Sunday, May 1, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
The Election and the Media - Tomorrow is the day when millions of us do something people in many parts of the rest of the world wish with all their hearts they could do - cast ballots in free and fair elections.
It's been a strange campaign in many ways - completely motionless for three-quarters of it, and then wildly careening for the past week or so. We'll know soon how it will all play out.
As the parties have been battling it out, there's another battle going on that we don't discuss quite so much. The battle--or at least the tension-- between the journalists and the politicians. One side hoping to uncover "the truth", whatever that might be. And the other side trying to transmit THEIR versions. They call it the truth.We usually call it something else. The media and the politicians in our first hour.
Read more about hour one here
Lying and Politics - More politics in our second hour...when we'll ask what seems to be a perennial question - why do politicians lie to us, and why do we let them? Spin, deception, manipulation of reality. Why leaders lie in our second hour.
Read more about hour two here
Roma Music - In our third hour, another group of politicized people - The Roma. But this feature documentary is not about their political situation - it's about their music. It Burns the Middle of My Heart, by Karin Wells in Hour Three.
Read more about hour three here
Elsewhere in the program: If you think politics in THIS country can get nasty...hang around for our discussion of the notorious Borgias. The new TV series is a smash hit. Michael Higgins helps separate fact from fiction. We'll also take a close look at the colour blue - from the blue of the sky to the blue of Kate Middleton's engagement ring, to the blue marble that's our planet.
The Election and the Media
When we head to the polls to decide the future of the country, millions of ballots are cast based on our perceptions: perceptions of the party leaders, of the candidates and of the campaigns they've run...perceptions that are shaped largely by the media.
Election campaigns are a contest between the parties, but there is a different kind of tension at play too: between journalists - who are trying to ferret out information - and politicians, who are trying to control it.
Elly Alboim is a professor of journalism at Carleton University and is lecturing at Queen's University. He is also a Principal with the Earnscliffe Group, offering advice about strategic communications and public opinion. Mr. Alboim has covered 44 election campaigns - federal and provincial - as parliamentary bureau chief and senior producer of election coverage for the CBC. He has also worked on three national election campaigns as a Liberal strategist. He was in the studios of CFRC at Queen's University in Kingston.
Thierry Giasson is a professor in the Department of Information and Communication at Laval University in Quebec City and a former reporter for Radio-Canada. He has written extensively about the coverage of election debates and campaigns for a variety of publications, including The Toronto Star and The Canadian Journal of Political Science. He was in our Montreal studio.
Monty Python Skit
Here's an excerpt from Monty Python's "Election Special."
In the television series The Borgias, Jeremy Irons plays the sinister family patriarch Rodrigo Borgia, soon to become Pope Alexander VI and Colm Feore is his nemesis, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere.
Sinister doesn't begin to describe the Rodrigo Borgia portrayed in the series, or the rest of his tribe for that matter. They don't call them the original crime family for nothing. At times you could be watching an episode of The Sopranos, with the 15th century Vatican subbing for the Bada Bing.
Historians may disagree over the portrayal of the Borgias in the series - some say their treachery is overstated, that the show has gone too far into sensationalism - but what they can all agree on is, truth is almost always more interesting than fiction.
The real Borgia family did cut a swath through the Vatican and Renaissance Europe for fifty years, wielding enormous power and influence on church and state. They were ruthless, corrupt and murderous. Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of the Pope, became an enduring symbol for female villainy.
At least, that is the legend of the Borgias. But what is myth and what is reality?
Michael Higgins is a theologian and writer, a frequent guest of The Sunday Edition. He is vice-president at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, past-president of two Canadian universities, and the author and co-author of 13 books. He was also Consultant for the 6-hour television series Sir Peter Ustinov's Inside the Vatican.
He was in a studio in Fairfield.
Lying and Politics
Politicians and the truth have never had an especially amicable relationship - or at least that's the conventional belief.
Although we seem to desperately want to believe everything our political leaders tell us, we're inevitably deeply disappointed when things don't always turn out the way our politicians tell us they will - when promises they make don't materialize, when we suspect we're being pressured to buy political policies as though they were used cars, or, in the rare instances when we find out that our political leaders have just made things up - for example, concerning one ex-Middle East-dictator and weapons of mass destruction.
The relationship of politicians to us, to the world, and to the truth is a complex, shaded, sometimes shady, but fascinating aspect of our political life. And, on the eve of one of the central events in our political life cycle, we thought we'd take a look at this enormous subject from several different points of view.
Shadia Drury is the Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at the University of Regina, and a professor in the departments of Political Science and Philosophy. She was in our CBC studio in Regina.
John Mearshimer is a professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He's the author of several books, the most recent being "Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics", published earlier this year by Oxford University Press. He was in Chicago.
The Colour Blue
You could make an argument that we are all beings of blue - the blood in our veins is actually blue and the world we live in is a blue world - the vault of sky under which we live protects us with its heavenly blue, the water that nourishes us, and surrounds us is blue - although Genesis doesn't say so - it is blue that the myth of creation creates - the blue of the heavens, the blue of the waters.
Carol Mavor is fascinated by the hue, the word, the concept, the cultural penumbra of blue.
She's a Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester, who recently was the 2011 Northrop Frye Professor at the University of Toronto Centre for Comparative Literature. She's currently at work on a book called: "Blue Mythologies A study of the Hue of Blue". In her own words, she's "attempting, in Colette's words, to be a connoisseur of blue". She's was in a studio in Manchester.
It Burns the Middle of My Heart
In 1893, Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, conducted a census of all the Roma living in Hungary. When they were asked what they did for a living over half put down "musician."
Gypsy music has flourished in eastern Europe for centuries.
This is music like quick silver. It changes and shifts over time and in front of your ears.
The Roma have always wandered.
They came out of India 1200 years ago and made their way north to Europe - via Egypt. Europeans thought they were Egyptians and that's how they became known as gypsies. Charming, beguiling, here one day, gone the next - gypsies.
Over the centuries they have been persecuted, oppressed, murdered. And no one seems to want the Roma in their back yard.
Nonetheless, everyone wants their music.
In Hungary, this is a tension - a story - played out in the past and .........in the present.
This is Karin Wells documentary It Burns the Middle of My Heart.