journalists                         72%                       20% 2%6%
Include all legitimate points of view
                                                            MPs                       67%                             33%
                                                                  0%          20%          40%          60%       80%       100%

             2 of 3                                       Very          Somewhat        Not Very      Not Important    Don’t Know/
                                                          Important     Important       Important     At All           Refused

Q4-18: In evaluating fairness in journalism, how important to you is it that news reports and commentaries:                          22
       (PROBE: Is that very or somewhat?) (READ AND ROTATE)
   Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
   Commentaries

                                                    Journalists                        70%                          22% 2%6%
Represent the broader public interest
                                                            MPs                       67%                           25% 5%3%

                                                    Journalists                 44%                    36%           5%3%13%
Never report off-the-record
conversations                                               MPs                                                 23% 7%3%2%
                                                                                     66%

Avoid reporting information                         Journalists            33%               33%              13% 9% 13%
obtained through the use of hidden
cameras or tape recorders                                   MPs                        69%                          23% 2%7%

                                                    Journalists       19%                 48%                   16% 5% 13%
Respect the personal privacy of
public figures                                              MPs                    62%                          26% 7%2%3%

                                                    Journalists 14%                      52%                    23%        5%6%
Avoid quoting an unnamed source
                                                            MPs                 51%                           36%         10% 3%
                                                                0%          20%           40%          60%          80%       100%

             3 of 3                                       Very          Somewhat        Not Very      Not Important       Don’t Know/
                                                          Important     Important       Important     At All              Refused

Q4-18: In evaluating fairness in journalism, how important to you is it that news reports and commentaries:                             23
       (PROBE: Is that very or somewhat?) (READ AND ROTATE)
 Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
 Commentaries

Agreement Among Journalists & MPs
 When evaluating fairness in journalism, almost all journalists and MPs interviewed agreed that it is very
   important that news reports and commentaries place information in context (98% and 95%,
   respectively), quote sources accurately (95% and 97%, respectively), and verify information before
   reporting it (97% and 98%, respectively).
 Additionally, a similar proportion of journalists and MPs interviewed agreed that it is very important to
   include all relevant facts (88% and 82%, respectively), avoid reporting accusations without giving the
   accused an opportunity to respond (86% and 92%, respectively), resist attempts by sources to “spin the
   story” (81% and 75%, respectively), avoid obvious partisanship or bias (78% and 84%, respectively),
   include all legitimate points of view (72% and 67%, respectively), and represent the broader public
   interest (70% and 67%, respectively).
Disagreement Among Journalists & MPs
 Journalists are more likely than Members of Parliament to view protecting the confidentiality of
   anonymous sources (86% versus 57%) and questioning sources vigorously (83% versus 69%) as very
   important for news reports and commentaries.
 Conversely, compared to journalists, a higher proportion of Members of Parliament view avoiding
   reporting information obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders (69% versus 44%)
   and never reporting off-the-record conversations (66% versus 44%) as very important.
 Members of Parliament and journalists also place very different levels of importance on the issues of
   protecting personal privacy and the use of unnamed sources. Members of Parliament are three times
   more likely than journalists to view protecting the personal privacy of public figures (62% versus 19%)
   and the avoidance of quoting unnamed sources (51% versus 14%) as very important.
                                                                                                              24
 Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
 Commentaries

 When compared to data from the Views of the Public – 2003 Survey, MPs appear to have similar views
  about the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders in reporting as the public. Two-in-three (66%)
  respondents of the general public in this survey disapproved of the use of hidden cameras or tape
  recorders, while in this study, 69% of MPs said it is very important to avoid reporting information
  obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders. Only one-in-three (33%) journalists felt
  the same way.
 Similarly, findings from the Views of the Public – 2003 Survey and this study also indicate that MPs and
  the public are more closely aligned in their views of using unnamed sources than are journalists and the
  public. Specifically, in the 2003 study, 49% of the public disapproved of running stories that quote an
  unnamed source rather than giving the person’s name, and in this study, 51% of MPs think it is very
  important to avoid quoting an unnamed source. Only 14% of journalists said this was very important.




                                                                                                             25
 Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
 Commentaries
                     Percentage of MPs & Journalists who say …. is “very important”

                                  Totals                Journalists                          MPs
                                                     Women (94%)
Resist attempts by          Journalists = 81%
                                                 Completed the interview in        No significant differences
sources to spin the story   MPs = 75%
                                                     French (100%)
                                                Completed the interview in
Respect the personal        Journalists = 19%         French (50%)
                                                                               MP for three terms or more (79%)
privacy of public figures   MPs = 62%           Aware of a journalistic code
                                                          (22%)
                                                55 years of age and younger
Avoid quoting an            Journalists = 14%                                  Completed the interview in French
                                                    (40-55 years = 20%,
unnamed source              MPs = 51%                                                       (73%)
                                                39 years and younger = 17%)
                                                University undergraduates
                                                          (94%)
Avoid reporting
                                                Aware of a journalistic code
accusations without         Journalists = 86%
                                                          (97%)                    No significant differences
giving the accused an       MPs = 92%
                                                 40 years of age and older
opportunity to respond
                                                   (40-55 years = 96%,
                                                56 years and older = 93%)
Never report off-the-       Journalists = 44%
                                                 No significant differences    Aware of a journalistic code (86%)
record conversations        MPs = 66%



                                                                                                                26
  Importance of Attributes in News Reports &
  Commentaries
                            Percentage of MPs & Journalists who say …. is “very important”
                                                Totals                            Journalists                                       MPs
                                                                                                                           Women (100%)
                                                                                                                   Completed interview in French
                                                                            Women (100%)
                                       Journalists = 88%                                                                        (100%)
 Include all relevant facts                                           Completed interview in French
                                       MPs = 82%                                                                      New stories influenced by
                                                                                (100%)
                                                                                                                   journalists political preferences
                                                                                                                             often (92%)
                                                                             Women (92%)
 Include all legitimate                Journalists = 72%                                                                     Women (90%)
                                                                        Aware of a journalistic code
 points of view                        MPs = 67%                                                                   Political views very liberal (92%)
                                                                                  (88%)
                                                                       University undergraduates
                                                                                   (89%)
 Avoid obvious                         Journalists = 78%              Completed interview in French
                                                                                                                             Women (100%)
 partisanship or bias                  MPs = 84%                                  (100%)
                                                                       Never influence their stories
                                                                                  (100%)
 Question sources                      Journalists = 83%                Aware of a journalistic code
                                                                                                                       No significant differences
 vigorously                            MPs = 69%                                  (94%)
Note: There are no significant differences in responses among journalists or MPs with regards to the importance of
reporting information obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders, representing the broader public interest, protecting the confidentiality of
anonymous sources, verifying information before reporting it, placing information in context, or quoting sources accurately.




                                                                                                                                                          27
   Awareness of Guide or
Code of Journalistic Standards




                                 28
Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic
Standards

 Only one-in-two (50%) journalists are aware of a guide or journalistic code of standards, and one-in-
  three (36%) say they are not aware of such a code.
 Seven-in-ten (70%) MPs are not aware of a code of journalistic standards.

               100%
                                                 Journalists           Members of Parliament
                80%
                                                                             70%

                60%
                              50%

                40%                                            36%
                                           23%
                20%                                                                              14%
                                                                                                                 7%
                 0%
                                   Yes                               No                     Don’t Know/Refused


  Q19: Are you aware of a guide or code of journalistic standards that outlines the definition of fairness and
       how it applies to media reporting?                                                                             29
 Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic
 Standards: Journalists

 One-in-two (47%) journalists who are aware of a guide or code of journalistic standards say they seldom
  refer to it, and one-in-six (13%) report they never refer to it.




                                                                     100%

         Don’t Know/
          Refused                                                      80%
            14%

                                                                       60%
                                                                                                          47%
                                                      Yes              40%
                                                      50%
                                                                                              22%
                                                                       20%      16%                              13%
 No
36%                                                                                                                        3%
                                                                        0%
                                                                                Often     Sometimes Seldom       Never   DK/Ref.

  Q19: Are you aware of a guide or code of journalistic standards that outlines the definition of fairness and
       how it applies to media reporting?                                                                                     30
  Q20: (IF YES) How often do you refer to this guide or code of journalistic standards?
  Proportion of News
Stories Fairly Presented




                           31
 Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented

 Journalists are more optimistic than MPs about the proportion of news stories in the Canadian media
  that present news in a fair way, with 44% of journalists saying most stories are presented in a fair way,
  compared to only 16% of MPs who say the same.
 One-in-three (32%) MPs say less than half or not very many news stories in the Canadian media
  present the news in a fair way, compared to less than one-in-twenty (3%) journalists.

              80%
                                             Journalists          Members of Parliament

              60%
                                         47%
                      44%                         43%
              40%



              20%             16%                                   16%                16%
                                                                                                    6% 8%
                                                             3%
                                                                                0%
               0%
                        Most            More Than           Less Than           Not Very         Don’t Know/
                                          Half                 Half              Many             Refused

  Q21: What proportion of the news stories that you see in the Canadian media present the news in a fair way?   32
Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented,
by MP’s View of Canadian News Organizations

 Almost one-half (46%) of MPs who think Canadian news organizations are politically biased in their
  news reporting think that less than half (22%) or not very many (24%) news stories are fairly
  represented.




                                                More than       Less than       Not Very         Don’t
                                  Most            Half            Half           Many         Know/Refused
                                  (%)             (%)              (%)            (%)             (%)
Total                              16               43             16              16              8
Politically biased in their         -               49             22              24              5
reporting
Careful that their reporting is    56               33              -               -              11
not politically biased




                                                                                                        33
Personal Encounters with
 Unfair Media Reporting




                           34
Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting

  Members of Parliament and journalists offered many different situation where they have personally
  encountered unfair media reporting. Specifically, 53 MPs offered a personal experience compared to 34
  journalists interviewed. A variety of themes emerged from the responses, relating to such issues as unfair
  and unbalanced reporting, to misleading stories and false accusations. A summary of the findings
  follows.
Unbalanced or One-Sided Reporting
 A common theme emerging from the experiences of Members of Parliament related to their inability to
  respond to accusations made against them or simply not being asked to tell their side of the story. Many
  offered examples of times when they had been cited in news stories without being consulted to comment
  on particular events or issues.
             “I felt the journalist had printed information and comments by people that didn‟t share my
             particular view without any opportunity for myself to respond and certainly I felt they didn‟t
             accurately research the situation.”
             “I‟ve been reported in stories without being given an opportunity to respond or give my side.”
             “There have been many times, for example, where an opponent has said something about my
             position but I wasn‟t given the opportunity to respond to his allegations and claims.”
             “A journalist misrepresented the facts. He had written a story before he had talked to me and
             had misrepresented what I had said and he had drawn his own conclusions before he had even
             talked to me.”
             “I had stories written that attributed quotes to me that were inaccurate and I wasn‟t asked to
             comment.”


 Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:   35
      What specifically made this situation unfair?)
Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting

 A few journalists also identified one-sided reporting.
         “A person reported on wasn‟t given the opportunity to express his view on the story.”
         “Someone‟s background was put on air, including his religious beliefs, but he wasn‟t represented.”
 One MP identified a time when his side of a particular story was presented only after he approached the
  journalist. However, he believed this is something most politicians experience.
          “In one instance, one side of the story came out. I talked to the reporter and had my side printed.
          Now, the truth is it came out of the editorial desk. It‟s happened, and it‟s happened to everybody on
          all sides of politics, I‟m sure.”
 Journalists also commented on unbalanced reporting in their accounts, especially when it comes to certain
  topic areas, including the environment and aboriginal issues.
          “Presenting only one view on stories. For example, the environment championing the views of
          environmental groups and dismissing opposing points of view.”
          “Almost any story involving government and aboriginal people. Too often journalists take the
          opinion of one aboriginal person and make it the opinion of all aboriginal people.”
          “Reporters have questioned me about my field, which happens to be religion and political reporting.
          I‟ve provided this information to them. Editors made the decision not to include it. It would have
          made it more balanced in my point of view.”
          “I thought the coverage of Canada‟s relation to the Tsunami […] because I think the government had
          good reasons not to send the DART Team. I don‟t know if that side of the story was well reported.”


  Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:   36
       What specifically made this situation unfair?)
 Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting

Context
 Some MPs provided situations where comments they have made to journalists and reporters have been
  manipulated and taken out of context.
        “Quotes have been taken out of context.”
        “I have seen the reporting of a process unfairly reported when we were dealing with the environment.
        We had got through a process [but] journalists chose not to give context to the report and knowingly
        skewed the story.”
        “A recent newspaper article printed a story about a vote in parliament that was very skewed and took
        the vote totally out of context. [They] printed this very biased story when all they had to do was make
        one phone call.”
“Spin” The Story
 MPs also told of times when journalists and reporters had “spun” stories so as to embellish the facts.
        “I have always made it very clear that it is not so much the Wheat Board that I support, rather
        supporting the right of the farmers to make the choice of the future of the Wheat Board. The press
        always spins it as that I support the Wheat Board. Well, the truth is I support the farmers and they
        determine whether the Wheat Board should have a future or not. I guess that‟s the media spin.”
        “Our local paper is very conservative and no matter what happens on a Liberal point of view or NDP
        announcement, it comes out as minor reporting on the back page, but when it comes to a
        Conservative candidate or the Prime Minister, it comes out very positive even if it is very negative.
        The spin on it is atrocious. That‟s done on a weekly, if not daily, basis.”


   Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:   37
        What specifically made this situation unfair?)
Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting

 A few journalists also discussed the problems associated with “spinning” stories and the issues journalists
  decide to focus on.
          “Sometimes you‟ll rush in a story before questioning spin or getting the other side of the story.”
          “The spin by reporters to increase their perceived importance. It is extremely biased.”
          “How the Canadian political media handled the Belinda Stronach story, and how she was very good
          looking.”
          “Coverage of Stockwell Day and his religious persuasion when he was leader of the Alliance in
          2000 election.”
Uninformed Reporting, Providing False & Inaccurate Information
 Some MPs described situations where journalists wrote news stories about them, but with inaccurate or
  false information.
          “Matter of an inaccurate story caused a great deal of problems for me personally. It was reported on
          CBC that I was getting married but it wasn‟t true. Damage was done.”
          “A story was published quoting me but the reporters had not even talked to me about it and what
          was unfair was that with the exception of one newspaper, no one else apologized to me about the
          inaccuracy of the article.”
          “An editorial in the National Post a couple of months ago the writer relied on secret so called
          anonymous sources and accused me of making political deals.”
          “Saying on air that I got surgery for cancer faster than someone else did when in fact it was longer.”



  Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:   38
       What specifically made this situation unfair?)
 Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting


 Journalists also offered instances where reporters have provided false information in their reporting.
        “The Maher Arar case – it was government leaked information that defamed the reputation of an
        innocent man.”
        “National Post reported that the Iranian government had introduced a law to force the Jews to wear
        a badge. It was wrong and a bit of a scandal.”

Not Attributing Quotes
 A few MPs revealed that they or their party have raised issues or provided information to journalists or in
  the House of Commons, but by the time the information is transformed into a news story, their names are
  not attributed to the views expressed.
          “In many instances the NDP raises the issues prior to somebody else speaking on them and yet we
          don‟t get any recognition. For instance, when John Baird spoke to the C30 panel, I asked a series
          of questions. When the CBC reported on it that night, the reporter took those questions and
          comments and made them into a commentary that he ascribed to himself. Sometimes when you
          are not a national figure, people will take what you say and use it themselves without recognizing
          the source.”
          “I often get interviewed by some of the print media on a story. They use the content, but not the
          quotes. They take the angle in the story from our information and discussion, and then no longer
          attribute any quotes to myself or to my staff.”




  Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:   39
       What specifically made this situation unfair?)
 Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting


Off-the-Cuff Comments Reported On: Unfair & Unprofessional
 A few MPs explained that they had made off-the-cuff comments to journalists who later went on to report
  these comments. These MPs felt as though they had been betrayed, and described the experiences as
  “unfair and unprofessional” on the part of the journalists.
          “During the party convention, I told the reporter that I didn‟t think a certain candidate would win the
          leadership. I thought it was an off-the-cuff statement but it was printed and the candidate felt
          betrayed and I thought it was very unfair and unprofessional of the reporter.”
          “I was coming home from the office when I met this neighbour who is a journalist and he asked me
          about something that was happening in Parliament. I answered him as you would a friend and
          neighbour in a casual, candid and funny manner. I never dreamed that he would quote me word for
          word and publish the article the next day in the newspaper. That to me was both unfair and
          unprofessional. I am delighted to report that a few years later the same thing happened to him in a
          letter in the Globe & Mail.”




  Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:         40
       What specifically made this situation unfair?)
Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting

 A few journalists also recalled situations in which people were quoted in a story without knowing that this
  was the reporter’s intent.
         “A story with a quote or a video with somebody that didn‟t really know they were going to be used in
         the story.”
         “A politician was talking in a media room and it was quoted. It was a little unfair – she wasn‟t in a
         position where you normally think she‟d be quoted.”
 One journalists cited a time when he was personally blamed for unfair reporting.
         “A story that I did – I ended up being on the receiving end as incompetent and reporting unfairly.”

Misleading Headlines
 A few MPs identified times when the news stories that have been written about them have not necessarily
  been the problem, but rather the headlines. In these cases, the headlines have been “misleading” and
  “harmful”, according to these MPs interviewed.
         “I was asked if I had voted in a previous election. I said I didn‟t remember, but I didn‟t think I had
         voted at all. The next day headline: “Minister Can‟t Remember If She Voted Twice in the Election”.
         I never said that…I objected to it because I had my own tape of what I had said and the radio at
         CBC corrected the story. The paper never did – they refused.”
         “Well I certainly had a story about me where I thought the headline was incredibly unfair and
         misleading. The story was alright, but the headline was incredibly harmful and misleading.”



  Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE:   41
       What specifically made this situation unfair?)
Canadian News Organizations




                              42
 Phrase That Best Describes Canadian News
 Organizations Generally

 Two-in-three (61%) MPs agree that Canadian news organizations are generally politically biased in their
  reporting, while three-in-ten (30%) say Canadian news organizations are careful that their reporting is
  not politically biased.



                                   Don’t Know/
                                    Refused
                                      10%

                                                                                          Politically
                                                                                       Biased In Their
                   Careful That                                                           Reporting
                 Their Reporting                                                            61%
                 Is Not Politically
                      Biased
                       30%




  Q20MP: Please tell me which one of these phrases you feel best describes Canadian news organizations      43
         generally: (READ AND ROTATE)
Phrase That Best Describes Canadian News
Organizations Generally, by Language of Interview

 MPs who completed the interview in English (72%) are significantly more likely than those who
  completed it in French (27%) to believe that Canadian news organizations are generally politically
  biased in their reporting.




                                                         Careful that their
                            Politically biased in         reporting is not         Don’t Know/
                              their reporting            politically biased         Refused
                                     (%)                         (%)                   (%)
           Total                     61                         30                     10
           English                   72                         22                      7
           French                    27                         53                     20




                                                                                                       44
Phrase That Best Describes Canadian News
Organizations Generally,
by Frequency of Stories Influenced

 MPs who believe news stories are often influenced by the political preferences of reporters are also
  most likely to believe that Canadian news organizations are politically biased in their reporting (88%) .




                                                             Careful that their
                                Politically biased in         reporting is not          Don’t Know/
                                  their reporting            politically biased          Refused
                                         (%)                         (%)                    (%)
        Total                            61                         30                       10
        Often                            88                          8                       4
        Sometimes                        45                         45                       10
        Seldom                           33                         67                        -




                                                                                                              45
Influence of Political or Ideological
      Views on News Stories




                                        46
 Frequency of News Stories Influenced by Political
 or Ideological Views
 One-in-four (27%) journalists indicate that their news stories are sometimes influenced by their own
    ideological or political views, and one-in twenty (6%) say their stories are often influenced by their views.
    The vast majority of MPs, however, believe that reporters let their own political preferences influence the
    way they report the news often (43%) or sometimes (48%).
   Compared to the 2003 Views of the Public Survey, MPs and the public have similar views about the extent
    to which reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news.


                  80%
                                                                              Journalists
                                                                              Members of Parliament
                  60%                                                         Views of the Public (2003)
                                                  48% 48% 47%
                               43%
                  40%
                                      31% 27%

                  20%                                                      16% 16%
                          6%                                           5%                               5% 5% 3%
                                                                                                3%
                                                                                          0%
                   0%
                              Often          Sometimes             Seldom               Never             DK/Ref.
    Q23J: How often, if at all, are your news stories influenced by your own ideological or political views?
    Q21MP. How often do you think reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report the   47
           news? Is it...? (READ LIST)
 Frequency of News Stories Influenced by Political
 or Ideological Views, by MP’s View of Canadian
 News Organizations

 Two-thirds (62%) of MPs who think that Canadian news organizations are politically biased in their
   reporting think that reporters often let their own political preferences influence the way they report the
   news (versus only 11% of those who think Canadian news organizations are not politically biased).




                                                                                                     Don’t
                                    Often         Sometimes         Seldom           Never        Know/Refused
                                     (%)             (%)              (%)             (%)             (%)
Total                                43               48               5                -                5
Politically biased in their          62               35               3                -                -
reporting
Careful that their reporting is      11               72               11               -                6
not politically biased




                                                                                                                48
 Reasons Why Personal News Stories Are “Often”
 or “Sometimes” Influenced by Own Political or
 Ideological Views
 The main reason for why journalists say their stories are often (6%) or sometimes (27%) influenced by
   their own political views is because of their inability to remain completely objective when reporting on
   issues on which they have opinions and views. Some of the verbatim responses offered include:


New Stories Often Influenced
    “I don‟t think you can write without being influenced by your ideological point of view.”
    “It is impossible for my views not to be in the story.”
    “They are. It is unavoidable. If not directly, at least the way you phrase yourself in your writing.”

News Stories Sometimes Influenced
    “You can‟t help it. You don‟t do it on purpose.”
    “If I‟m writing, personal bias comes into it. I can‟t help that. It is inescapable, otherwise you‟d be a
          tape recorder.”
    “It is human nature. I don‟t think anyone can be completely objective.”
    “I‟ve got views, and when I‟m writing, it is inevitably influenced. You try to be fair.”
    “I don‟t think you can separate them out. The point is to be fair and balanced.”
    “Sometimes it is inevitable. You‟re human.”
    “I don‟t think it is possible to write without your views impacting the story.”


  Q23J:   How often, if at all, are your news stories influenced by your own ideological or political views?
  Q24J.   Why do you say that?                                                                                 49
 Reasons Why Personal News Stories Are
 “Seldom” Influenced by Own Political or
 Ideological Views
 Many of the journalists who say their news stories are seldom (47%) influenced by their own ideological
   or political views say this for reasons largely associated with it being their responsibility and job to
   maintain a level of professionalism and being committed to reporting on the facts, and not their own
   views or opinions related to the topics or issues being covered.

News Stories Seldom Influenced
    “A news story is a news story. You cannot influence it, you just report it.”
    “I am driven by occurrence of events rather than a particular agenda.”
    “Your job is not to represent your opinions. It doesn‟t matter what you think. It‟s not a matter of
         opinion but a matter of what people say.”
    “I make an actual effort not to do so.”
    “They aren‟t. I do political reporting.”
    “I try to keep my personal views out of the paper.”
    “I try to maintain a high level of professionalism.”
    “I have certain political beliefs. I hope they are not apparent in the work that I do. It is difficult to fight
         bias.”
    “It is asking a lot to think they never have an influence – it is inevitable.”
    “I try to remain neutral. Nobody‟s completely neutral.”
    “We‟re all influenced by our views. There are times that the stories are affected by our views.”
    “At times there are cases were the knowledge of my particular audience impacts on how I cover and
         how I am delivering to my audience.”


  Q23J:   How often, if at all, are your news stories influenced by your own ideological or political views?
  Q24J.   Why do you say that?                                                                                        50
Reasons Why Personal News Stories Are “Never”
Influenced by Own Political or Ideological Views

 Again, journalists who claim their news stories are never (16%) influenced by their own political or
  ideological views say so for reasons associated with it being their job to maintain a high level of
  professionalism, and having been trained to be impartial.

News Stories Never Influenced
    “I‟m a professional and a professional doesn‟t do that.”
    “Part of my job is how I feel personally in an issue and to be aware of that when covering the story.”
    “My views aren‟t important in the context of a news story.”
    “You should be non-partisan. That is our mandate here.”
    “That‟s our job and is what we are trained to do, and I‟m not sure what my personal ideology is.”




  Q23J:   How often, if at all, are your news stories influenced by your own ideological or political views?
  Q24J.   Why do you say that?                                                                                 51
Fair Media Reporting




                       52
Sources Rely on Most Often for Fair Reporting on
Political Matters

                                                                          23%
     Government/Politicians/Bureaucrats 0%
                                                                      19%
Newspaper/Magazines/Written Media (NS)                                             33%
                              Globe And Mail
                                                                14%
                                                                          23%             One-in-four (23%) journalists rely
                                                                13%                          on government, politicians or
                           Experts/Advisors 0%                                               bureaucrats most often when
                                                                13%                          looking for fair reporting on
                            Primary Sources         2%
                                                          8%
                                                                                             political matters, while MPs do
                         CBC/Radio Canada                                   25%              not rely on them at all (0%).
            Word Of Mouth/Eye Witnesses 0%
                                                          8%                                MPs rely most heavily on
                                                                                             newspapers, magazines and the
                                                         6%                                  written media (33%), compared
           Documents/Official Documents 0%
                                                         6%                                  to only one-in-five journalists
  News Coverage/Media (NONSPECIFIC)                           10%                            (19%).
                                    Le Devoir     5%                                        One-in-four MPs (23%) rely on
                                                3%                                           the Globe & Mail, compared to
                                                3%
                                 Toronto Star      7%                                        one-in-six (14%) journalists.
                                    TV/Radio  0%                                            Three times as many MPs (25%)
                                                                13%                          as journalists (8%) rely on CBC
                                National Post 0%        7%
                                                                                             or Radio Canada.
                                                      5%
                                         Other                  13%
                                                 0%
                                                                                           Journalists
                                         None         5%                                   Members of Parliament
                       Don’t Know/Refused                                    27%
                                                          8%
                                               0%        10%        20%      30%     40%      50%      60%
 Q25: What sources do you rely on most often when you are looking for fair reporting on political matters?                  53
      (PROBE: Any other sources?)
Sources Rely on Most Often for Fair Reporting on
Political Matters, by Medium Journalists’ Report For

                                                         Total        Television         Print
                                                          %               %               %
 Government/Politicians/Bureaucrats                        23               4              31
 Newspaper/Magazines/Written Media (NS)                    19              13              17
 Globe And Mail                                            14               9              12
 Experts/Advisors                                          13               9              14          Journalists who report
 Primary Sources                                           13              17              12           for print media (31%)
 CBC/Radio Canada                                          8                4               7           are more likely than
 Word Of Mouth/Eye Witnesses                               8                4              10           those who report for
 Documents/Official Documents
                                                                                                        television (4%) to say
                                                           6                4               5
                                                                                                        they rely on
 News Coverage/Media (NONSPECIFIC)                         6                9               5           government, politicians
 Le Devoir                                                 5                4               2           and bureaucrats when
 Toronto Star                                              3                4               2           looking for fair reporting
 La Presse                                                 3                4               -           on political matters.
 Canadian Press                                            3                4               5
 Myself/Independent                                        3                4               2
 NGO/Non Governmental Organizations                        2                -               2
 CTV News                                                  2                -               -


  Q25: What sources do you rely on most often when you are looking for fair reporting on political matters?
       (PROBE: Any other sources?)                                                                                                   54
  Table has been reversed
 Types of Media Most Susceptible to
 Unfair News Reporting

 Two-in-five journalists (38%) and
  MPs (39%) think that television is                                                                         38%
  most susceptible to unfair news                              Television                                    39%
  reporting. The same proportion
                                                                                              19%
  of MPs also think newspapers                              Newspapers
  are most susceptible (38%).                                                                                38%
 One-in-ten journalists (11%) and                                                      11%
                                                                   Internet             11%
  MPs (11%) identify the internet
  as most susceptible to unfair                                                        9%
  reporting.                                                  Magazines                  15%
 About one-in-four journalists                                                      6%
  (22%) and MPs (25%) identify                                       Radio                13%
  other types of media as being                                                                     Journalists
  most susceptible to unfair news                                                     9%            Members of Parliament
  reporting. While “other” mentions         All Equally Susceptible
                                                                                    5%
  for journalists included blogs,
  broadcast outlets, tabloids, and                                                             22%
                                                                      Other
  private radio, other mentions by                                                              25%
  MPs included visual media, large                                                           17%
  corporate entities, and a                     Don’t Know/Refused
                                                                                  3%
  concentration of ownership.
                                                                             0%             20%             40%     60%



   Q26: Which types of media are the most susceptible to unfair news reporting? (DO NOT READ LIST; PROBE:              55
        Any others?)
Types of Media Most Susceptible to
Unfair News Reporting, by Medium Journalists’
Report For
   Journalists who report for television (30%) are more likely than those who report for print (10%) to
    consider newspapers most susceptible to unfair news reporting.




                                                    Total            Television             Print
                                                     %                   %                   %
                 Television                          38                  30                  43
                 Newspapers                          19                  30                  10
                 Internet                            11                  9                   12
                 Magazines                            9                  17                   2
                 Radio                                6                  4                    7
                 All Equally Susceptible              9                  9                   12
                 Other                               22                  22                  24




 Q26: Which types of media are the most susceptible to unfair news reporting? (DO NOT READ LIST; PROBE:
      Any others?)                                                                                         56
 Table has been reversed
 Challenges Faced in Making Reporting or
 Commentary Fair

 Almost one-in-two (45%) journalists say that access to information or sources is among the most
  important challenges they face in trying to make their reporting or commentary fair. One-in-three (28%)
  also identify time constraints and deadlines, while one-in-five (20%) say getting past the spin of stories
  or finding the truth is among the most important challenges they face.

           Access To Info/Access To Sources                                                               45%
                      Time Constraints/Deadlines                                           28%
        Get Past Spin Stories/Find The Truth                                        20%
                         Space Limitations/Format                           11%
                              Remove Personal Bias                     5%
                                    Balance The Story                   5%
                                                       Editor        3%
                   Obligations Towards Readers                       3%
                                                        Other           6%
                                 Don’t Know/Refused                     6%
                                                                0%      10%     20%      30%     40%      50%   60%

  Q27: What are the most important challenges you face in trying to make your reporting or commentary fair?           57
       (PROBE: Are there any other challenges?)
 Challenges Faced in Making Reporting or
 Commentary Fair, by Aware of Journalistic Code

 Journalists who are aware of a journalistic code (22%) are significantly more likely than those who are
  not (0%) to view space limitations and format as the biggest challenge they face in making their
  reporting or commentary fair.


                                                                              No – Not Aware of
                                                           Yes – Aware of a     a Journalistic
                                               Total      Journalistic Code         Code
                                                (%)               (%)                (%)
                Access to Information/          45               47                   43
                Access to Sources
                Time Constraints/ Deadlines     28               28                   35
                Get Past Spin/Find the Truth    20               19                   26
                Space Limitations/ Format       11               22                   -
                Remove Personal Bias             5                3                   13
                Balance The Story                5                3                   4
                Editor                           3                3                   4
                Obligations Towards              3                3                   -
                Readers
                Other                            6                -                   13


   Table has been reversed.                                                                                 58
Media Coverage and Criticism of
       Political Leaders




                                  59
Media Coverage and Criticism of Political Leaders

 Journalists overwhelming agree that neither the media coverage of the personal and ethical behaviour of
  political leaders, nor the media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders, is excessive (84%
  and 91%, respectively). MPs are far more divided in their views, with 43% believing that the media
  coverage of the personal and ethical behaviour of political leaders is excessive, and 21% saying that the
  media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive.
 Findings from the Views from the Public – 2003 Survey indicate that MPs are more closely aligned with the
  views of the public than are journalists, with one-in-two (52%) members of the public saying that they think
  the media coverage of the personal and ethical behaviour of political leaders is excessive, and one-in-three
  (32%) saying that the media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive.

                                               Journalists     11%                             84%                           5%
     Do you think that media
     coverage of the personal                          MPs                43%                         41%                16%
     and ethical behaviour of
     political leaders is            Views of the Public                       52%                                44%
     excessive or not?                            (2003)


                                               Journalists    5%                               91%                         5%
     Do you think media
     criticism of the policies                         MPs         21%                           66%                     13%
     and proposals of
     political leaders is            Views of the Public              32%                               64%
     excessive or not?                            (2003)
                                                            0%          20%           40%           60%            80%     100%
                                                                     Excessive      Not Excessive       Don’t Know/Refused
  Q28: Do you think that media coverage of the personal and ethical behaviour of political leaders is excessive
       or not?                                                                                                                    60
  Q29. Do you think media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive or not?
 Media Criticism of Political Leaders,
 by Gender (MPs)

 Male MPs (25%) are more likely than their female counterparts (<1%) to think that the media criticism of
  the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive.




                                                                                  Don’t Know/
                                                   Excessive      Not Excessive    Refused
                                                      (%)              (%)            (%)
               Total                                  21               66             13
               Male                                   25               63             12
               Female                                  -               80             20




                                                                                                             61
 Media Criticism of Political Leaders,
 by Political Party (MPs)

 Conservative (28%) and Bloc Quebecois (33%) MPs are more likely than other MPs to think that the
  media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive.




                                                                                     Don’t Know/
                                                   Excessive      Not Excessive       Refused
                                                      (%)              (%)               (%)
                   Total                              21               66                13
                   Liberal (n=21)                     19               76                5
                   Conservative (n=18)                28               50                22
                   Bloc Quebecois (n=9)               33               33                33
                   NDP (n=12)                          8               92                 -
                   Independent (n=1)                   -               100                -




   Note small „n‟ sizes - interpret with caution
                                                                                                     62
 Media Criticism of Political Leaders,
 by Language of Interview

 Almost three times as many MPs who completed the interview in French (40%) as those who completed it in
  English (15%) think the media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive.




                                                                                  Don’t Know/
                                                  Excessive      Not Excessive     Refused
                                                     (%)              (%)             (%)
               Total                                  21               66              13
               English                                15               76              9
               French                                 40               33              27




                                                                                                             63
Influence of Outside Groups on Reporting




                                           64
 Outside Groups Influence the News

                         Lobby Groups                                                55%
                                                                               49%
                                                   12%
             Politicians/Governments                    16%
                                                               27%                              One-in-two journalists (55%)
                                                                         42%                     and MPs (49%) think lobby
                                                           22%                                   groups influence the news.
                        Public Opinion                  16%
                                                         17%                                    One-in-four (27%) journalists
                Business/Corporation                    15%                                      identify politicians and
                                                               27%
                                                   11%                                           government as outside groups
NGO/No Governmental Organizations                  11%                                           that influence the news, while
                                                  8%                                             16% of MPs say the same.
                      Public Relations            7%
                                           1%                                                    Public opinion is also viewed
                     Bloggers/Internet
                                            6%                                                   as influencing the news (22%
                                                       13%
                                                                                                 and 16%, respectively).
                                             3%
                        Labour Unions          5%
                                                7%                                              One-in-six journalists (17%)
                                            2%                                                   and MPs (15%) identify
                         Media Owners           8%
                                                                                                 business and corporations as
                                                   12%
                                             2%                                                  groups that influence the
                            Advertisers      3%
                                              4%                                                 news, while one-in-ten also
                                                 9%            Journalists                       mention Non-Governmental
                           Other Media            11%
                                                               Members of Parliament             Organizations (11%,
                                             3%                                                  respectively).
                                   Other               13%     Views of the Public (2003)
                                              5%
                 Don't Know/Refused             8%

                                        0%              20%          40%             60%        80%
  Q30: Apart from journalists and editors, what outside groups, if any, do you think influence the news? (DO NOT                65
       READ LIST; PROBE: Any others?)
 Outside Groups Influence the News


 Findings from the Views of the Public – 2003 Survey suggest that a greater proportion of the public
  (42%) believe that politicians influence the news, compared to journalists (27%) and MPs (16%) .
 Additionally, according to data from the Views of the Public – 2003 Survey, a higher proportion of the
  public also believes that large corporations (27%) influence the news compared to 17% of journalists
  and 15% MPs.




                                                                                                           66
Types of Outside Groups that Influence the News,
by Language of Interview

                                                                     Total   English   French
                                                                      (%)      (%)       (%)
 Journalists who completed the            Lobby Groups               55       58       43
  interview in English are more likely     Politicians/Governments    27       32        7
  than those who completed it in
                                           Public Opinion             22       16       43
  French to view politicians and
  government, business and                 Business/Corporations      17       22        -
  corporations, NGOs and other media       NGOs                       11       14        -
  to be outside groups that influence
                                           Public Relations           8        4        21
  the news.
                                           Environmental Groups       6        8         -
 Conversely, journalists who              Analysts/Think Tanks
  completed the interview in French                                   3        4         -
  (43%) are more likely than their         Bloggers/Internet          3        4         -
  English (16%) counterparts to view       Labour Unions              3        4         -
  public opinion as an outside group
                                           Media Owners               2        2         -
  that influences news.
                                           Personalities/Arts and     2        2         -
 There are no significant differences     Entertainment
  among MPs on this issue with
                                           Advertisers                2        2         -
  regards to the language of interview.
                                           Other Media                9        12        -
                                           Other                      3        4         -
                                          Table has been reversed.


                                                                                                67
 Extent Influence of Outside Groups is a Problem

 The majority of journalists believe that the influence of outside groups, other than journalists or editors,
   in the Canadian media is a small problem (56%), and 46% of MPs feel the same way.
 One-in-four (25%) journalists think this is not a problem at all, compared to 15% of MPs.
 Twice as many MPs (18%) as journalists (9%) view the influence of outside groups in the Canadian
   media as a very serious problem.
                     80%
                                                  Journalists          Members of Parliament

                     60%                              56%
                                                               46%

                     40%

                                                                             25%                              21%
                                        18%
                     20%                                                               15%
                               9%                                                                    9%

                      0%
                             Very Serious          Small Problem Not A Problem                      Don’t Know/
                              Problem                                At All                          Refused

   Q31: Do you think the influence of outside groups, other than journalists or editors, in the Canadian media is a   68
        very serious problem, a small problem, or not a problem at all?
 Extent Influence of Outside Groups is a Problem,
 by Number of Terms in Office

 One-third (31%) of MPs who have been in office for two terms think the influence of outside groups in
  the Canadian media is a very serious problem.




                                  Very Serious         Small         Not a problem     Don’t Know/
                                    Problem           Problem             at all        Refused
                                       (%)              (%)                (%)             (%)
      Total                            18                46               15               21
      One term                         12                47               24               18
      Two terms                        31                63                -                6
      Three terms or more              14                36               18               32




                                                                                                          69
Extent Influence of Outside Groups is a Problem,
by Language of Interview

 MPs who completed the interview in English (20%) are more likely than those who completed it in
  French (13%) to view the influence of outside groups in the Canadian media a very serious problem.




                                 Very Serious        Small         Not a problem    Don’t Know/
                                   Problem          Problem             at all       Refused
                                      (%)             (%)                (%)            (%)
     Total                            18               46               15               21
     English                          20               46               20               15
     French                           13               47                -               40




                                                                                                       70
Extent Influence of Outside Groups is a Problem,
by MP’s View of Canadian News Organizations

 MPs who view Canadian news organizations as politically biased in their reporting (24%) are more likely
  than those who think news organizations are not politically biased (6%) to think that the influence of
  outside groups in the Canadian media is a very serious problem.




                                           Very Serious    Small          Not a problem     Don’t Know/
                                             Problem      Problem              at all        Refused
                                                (%)         (%)                 (%)             (%)
   Total                                       18            46                15                21
   Politically biased in their reporting       24            38                19                19
   Careful that their reporting is not
                                                6            72                 6                17
   politically biased




                                                                                                            71
 Frequency of Corporate Control Influencing News
 Stories

 Twice as many MPs (46%) as journalists (22%) think that corporate control of the media often influences
  the particular news stories that are presented.




                   80%
                                                Journalists           Members of Parliament

                   60%

                                    46%
                                              42%
                   40%
                                                      31%
                                                                 25%
                            22%
                                                                         18%
                   20%
                                                                                                       9%
                                                                                    2% 2%                      3%
                     0%
                              Often          Sometimes            Seldom             Never          Don’t Know/
                                                                                                     Refused

  Q32: How often do you think corporate control of the media influences the particular news stories that are        72
       presented? Is it...? (READ LIST)
 Frequency of Corporate Control Influencing News
 Stories, by Influence of Outside Groups (MPs)

 MPs who believe that corporate control of the media often influences the particular news stories that are
  presented are also most likely to think the influence of outside groups is a very serious problem (64%).




                                                                                              Don’t Know/
                                          Often            Sometimes   Seldom    Never         Refused
                                           (%)                (%)        (%)      (%)             (%)
 Total                                      46                31         18        2               3
 Very serious problem (n=11)                64                36         -         -                -
 Small Problem (n=28)                       46                29         25        -                -
 Not a problem at all (n=9)                 22                33         33        11               -




   Note small „n‟ sizes - interpret with extreme caution
                                                                                                              73
 Frequency of Corporate Control Influencing News
 Stories, by Influence of Outside Groups
 (Journalists)
 Similar to MPs, journalists who believe that corporate control of the media often influences the particular
  news stories that are presented are also most likely to think the influence of outside groups is a very
  serious problem (83%).




                                                                                                Don’t Know/
                                          Often            Sometimes   Seldom     Never          Refused
                                           (%)                (%)        (%)       (%)              (%)
 Total                                      22                42         25          2               9
 Very serious problem (n=6)                 83                17         -           -               -
 Small Problem (n=36)                       14                47         28          3               8
 Not a problem at all (n=16)                 6                50         38          -               6




   Note small „n‟ sizes - interpret with extreme caution
                                                                                                                74
 Frequency of Corporate Control Influencing News
 Stories, by Language of Interview (MPs)

 MPs who completed the interview in French (67%) are more likely than those who completed it in
  English (39%) to believe that corporate control of the media often influences the particular news stories
  that are presented.
 There are no significant differences in the way journalists respond to this question and the language in
  which they completed the interview.



                                                                                            Don’t Know/
                             Often          Sometimes         Seldom          Never          Refused
                              (%)              (%)              (%)            (%)              (%)
    Total                      46               31              18               2               3
    English                    39               35              20               2               4
    French                     67               20              13               -               -




                                                                                                              75
 Frequency of Corporate Control Influencing News
 Stories, by Language of Interview (MPs)

 Female MPs are more likely than male MPs to believe that corporate control of the media often
  influences the particular news stories that are presented (80% vs. 39%, respectively).
 There are no significant differences among male and female journalists on this question.




                                                                                             Don’t Know/
                             Often         Sometimes         Seldom          Never            Refused
                              (%)             (%)              (%)            (%)                (%)
    Total                     46               31              18               2                3
    Male                      39               35              20               2                4
    Female                    80               10              10               -                 -




                                                                                                           76
 Frequency of Corporate Control Influencing News
 Stories, by Number of Years in Journalism

 Journalists who have worked in the profession for 11 to 20 years (30%) are more likely to believe that
  the corporate control of the media often influences the particular news stories that are presented.




                                                                                              Don’t Know/
                                Often         Sometimes          Seldom           Never        Refused
                                 (%)             (%)               (%)             (%)            (%)
 Total                            22              42               25               2              9
 10 years or less                 12              47               33               -              7
 11 to 20 years                   30              26               26               -             17
 More than 20 years               19              54               19               4              4




                                                                                                            77
Knowledge of Journalists




                           78
Knowledge of Journalists on Topics They Cover in
the News

 The vast majority of journalists (75%) and MPs (64%) think that journalists are somewhat knowledgeable
  on the topics they cover in the news. Less than one-in-five MPs (16%) and journalists (11%) think that
  journalists are very knowledgeable.


   100%

                                                          Journalists         Members of Parliament
    80%                              75%
                                               64%
    60%


    40%


    20%                16%
              11%                                                    11%                                     9%
                                                            5%                                                     7%
                                                                                   0%        2%
     0%
                Very                 Somewhat               Not Very               Not At All               Don’t Know/
          Knowledgeable            Knowledgeable         Knowledgeable           Knowledgeable                Refused


 Q33: Overall, how knowledgeable would you say journalists are on the topics that they cover in the news?                 79
      Are they...? (READ LIST)
 Importance of Journalists to be Knowledgeable
 on Topics They Cover in the News

 Almost all journalists and MPs agree that it is important for journalists to be knowledgeable about the
  topics they cover in their reporting. Eight-in-ten (84%) MPs and seven-in-ten (69%) journalists agree
  that it is very important.



               100%
                                  84%                        Journalists           Members of Parliament
                80%
                         69%

                60%


                40%
                                              25%
                20%
                                                      16%
                                                                                       2%                   5%
                                                                   0%       0%                  0%               0%
                 0%
                           Very              Somewhat              Not Very         Not Important Don’t Know/
                         Important          Important             Important            At All      Refused

   Q34: And how important do you think it is for journalists to be knowledgeable about the stories they cover?        80
        Do you think it is...? (READ LIST)
 Importance of Journalists to be Knowledgeable
 on Topics They Cover in the News, by Language of
 Interview
 French MPs (100%) and journalists (86%) are more likely than their counterparts who completed the
  interview in English (78% and 64%, respectively) to believe that it is very important for journalists to be
  knowledgeable on the topics they cover in the news.




                               Very              Somewhat           Not Important        Don’t Know/
                             Important           Important              At All            Refused
                         Journa-              Journa-             Journa-             Journa-
                          lists      MPs       lists     MPs       lists      MPs      lists      MPs
                           (%)       (%)        (%)      (%)        (%)       (%)       (%)       (%)
        Total               69        84        25        16         2          -        5          -
        English             64        78        28        22         2          -        6          -
        French              86        100       14         -         -          -         -         -




                                                                                                                81
 Reasons Why It Is Important for Journalists to be
 Knowledgeable on Topics They Cover in the News,
 by Level of Importance
 The main reasons provided from journalists for why they should be knowledgeable on the stories they
  cover include the need to have some knowledge (36%), and journalists not being able to be experts on all
  topics (22%). The top two reasons offered by MPs relate to fully informing the public (30%) and ensuring
  accuracy (28%).
                                                                    Very             Somewhat      Not Important
                                             Total                Important          Important         At All
                                      Journa-              Journa-                Journa-         Journa-
                                       lists         MPs    lists        MPs       lists    MPs    lists    MPs
                                        (%)          (%)     (%)         (%)        (%)     (%)     (%)     (%)
   Need to have some knowledge          36           21      43           19        19      30       -        -
   Can’t be an expert on                22            8      5                -     63      50     100        -
   everything
   Ensure Accuracy                      14           28      20           31         -      10       -        -
   To Fully inform the public           13           30      18           29         -      30       -        -
   To know if you are being lied to     13            5      18           6          -       -       -        -
   Depends on the form of               8                     -               -     13      10       -        -
   reporting
   To frame questions                   8            15      7            14        13      20       -        -
   To give information that people      3             5      5            4          -      10       -        -
   understand
   Ensure credibility                   3             3      5            4          -       -       -        -
  Table has been reversed

  Q35: Why do you say that? (PROBE: Any other reasons?)                                                            82
Media in Canada & Democracy




                              83
 Media in Canada & Democracy


 Two-in-three (67%) MPs think that today’s news media in Canada lives up to its role as an important
  component of our democracy.




                                Don’t Know/
                                 Refused
                                   10%


                                                                                         Yes
                                                                                         67%
                                 No
                                23%




  Q32MP: In general, do you think that today‟s news media in Canada lives up to its role as an important
         component of our democracy?                                                                       84
 Media in Canada & Democracy,
 by MP’s View of Canadian News Organizations

 Nine-in-ten (89%) MPs who think the Canadian media is careful that their reporting is not politically
  biased also think that the news media in Canada lives up to its role as an important component of our
  democracy, compared to only 59% of those who think the Canadian media is politically biased.



                                                                          No – News media in
                                             Yes – News media in        Canada does not live up
                                          Canada lives up to its role      to its role as an
                                         as an important component      important component of    Don’t Know/
                                              of our democracy              our democracy          Refused
                                                      (%)                          (%)                (%)
 Total                                               67                           23                  10
 Politically biased in their reporting               59                           32                  8
 Careful that their reporting is not
                                                     89                           6                   6
 politically biased




                                                                                                                85
 Media in Canada & Democracy,
 by MP’s View of Canadian News Organizations

 Three-in-four (73%) male MPs think that the news media in Canada lives up to its role as an important
  component of our democracy, compared to only 40% of female MPs.




                                                                    No – News media in
                                       Yes – News media in        Canada does not live up
                                    Canada lives up to its role      to its role as an
                                   as an important component      important component of    Don’t Know/
                                        of our democracy              our democracy          Refused
                                                (%)                          (%)                (%)
 Total                                         67                           23                  10
 Male                                          73                           22                  6
 Female                                        40                           30                  30




                                                                                                          86
Reasons Why MPs Think the Media in Canada
Lives up to its Role as an Important Component
of Our Democracy
Media Provides Good, Balanced Journalism
 The main reason why MPs think the media in Canada lives up to its role as an important component of our
  democracy relates to their belief that, overall, the media does a good job reporting the news and providing
  balanced journalism.
        “Most of us are involved with the media and sometimes we wish they would do a better job, but in
        general, they are doing a good job and doing it reasonably well.”
        “I think by and large we have good journalism, journalists who take their jobs seriously, who want to
        do a good job and contribute to accurate information being delivered.”
        “Well, it is an important role that I believe the media has been fulfilling, although recently there has
        been some problems and issues, but I suppose that is to be expected.”
        “The media has an important role to play in assisting government, etc. Some of them have partisan
        leanings, which does a disservice, but generally speaking, the media is fulfilling its role.”
        “The media is the most accessible form of communication to Canadians and the role that they play
        is very critical in ensuring that the discourse is presented, analyzed and challenged. And I think that
        the media does more or less a decent job in doing this.”




                                                                                                             87
Reasons Why MPs Think the Media in Canada
Lives up to its Role as an Important Component
of Our Democracy
 Although some MPs agreed that generally the media does a good job, they were also conscious of the fact
  that the media is “not perfect” and that at times the media has not reported on the facts which has
  contributed to “undermining the public trust” and negatively influenced public opinion.
          “I think they are doing a good job but there are occasions, as rare as they might be, when
          statements from journalists and the media are not factual and undermine the public trust, but that
          doesn‟t happen often, but they are not perfect.”
          “In the main, I think it is mainly unbiased and does well but there are those times when I think it‟s
          gone too far and has created public opinion which I felt was not proper. But in the main I think they
          do it well.”
Canada Doing Better than other Democracies
 Compared to other democracies, a few MPs believed that the media in Canada is doing a better job of
  living up to its role as an important component of our democracy.
          “We can look to the States – the media has turned into a political circus. Political views of the
          owners can start to affect political standards.”
          “It is better than almost any other press that we have in the western democracy.”
          “It is balanced compared to other news organizations that I am aware of – it is more fair, more
          thoughtful, more in-depth.”




                                                                                                            88
Reasons Why MPs Think the Media in Canada
Lives up to its Role as an Important Component
of Our Democracy
Inform the Public with a Variety of Sources
 A few MPs agreed that people rely on the media to inform them, and believe that overall, the media is
   doing a good job of this through insightful commentary and by providing a variety of sources.
          “In this day and age, people today lead very busy lives and often the only way they can get insight
         of the political discourse of the country is through the media, be it the morning news or evening
         newspapers. That‟s very important because they may not have the time to call their MP or send an
         email.”
         “It is a busy life that everybody leads and for Canadians to stay in tune with what is important to
         them it becomes almost the responsibility and challenge of the journalists to share those stories. So
         I think that we want an informed electorate and we rely on our journalists to do so.”
         “Communication is important. We have good variety and it is up to an individual to get as much
         information as they can from a variety of sources. We have a pretty good balance across the
         board.”
         “I think that if you take all the news sources together, there is now more of them than their used to
         be and as a result of all that opinion, generally speaking, we have a better informed electorate and I
         think there is not a collective abuse of the media.”

