Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

How Does Media Influence Our Opinions

Posted by auroracitizen on August 21, 2009

Recent news articles provide an interesting perspective on the role of media on our opinions.

For example, Debora Kelly of The Banner wrote an editorial Aug 12, in which she takes a fairly supportive position on the antics of our Council and the recent firing of our Integrity Commissioner. Providing lots of room for quotes and spin from former colleague and Banner columnist Mayor Phyllis Morris, Debora declares her opinion with the comment “Fortunately, the experience hasn’t dampened council’s desire to have a watchdog at its side. (Though, may I suggest they get an understanding on the complaints procedure before handing over the retainer fee next time?)”

Compared this to the point of view of the Editorial department of a more disinterested party, the Toronto Star “A war of words on the web and a bruising battle at city council has culminated with the outlandish firing of Aurora’s integrity commissioner.” and “Aurora’s aura of good governance is on the wane.”

Note that both of these pieces are opinions versus news stories. News stories are supposed to be fact based — while in editorials or opinions, the writer is expected to provide their own opinion/spin. Did Ms Kelley’s prior relationship colour her opinion? How was The Stars writer influenced by their prior knowledge of Aurora and Mayor Morris (Right to Dry??). We’ll never know.

Relying only on our media can be dangerous — because all papers (and blogs for that matter) have their own view of the facts. So listen to your friends and neighbours, read the papers, and blogs — but be sure to check out the meetings where you will see this Council in action live. Links are available at the top left if you can’t attend in person.

The next meeting to discuss the issue of the Integrity Commissioner is Tuesday Sept 8. Then draw your own opinion and join in the conversation. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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11 Responses to “How Does Media Influence Our Opinions”

  1. The Mississauga Muse said

    Quoting Council Cop again:

    "The Aurora Citizen Blog and Councilor Buck’s website are both examples of how new forms of media are facilitating necessary debate, education and communication."

    While both the Aurora Citizen and Buck's Blog are part of the new media, it's the Aurora Citizen that in my opinion is unique certainly among local new media that I've seen.

    It's the Aurora Citizens insistence on FACTS. Its cautioning people to recognize fact vs opinion.

    Here's just the latest example:

    "Relying only on our media can be dangerous — because all papers (and blogs for that matter) have their own view of the facts.

  2. The Mississauga Muse said

    Council Cop said…

    {If the traditional media or our town council are not going to do the job that concerned citizens require, then new and more effective sources of communication will fill the gap where ever and whenever possible. It’s that simple."

    The Media were killing us in Mississauga (might as well just have been extensions of city hall). One citizens had it and filed Freedom of Information (FOI_.

    Then I had it and filed Freedom of Information.

    Now there's a third guy who's filed Freedom of Information.

    Each FOI is a stepping stone for yet another filing as we inch closer to the truth (how we believed in a Mississauga that wasn't).

    Media won't cut it. Neither will watching Council meetings and cable TV. If your Council's anything like Mississauga it's just a ritualized drama of mutual pretense.

    I've already tested the Town of Aurora emailing them one simple question. Just back and forth, back and forth.

    And now a "call us".

    All I wanted was a policy and a form that would tell me everything I needed to know about Aurora. Or any other municipal council.

    This-here Aurora Citizen has a good feel to it. Insists on FACTS. Now follow that to its logical conclusion.

    I'll be filing too….

    Signed,
    The Mississauga Muse
    MISSISSAUGAWATCH

  3. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    I have to agree with White Knight.
    Mayor Black should be all over St. Kitts and her blatant over the top antics, pandering and fellating, she loves that.

    I assume there is an agenda set up with our mayor to make trek to Aurora worth her while….I wonder if she's affiliated with a business or something?

    regardless it sure was a treat to have something other than St. Kitts music at the farmers market this week, it's nice to know that the bandstand is not bought, and that other acts can have a chance to showcase their talents.

  4. Anonymous said

    Speaking of media, Wikipedia isn't perfect but it seems that recent media articles have been cited:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora,_Ontario

  5. White Knight said

    Given that Ms. St Kitts is a resident og King township and not of Aurora, she should focus her efforts there… unless they just don't pander to her there the way our mayor does.

  6. Anonymous said

    As Evelyn has said if all were given the opportunity for debate from the get go she would not have had to go this route(not her exact words). When you are not allowed to speak in the forum that is suppose to allow all to debate then wouldn't you feel it necessary to put your point of view out there. Remember there are 5 Newbys on this council so anything goes when such are large number are not given the opportunity be educated in how things should work. And don't forget the Newbys in the Town Hall with probation NOT on their side. What a better place to put it then in your own blog. People can read if they choose. Nobody said you had to. It is EVELYN'S view point. Isn't that the point. She has one. Good for her. She also says in her blog she is not telling people how to think, she simply puts her thoughts and ideas out there. Make up your own mind! She has knowledge and as someone said she has probably forgotten more then the others know. It is information being shared. To date I believe when she has been challenged by comments on her blog about her facts. People have gone off and found that her facts have been true. So I for one read with interest and support as to why Evelyn has been forced into this place on her blog. I am sure if the Mayor and her followers were doing things in a proper manner we would not be here.

    Anybody ask Evelyn WHY she did not sign the Code of Conduct? Maybe she saw the things that were wrong with it and the reason the Integrity Commissioner was fired. Maybe these are questions that should be asked instead of putting the blame on one and not the other. 6-3 that can say a lot. They were also the only ones in a meeting that Fired the Integrity Commissioner a meeting with an agenda was sent out at the last possible minute. Why was that? Would they have fired him if he had come back and said that both parties were at fault, and of course would he still have his job if he sided with them. According to the Mayor he was going before a desision was made. Why file a complaint with an Integrity Commissioner you are about to fire? And were all of the Council privy to the reasons why Mr Nitkin was about to be canned? I don't think so! Open and transparent, my azc! These are questions we will never have the answers to and it won't be because of EVELYN!

  7. Tim the Enchanter said

    Yes, media does certainly provide ample opportunity to spin a particular viewpoint on just about any topic. Haven't had much need for the Eerie Banger since my Norwegian Blue fell off the perch and good luck finding edgy editorial comment in the Auroran. I suppose when you're a free handout dependent on local advertising to feed the cat it's wise not to risk offending anyone and that's perfectly fine. Business is business. However it seems that the surfeit of mainstream media coverage, most of which probably caused a national giggle at Aurora's expense (and deservedly so), lit Ron Wallace's editorial fire er.. well OK, embers. No worries though about the Auroran taking council to task for hiring an IC in the first place, something the town needs about as much as the Aurora Tigers need a private jet. Not even a whimper about Council screwing it all up and having the gall to want a do-over! No sir, Poor Ronnie chose to take umbrage to the description of Aurora as a "Toronto bedroom community", which of course, it is. I swear you could hear the corks pop out of both barrels in defense of the fair Aurora. Oh well, I guess that's what they call editorial viewpoint.

  8. Council Cop said

    If the traditional media or our town council are not going to do the job that concerned citizens require, then new and more effective sources of communication will fill the gap where ever and whenever possible. It’s that simple.

    In war there has never been a weapon that has been invented that has not been used, unless a more powerful or effective weapon has been invented. In the information age the same rule applies to communication technologies.

    Electronic media has revolutionized the speed and efficiency of how people are engaged and how change is affected, but some people are learning that lesson faster than others.

    The Aurora Citizen Blog and Councilor Buck’s website are both examples of how new forms of media are facilitating necessary debate, education and communication. Even if you don’t necessarily agree with everything or anything that is being said on any given website, ignoring the trend toward instant, open and effective electronic communication runs the risk of being left behind.

  9. Anonymous said

    Speaking of media, I see the President and Vice-President of the PM fan club have authored run on diatribes in the paper recently. Mr. Granger and Ms St. Kitts feel it neessary to suck up to their leader. Ms St. Kitts wants Aurora to be like New York and I'm not sure what the other was professing.

  10. Council Cop said

    The Banner has done some solid and hard hitting reporting in the past but there is no question that over the past few years they have gone soft on reporting or following up on anything that might seem to be too hard hitting, too involved or too controversial and in more than a few cases they have missed the point all together.

    A cynical person might think that they don’t want to "rock the boat" for fear of impacting advertising sales or because the brass goes to the same small town cocktail parties with the very people that need to be held accountable, resulting in a less than arms length relationship, but it is more likely that limited time, space, resources or experience play a role in limiting the effectiveness of our local media coverage.

    If you can’t deliver a simple idea in a sound bite or in five hundred words or less, the idea is deemed to be unworthy of reporting. While our society gets more complex and faster paced, our media coverage continues to get more watered down, which is why activists and concerned residents are forced to find new ways to educate and communicate.

  11. Anonymous said

    I'm REALLY not sure why Deb Kelly seeems to be a Phyllis fan. She seems like an intelligent, informed person so not sure why she would feel that way. I don't know if it's the female thing. I agree women have additional challenges to a life in politics but you should at least have some competencies to be up for the task. You should not get a free pass simply because of your gender. I've heard Phyllis regularly called the Era Banner when in opposition stirring up dirt where it didn't appear as she ran for election during the last term, long before you could "officially" register. That's her style, try to discredit others any way you can, as ruthlessly as you want. Make it up if you have to. You see, you can do that in opposition. When you're actually the leader, you have to make the decisions and provide the direction. Not everyone is capable of that and we're seeing it every day as our Town moves further down the list of desirable places. But, let's not blame the media here…let's point to who's responsible.

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