In a column that should be widely read and cited, Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin this morning acknowledges that the NDP was ahead of the pack on many issues, and positions it took which were once ridiculed are now conventional wisdom ... even prophetic ... but the reason the party gets no credit is the fact that there are no prominent media organizations who support it:
Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail, April 2, 2009
With today's economic tremors, government activism is the big deal everywhere. The New Democrats couldn't ask for a better philosophical turn.
And yet, they're stagnant. In the low teens in the polls, they have actually lost ground since last fall. It's hard to figure. They were onto the economic file early, issuing dire warnings and calls for action. And it turns out they were on the mark a good deal of the time, occasionally even prophetic.
But there are no apparent dividends in Dippersville. No groundswell of support. Few praiseworthy headlines. No heightened profile in a media wedded to the two main parties. Without a media proprietor of any size in Canada hailing from the left, there is no one to sing the NDP's song.
So even with capitalism on its derrière, even with the Liberals opening up space by moving more to the centre, the left gets no traction. Jack Layton can stand there all day and pound the blue-collar bible and get only minor mention in the next day's press.
To change the voting culture, you have to change the media culture. Without a bigger voice in the fourth estate, the left's chances of making a breakthrough are minimal. The Reform/Alliance party eventually hit pay dirt, becoming the dominant force on the conservative side, because big media promoted its religion.
Anyway, if you hadn't seen the column, it's worth checking out in its entirety.