Free Media & Participation
 A few MPs also associated the importance of a free media and public participation with any democracy.
        “A free media is critically important for democracy. We should be allowed to have as many points of
        view as possible and this can only be achieved through free media.”
        “There is no other way to communicate effectively than with an open media.”
        “Because democracy is built on free press.”
        “Active participation in the public discourse that goes on in the day. It is important to have
        engagement between media and the public on important issues.”

                                                                                                             89
Reasons Why MPs Do Not Think the Media in
Canada Lives up to its Role as an Important
Component of Our Democracy
Bias in the Media
 MPs who do not think the media in Canada lives up to its role as an important component of our
   democracy say so largely for reasons associated with the perceived bias in the media, as well as
   uninformed and misinformed reporting by journalists.
          “Reporting has become very, very biased and somewhat unethical.”
          “It‟s biased. Just look at the election coverage. Certain political parties get more access, more
          coverage, more favourable coverage on a regular basis during an election. There have been
          studies on that, so it‟s not an unknown.”
          “Partially because I believe there is bias in the media and therefore in our democracy we believe
          all people should be heard equally and I don‟t think that is the case.”
          “They are not well informed. And most of the time, they are misinformed and are not unbiased
          enough.”
          “I don‟t think the Canadian media is unbiased. Huge bias in national, especially TV, news
          reporting media.”
Ethics
 A few MPs questioned the extent to which some reporting is ethical in the Canadian news media. One
   MP noted the influence that corporations have on reporting, and the absence of an “ethical watchdog” as
   contributing to the inability of the media in Canada to live up to its role as an important component of our
   democracy.
          “Corporate heads and owners of media have their own views and if the reporter doesn‟t cover the
          story as they want it, the reporter can be fired. The media holds everyone else‟s feet to the fire
          except their own. Canada does not have an ethical watch dog.”

                                                                                                             90
Reasons Why MPs Do Not Think the Media in
Canada Lives up to its Role as an Important
Component of Our Democracy
Critical Analysis
 A few MPs also identified the structure of the media and the level of coverage and critical analysis as
   inhibiting the media’s ability to live up to its role as an important component of our democracy.
           “I don‟t fault the journalists, but I think it is just the way the media is structure. There could be
           more coverage on issues in general, internal issues, domestic issues and with more depth, that
           would strengthen our democracy.”
           “Because they don‟t do the critical analysis of information that comes out of political offices –
           either government or opposition – to get to the facts. Very, very poor investigative reporting,
           especially in the electronic media, let‟s put it that way.”




                                                                                                                   91
 Regional Viewpoints in
National News Coverage




                          92
 Level of Satisfaction with Variety of Regional
 Viewpoints Reported in National Media

 Two-in-five journalists (61%) and one-in-two MPs (47%) are either not very satisfied or not satisfied at all
    with the variety of regional viewpoints reported in the national news media.
   Less than one-in-ten (8%) journalists are very satisfied with the variety of regional viewpoints reported in the
    national media, and only 2% of MPs say the same. One-in-three journalists (39%) and MPs (33%) say they
    are somewhat satisfied.
     100%

                                                             Journalists          Members of Parliament
       80%


       60%

                                                                         43%
                                        39%
       40%                                        33%          34%

                                                                                                18%
       20%                                                                            13%
                  8%                                                                                         6%    5%
                           2%
        0%
                     Very                Somewhat                Not Very            Not Satisfied          Don’t Know/
                   Satisfied              Satisfied              Satisfied               At All               Refused


    Q36: How satisfied are you by the variety of regional viewpoints reported in the national news media?                 93
         (READ LIST)
      Biggest Differences Between French and English
      News Coverage: French More Focused on Quebec
   When asked about the biggest differences between French and English news coverage, three-in-ten
      journalist (31%) and MPs (30%) were either unsure or could not provide any differences between the two
      types of news coverage.* Further, about one-in-ten MPs said they could not answer the question because
      they do not follow French coverage or cannot read French.
     The biggest differences between French and English news coverage according to both journalists and MPs
      relates to French coverage being more focused on the province of Quebec, while some, particularly MPs,
      consider English coverage to be much more national in scope.
  Journalists: French More Focused on Quebec
    “French focuses just on Quebec views.”
    “French is obviously more focused on Quebec.”
    “French typically focuses on French speaking issues related to Quebec‟s place in the federation.”
    “French is unduly focused on Quebec.”
    “French tends to be a little more Quebec centric.”
  MPs: French More Focused on Quebec
    “Quebec focuses more on Quebec related issues.”
    “The French media is much more localized. They cover a lot of stories that we never see in the West.”
    “French language coverage is centred on one province and the upside to that is that it is much more in-depth,
    quite thorough, diverse and interesting.”
    “French coverage is much more narrowly focused on Quebec.”
    “French is just so much more regional. It seems that it‟s entire focus is Quebec, whereas the English media
    attempts to cover the entire country.”
    “French tends to cover one province. English tends to be more pan-Canadian.”
Q37: What do you think are the biggest differences, if any, between French and English news coverage? (PROBE:
     Any other differences?)
     *Many English-speaking journalists and MPs are not familiar with the French media.                         94
 Biggest Differences Between French and English
 News Coverage: Subject Matter
 Some MPs view subject matter as the biggest difference between English and French coverage, while
  only one journalist identified this as the biggest difference between the two.

MPs: Subject Matter
  “Each of them cover topics that are ignored by others. In other words, the French-speaking media are
  restricted to the province of Quebec where there is a great deal of self-absorption of the French media
  than the rest of the country where the reporting of Quebec by English-speaking newspapers is not very
  sophisticated. But unfortunately the reverse is also true.”
  “Slant in Quebec is different on a lot of issues.”
  “Regional and international coverage and if you listen to Radio Canada and CBC, that‟s where you hear
  the difference. How they cover domestic issues and also international issues is different – more in-depth.”
  “Certain news items are given a different priority level, I can see that some items are covered while others
  are not in English and French coverage.”
  “Enormous differences. I find the French media much more open to different views and much more
  informed and will report on social and other issues in a much more in-depth way. There are a lot of things
  that they report on that the English media doesn‟t bother with.”

Journalists: Subject Matter
  “They cover different subject matter.”




   Q37: What do you think are the biggest differences, if any, between French and English news coverage?     95
        (PROBE: Any other differences?)
 Biggest Differences Between French and English
 News Coverage: Sensationalism & Bias

 French news coverage is viewed as more “aggressive”, “sensationalistic” and “animated” by some
  journalists and MPs.

MPs: Coverage More “Sensationalistic”, “Aggressive”, “Animated”
  “English coverage is more subdued, while French is more animated.”
Journalists: Coverage More “Sensationalistic”, “Aggressive”, “Animated”
  “French is more sensational and aggressive.”
  “French tends to be more sensational.”
  “Quebec journalists tend to be more aggressive. They pursue their stories vigorously.”
  “French journalists tend to be more aggressive.”
  “Quebec media has a bit more of an edge, critical from a left wing perspective – more a stomach for the
  sensational.”

 Bias in English and French media was identified by some MPs and journalists as among the biggest
  differences between the two types of news coverage.

MPs: Bias
  “We in the West see the national news media as biased against them.”
  “I would say that French coverage is more biased towards Francophones.”
Journalists: Bias
  “English is more susceptible to bias. French is more independent.”


   Q37: What do you think are the biggest differences, if any, between French and English news coverage?    96
        (PROBE: Any other differences?)
       Roland Merbis, Vice President, Public Affairs
Stephanie Blenkiron, Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs

                    101 Yorkville Avenue, Suite 301
                      Toronto, Canada M5R 1C1
                Tel: 416.921.0090 / Fax: 416.921.3903
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