Sunday September 27, 2015
Is there too much focus on petty scandals in the election at the expense of policy and leadership?
Bozo eruptions: In this campaign, everything from shoot-from-the-lip Facebook postings, to bad-taste YouTube videos, to off-colour and off-the-cuff remarks are grounds for political scandal.
Are parties and the media focusing too much on this at the expense of policy and leadership?
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So, does this election campaign have more than its share of little scandals where a candidate is caught saying something stupid, nay dumb... or insulting or offensive?
At rough count there have been about 20 of them since the campaign kicked off eight weeks ago, and most have been dredged out of old comment boards or Facebook postings or from Twitter.
Maybe it's the long campaign. Perhaps it is the real arrival of social media as a political tool. Or maybe it's just that some people are trying harder to find those forgotten moments now seemingly forever preserved online.
Well, the fact that they are commonly called 'bozo eruptions' pretty much says it all. But every time another comes to light, the other parties jump on it as an example of why that candidate and his or her party are not fit to govern. Call it schadenfreud, it's being done without the slightest sense that next week the whiff of scandal likely will be hanging over them.
And then there's the media (that's us!) which line up ask questions of the leaders hoping for a reaction to the latest fall from grace. Is it just a game, or is it really important?
Do these little scandals distract us from the serious issues that campaigns should, or are supposed to be about? Are they simply petty, or is it an inevitable part of a raucous and public process that holds up all candidates for judgment, not just on their policies, but on their character as well?
Does it matter that many of the transgressions are old and made at a time when stepping into the political arena was not even a thought? Do you worry that if standards are set too high, especially for speech or behaviour that happened many years ago, that good people will be deterred from entering politics?
- List of candidates, party officials who have made headlines for various gaffes (Sept. 10, 2015)
- Political parties look closer at candidates' social media histories after recent gaffes
- Conservative candidate Blair Dale dropped after remarks about women, abortion surface
- NDP candidate Alex Johnstone promises to learn more about Holocaust
- Jerry Bance, Conservative caught peeing in mug, no longer candidate, party says
- Joy Davies resigns as Liberal candidate over pro-pot Facebook comments
- Liberal candidate Chris Brown apologizes for offensive booze-fuelled tweets
- Liberal candidate says Facebook posts questioning 9/11 were her 'truth' at the time
- Winnipeg NDP candidate quits over social media posts linking Jewish sect to Taliban
- 'Bozo eruptions' or no, let voters decide if candidates are idiots, by Andrew Coyne
- Campaign 2015 is trite, trivialized and superficial. No wonder voters are tuned out, by Kelly McParland
- How about we just burn our social media histories and try again next election? by Robyn Urback
- Tories drop two candidates after videos show one peeing in cup, the other making prank calls
- NDP candidate defends death camp-related penis joke: 'I didn't know what Auschwitz was'
- Solving an 'electoral emergency': How parties find replacements for candidates who self-destruct
Globe and Mail
- Full list of candidates, party officials who have made election gaffes (Sept. 21, 2105)
- Social media still not a vetting priority for political parties: experts
- Tories' campaign strategy: Staying mum to avoid gaffes, by Adam Radwanski
- Parties show lack of social-media savvy as candidates take hits online
- NDP incumbent Pat Martin apologizes for offensive language