Does government advertising affect the way media reports on political events? Maybe no, or not much, if the proportion of government advertising, compared to the total, is minor. However, when the taxpayers’ deep pockets pay for significant air time, we have to wonder.
It’s that old perceived conflict of interest issue. If it seems wrong, it probably is wrong.
On Saturday evening, Global TV, like Corus Radio, part of the Shaw family empire made rich through government regulation, presented spots from BC Hydro and a “Canada starts here” ad promoting the BC Liberals. The second Hydro spot was followed by an ad from TReO, a government agency in charge of ice bombs on the Port Mann bridge.
When the BC election campaign begins in a few weeks, people should recall that Advertising Standards Canada says:
- “Truth in advertising matters”
- “Dressing it up doesn’t make it true.”