Premier Doug Ford apparently feels mainstream journalists have become irrelevant because he can speak directly to Ontarians through social media. Speaking at the annual Manning Networking Conference, a gathering of conservatives, on March 23, Ford said the mainstream media no longer matters because, “Now there’s social media so we’re circumventing the media through our social media.”
At the risk of sounding irrelevant like the rest of the mainstream media (MSM) hangers-on, I would normally take issue with Ford on this pronouncement. It’s tempting to argue that most Ontarians, even conservatives thinkers, probably like a bit of perspective with their news. Government-issued missives, whether they take the form of press releases, tweets or Facebook posts, tend to skim over details like costs and consequences of government programs and policies, focusing only on the most positive. Heck if you wanted “sunny ways” you’d be a Liberal, right?
But maybe Ford’s on to something? Perhaps he’d get a fairer shake in the Twitterverse? Well, maybe? Here’s a few samples of what’s being said about the Ontario government in that forum.
In response to a recent tweet from government propaganda producer Ontario News Now about ending the cap and trade program, one quick-witted twerp (Tweep? What do we call these people?) responded, “Wow what a bargain stealing the future from the next generations was! I’ll have 5 WHOLE DOLLARS EXTRA A WEEK!”
In response to a tweet from Ford himself about “productive discussions on priorities for the City of Toronto — including transit, housing and public safety,” we found, “‘Productive discussions’ In other words: ranged from euphemistic double-speak to talking point gibberish.”
Also, it turns out, maybe not everyone appreciates the social messaging approach, hence: “5 Tweets and it’s not even noon. #DespicableDoug is paying someone a hefty salary to do so many social media updates. Oops…I mean WE are paying someone’s salary to take pics of this (name too rude for a family publication) and upload all day.”
And it’s not just Ford taking the social media heat.
In an interview last week with a no doubt duplicitous MSM outfit, education minister Lisa Thompson was somehow tricked into stating Ontario students are lacking coping skills and “resiliency.” Which might have been fair enough if she hadn’t added, “So by increasing class sizes in high school we’re preparing them for the reality of post secondary as well as the world of work.”
This sorry attempt at spin inspired the enterprising satirists at The Beaverton to set up #moreresiliant which produced such gems as:
– Lisa Thompson announces 1st annual Hunger Games to make Ontario high school students #MoreResilient;
– Bring peanuts back to the cafeteria! Make kids #moreresilient against anaphylaxis;
– Doug Ford to reintroduce bullying into the Ontario school curriculum. “Back in my day everyone was bullied and we turned out fine,” Ford says #moreresiliant;
– Hire bigger teachers for the bigger class sizes; and
– Ontario school children to brew $1 beer in chemistry class. #MoreResilient.
So it turns out MSM shills may be vicious, but on social media, everyone’s a critic.
You can run #DespicableDoug, but you can’t hide.