Thursday, May 16, 2024

An Age Of Nay Sayers

 Canada's political leaders are having a hard time. Lawrence Martin writes:

The Angus Reid Institute put out an analysis last week saying the leaders of Canada’s major federal political parties have never been held in such dismal regard. It was based on an analysis of 50 years of public-opinion data.

It’s the first time that all three major federal party leaders, the survey said, have garnered net ratings of negative 12 or worse at the same time.

The minus-12 rating – meaning the disapproval percentage is that many points higher than the approval one – belongs to Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. By today’s standards, that’s actually a good rating. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh scores his worst ever ranking at minus-14. And, the study noted, “Prime Minister Trudeau’s approval has dropped to its lowest point at just 28 per cent, with a net approval of negative 38.”

Justin Trudeau's rating is about a lot of things. His "low standing stems from the housing crisis, inflation, immigration and his government’s incompetence as seen, for instance, in the ArriveCan app scandal. As well, there’s the fatigue factor, with his being in power almost nine years."

But for him and other leaders, we’re forgetting the elephant in the room: the burden of being at the helm in the online age. It’s often mentioned but not highlighted nearly enough. Owing to the internet and social media, political leaders are under bombardment from a gazillion more voices than they ever faced in the predigital era.

For the pall of unparalleled negativity that hangs over our politics, look to the naysayers, cynics, vilifiers and haters who have been handed microphones by virtue of this communications revolution. It’s been the catalyst for the disinformation epidemic, the rise of far right and left fringes, the debasement of the dialogue, the extreme polarization, the discrediting of the mainstream media, the erosion of trust in institutions.

With the comms system gone rogue, national leaders – provincial and civic leaders don’t have it so bad – can no longer influence, shape or control the message as they did before. Against the torrent of abuse, they have become more and more defenceless.

Compare the environment Justin Trudeau faces to that of his father. In Pierre Trudeau’s time, there was no internet, no relentless social-media attacks. The hard right barely existed, conservatives being of the more moderate Tory stripe. The more liberally inclined CBC had a far greater audience share. The right-wing Sun chain had yet to expand and conservative Postmedia had not yet been born.

Post-pandemic, we are in a very sour mood. Our darker angels are ascendant.

Image: Linked In


Northern PoV said...

"Post-pandemic, we are in a very sour mood."

Or is it brain-worms? ;-)

Owen Gray said...

Whatever the cause, PoV, we're in a nasty mood.

zoombats said...

A nasty mood indeed only to be compounded by recent disclosure of their salaries and perks for proven incompetence.

Owen Gray said...

These are dark days, zoombats.

Cathie from Canada said...

Yes, but remember John Lennon said 40 years ago "somebody told me there'd be days like these, strange days indeed" so I'm not sure whether our age now is uniquely awful, or just that we are noticing it more!

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure that there have been other uniquely awful times, Cathie. I worry that history shows they did not end well.

Northern PoV said...

Breaking News:

ICC arrest warrants. About time. Now, how will Canada (a founding member of the ICC) react?

Assange gets another appeal. Freedom of the Press vs War criminals.

Owen Gray said...

What's happening at the ICC should have everyone's attention, PoV. Unfortunately, that's not happening.