Thursday, September 29, 2011

Canadian media is unsustainable

Hochstein in his flower garden
Phil Hochstein, head of the ICBA, a construction industry lobby group, has long been an articulate tool given red carpet access by media that fear we might go a day without hearing from a pro-business spin doctor. Today Hochstein is selling the results of a poll his organization sponsored. Not surprisingly, the survey report matches ICBA's view of the world. Angus Reid's sham research was designed to produce the results it did.

ICBA concludes "grossly inflated wages and benefits are burdening taxpayers" and as a result, “Civic spending in B.C. has become unsustainable." That is an interesting term used by people who want to see government services privatized and a fair wage economy suppressed. We hear frequently that Canadian healthcare is unsustainable. The preferred solution involves an Americanized system that presumably would be sustainable although functioning with less effectiveness and higher cost.

Peter Ewart at Opinion 250 makes a good point:
"Hochstein and the ICBA who appear to want to divert people away from the fact that, for the last ten years, certain sections of the construction industry in this province have been very much attached to the teat of government spending and have played a big role in running up municipal and provincial debt.

"Indeed, the government of British Columbia could give ancient Egypt a good run for its money in terms of the palaces, monuments and edifices it has built over the last decade, whether it has been the massive spending on Olympic infrastructure, the Sea to Sky Highway, the Richmond Skating Oval, the Port Mann Bridge, the Vancouver Convention Centre, the BC Stadium roof, and so on..."
Recently Ipsos Reid executives Darrell Bricker and John Wright penned an open letter to journalists. They complained about inferior polls — like this one by Angus Reid — being distributed without critical examination:
"...all polls are NOT created equally. And, in spite of what you may assume, pollsters are never held to account for their indiscretions, incompetence and mistakes (there is no “polling police”)...

"Some marginal pollsters count on your ignorance and hunger to make the news to peddle an inferior product. ...We've also seen a disturbing trend of late in which questionable polls find their way into an outlet’s coverage because they appear to match an editorial line, or present a counter-intuitive perspective."
The ICBA poll was a product of Angus Reid's online forum, a methodology not universally respected. Read the poll's opening statement, my criticism is self-evident. The shameful effort is almost equivalent to this example:
Question:

How do you feel about blatant abuses being foisted upon lawful, peaceable gun owners by crooked politicians and biased media?

Answers:
A: Angry
B: Frustrated
C: Sad
Polling Report Sept 272011
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