POLICY, POLITICS & MEDIA: The Intersection of Government Action & Public Opinion


BTH Panel Discussion eBook

Beyond the Headlines hosted a panel discussion on the evening of March 13 to explore the intersection of government action and public opinion.

The game part of politics – who’s wining, who’s losing – is indispensable tool in political life. But I would say there is whole swath of things going on that we don’t really understand right now about what’s happening in our society, whether it’s around economic anxiety, values surrounding immigration and so on. The more detailed data we get, the more we lose the picture of what’s really going on. In a funny way, the media, who used to be able to try and channel some of the fundamental shift in society, that voice is getting lost — Andrew Parkin

As the Federal Election approaches, our diverse panel of academics, policy professionals and industry specialists will examine the ever-evolving role of the media and public interest on the policy process.

Worthy policy pieces do not get read. It has to be compelling… When you get into policy, you have to explain why they’re promoting that policy… We don’t get too many windows in how the leaders will perform, how they would perform and how they would approach decisions especially if they haven’t been prime ministers before. So we have to say – here is what we’re learning about this person during the campaign, or the state of this party, and where the parties are at right now. Because you can’t just pretend that whatever the platform is now will shape the government’s mandate — Adam Radwanski

The discussion will touch on a host of current issues that are salient in the minds of voters; examining how recent government action has influenced public opinion leading up to the 2019 election. 

No matter how hard we try to cover policy on our program, the reality is that there’s only so much of that that is relevant or useful. It may actually be more relevant and useful to focus on how trustworthy these leaders seem. Do they seem like they are forming? Do they seem like they’re in my corner? This isn’t the ‘would I feel fun going to have beer with them?’ This is whether they represent my values and interests or whether I feel if they do. Which may be of more relevant than what their position is on subsidized housing — Steve Paikin


While trust may be eroding, one of the reasons why traditional media still have a little bit of an edge on other sources is that it’s staffed by people who are there for a singular reason, which is that they believe in it. I hope where we get is that the traditional media becomes the certified stamp of ‘you can trust us’. Traditional media has work to do to reclaim that, we’ve strayed from where we need to be — Amanda Lang

We typically do a big election poll and time and time again, when asked what the most important thing was in influencing your vote today, it’s the leader – not the local candidate, not the party stance on the issues…. People want to hear the horse-race, that’s what’s exciting, that’s what you can measure against actual outcome — Sean Simpson

Panelists & Moderator:

  • Amanda Lang, Anchor of BNN Bloomberg & Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
  • Adam Radwanski, Political Feature Writer at The Globe and Mail
  • Sean Simpson, Vice-President of IPSOS
  • Andrew Parkin, Director of the Mowat Centre & Associate Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
  • Moderated by: Steve Paikin, Host of TVO’s The Agenda

Photo Credits: Robert Giannetta

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: