Chris Selley: Rethinking the shameless election, and how it was covered — damp squib and all

Every morning the Liberals beamed out on-the-record information about Scheer, and that became the story. It shouldn’t work like that.

One of the odder criticisms of the election campaign we all just endured is that it was unprecedently nasty.

Last week, Global News ran a story headlined “Conservatives running ‘one of the dirtiest, nastiest campaigns’ Trudeau alleges,” in which essentially the sole evidence — other than Justin Trudeau saying it over and over again — was Andrew Scheer’s prediction that a re-elected Trudeau government would tax capital gains on the sale of principal residences.

The Conservatives were shameless with this sort of prediction-stated-as-fact. But the Liberals spent much of the election campaign warning that Scheer would go after abortion rights despite him swearing he wouldn’t.

It’s exactly the same technique. When it comes to truth-telling, neither party has any high ground to stand on. And I think the media did a good job at this most basic role: Informing the public when they’re being BSed.

That’s about all the defence the dreary 2019 campaign deserves from anyone, though. And in their post-mortems, many groups need to consider the part they played in that — not least the media.

he “official” English-language debate, organized by a large consortium of media outlets, was an unwatchable mess. That’s partly the Liberal government’s fault for creating the Leaders’ Debates Commission, thus needlessly cementing the idea of “official debates” — and for setting rules that led to an unwieldy minimum of five leaders on stage.

The first week in particular was almost entirely consumed by talk of abortion and same-sex marriage, for no reason except that the Liberals wanted it to be: