Just about everybody with a cause believes the media is either completely against them, casting their arguments in a negative light, or just not giving them the amount of time and serious consideration they deserve.
In the last couple of weeks alone, I've heard almost all of the FOX News meat puppets refer to the "Left wing bias of the Main Stream Media".
Within the same time frame, Michael Moore in his stirring speech in support of Unionism from the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol and Bill Maher on his HBO "Real Time" series both pointedly referred to the "Right wing bias of the Main Stream Media".
If you're media, main stream, tributary or quietly babbling blog, some among your audience are continually parsing the vocabulary and tone of what you do and coming to the conclusion that somebody's pulling a fast one -- and they're getting the short end of the deal.
I often feel that way about the CBC.
Usually it's with regard to their drama programming. I mean, I can't be the only one wondering if there's some quietly unspoken reason that "Little Mosque" keeps getting renewed -- can I?
But often I'll feel that way about CBC News programming as well.
Anybody who's been reading this blog for a while, knows I'm actually quite fond of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I don't agree with everything his party stands for and have issues with some of what he's selling. But overall, he doesn't annoy or flat out piss me off as much as the other guys.
So you can imagine my surprise after taking CBC's much vaunted and constantly hyped "Vote Compass" online test that I'm actually a Liberal supporter leaning heavily toward the NDP.
The 2011 Federal Election "Vote Compass" is an online questionnaire which contends that by taking ten minutes and answering its 30 carefully constructed questions, you'll get an accurate reading on which of our five major political parties is most closely aligned with your world view.
The CBC doesn't say that you should then go out and vote for that party. But at the same time it doesn't say the website is for "amusement purposes only". And they go to a lot of trouble to assure you that this is a completely scientific process developed by expert Political Scientists with no personal agenda whatsoever.
And maybe I'm just really hard to read.
I remember being at a New Years Eve party once where the host had hired a Tarot Card Reader to entertain the guests and forecast their coming year. The poor woman dealt my cards and became physically ill. She dealt them a second time. Then a third, each time growing more upset.
No matter how often she cast my runes, they kept telling her the same thing. I was tragically doomed. In fact, she was tearfully certain I wouldn't live out the night.
To be honest, I almost didn't. When the host found out she was so distraught she'd gone home, he blamed me, demanding I reimburse the $200 he'd paid her.
But back to the "Vote Compass".
No matter how often the CBC have investigated themselves on charges of Liberal bias and come to the conclusion that they're clean as a whistle, you can still find people harboring doubts.
I'm sure a lot of that comes from looking at the world through their own sets of biases. As Canadian playwright Carol Bolt once wisely stated, "A good book is one which confirms your own prejudices."
So I asked three Conservative friends to take the test, choosing a sample group that included an atheist and a recent immigrant since a couple of the Compass questions revolved around your affection for the Christian Right and comfort with new immigrants.
They turned out to be closet Liberals as well.
Trying hard not to fashion myself a tinfoil hat, I contacted an old friend who has spent most of his life studying Political Science and working as an organizer for the NDP. Turned out he also had taken the test.
His result said he was a perfectly aligned with the Green Party. But he saw something darker in the direction of the "Vote Compass" than even I at my conspiratorial best could have imagined.
"Please note the set up. They say you will be "surprised" by the results. That is a set up. Loads of people are looking for party affiliation and affirmation and they have a gimmick that thinks concern for the environment is LEFTIST ONLY! What a truckload of Hooey.
This is not political science, it's pseudo science. When CBC pulls these head games out during an election, it makes my blood boil. CBC should be kicked in the ass for this deeply flawed computer program.
Note, anybody thinking Conservative is directed to be a Liberal or New Democrat (smell a rat here). Anyone voting NDP is told they are Green. It is trying to peel the NDP vote off to the Green and Conservative votes to the Liberals..."
Later, he copied me an email from another student of Political Science.
"Yeah watch out for that, it's not accurate. The questionnaire has two variables:
1 - Economic position (left or right)
2 - Social (conservative or liberal)
The NDP is placed on the left of the economic axis and on the top of the social axis. If you're socially liberal and economically left, you are considered NDP.
The Greens are placed toward the left side of the economic axis but they are much closer to the centre of the social axis.
I switched my answers to make them more socially conservative and suddenly I became a Green too."
And then there's this guy…
Just more CBC bashing combined with the party fervor that's always stirred up by an election?
As of this evening, another respected Political Scientist has weighed in.
Queen's University professor Kathy Brock says the CBC's "Vote Compass" is flawed and tells people they're Liberal by default. Full story here.
Perhaps somebody other than CBC's own Ombudsman needs to take a look at this whole bias question.
And while they're at it, maybe they could ask a few questions about that awfully early "Little Mosque" renewal too.
For a similar (and well reasoned) viewpoint from the political Left. Visit here.
Meanwhile, NDP Supporters have started a facebook page demanding the CBC remove the Vote Compass. Simply facebook search "bogus vote tool".
And for those who still think OJ didn't do it because there's no video…