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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Burlington Liberals are a sly lot, planting fake news in local newspaper

Unable to earn the endorsement of a Burlington, Ontario newspaper, Burlington Post, the Liberal candidate for the riding, apparently, bought a fake front page of the newspaper to trick voters—what other reason could they have—into believing the Liberals were getting positive press in the local paper.

I think it’s was a cheap trick with the finger prints of the old Paul Martin 2006 campaign team—you know, the team that helped engineer Martin’s loss to Stephen Harper.

The fake front page has the regular Burlington Post masthead and below that the date, number of pages, price per copy, etc. It really does look like a true front page.

Only the small capital letters spelling out “ADVERTORIAL” below the masthead alerts the reader to this crafty form of misdirection.

Two faux articles occupy the page, both with large bold headlines and a lot of hyperbole and campaign nonsense, complete with a picture, apparently, taken at a Kathleen Wynne photo op with the local candidate. Also, in large bold type is the direction to, “Turn the page for more information.” When you turn the page, you’re faced with a full-page ad for the candidate in the traditional format.

Imagine how desperate these Grits are that they have to purchase fake campaign news from the local paper. The lead article starts with these breathless words, “Burlington residents are flocking to support Liberate candidate….” I won’t bore you with the rest, it’s just campaign fluff.

This kind of silliness may not be illegal, but it must be unethical, and I think the Burlington Post and Metroland Media Group’s editorial integrity is diminished by selling and placing this advertorial in such a prominent and deceptive manner.

And the really pathetic part of this pitiful political ploy?

On June 3, the Burlington Post, in a real editorial endorsed the “Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and, by extension, the incumbents representing Burlington’s two provincial ridings.

And Tim didn’t pay a cent for it.

10 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. If it's not illegal,it should be. I wonder what Elections Canada would have to say about this if anyone brought it to their attention.

    Endorsement by a Newspaper or TV /Radio network can be a powerful tool in convincing the fence sitters on which Party to vote for,so I don't see this as just "silliness". It's an outright lie,and the small print beneath the headline doesn't negate that fact.

    Run this by EC,Russ,and see what they say.

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    1. Not EC, dmorris, it would have to be Elections Ontario. Like I said, ad is legal so won't waste my time.

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  2. Russ,

    You might want to take a look at the following article, confirming that the central PC campaign bought the cover ("a wrap as it is known") of Metro to proclaim that Tim Hudak won the debate: see https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/ontario-progressive-conservatives-buy-newspaper-cover-claiming-win-185626892.html.

    Similarly, Andrea Horwath bought the cover of the Toronto Sun and both Hudak and Horwath followed in the footsteps of Christy Clark, who did this in BC, with a campaign team run jointly by Liberals (Guy, Miller) and Conservatives (Boessenkool, Kouvalis).

    As it turns out, Tim probably could have got that cover for free having done well in the debate but it was bought long before the debate had even taken place.

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    1. Yes, Karl, nothing wrong with newspaper advertising. But when Hudak bought the cover he used it for a straightforward campaign ad. The Burlington Liberals used theirs to make up fake news stories in a phoney "advertorial." Not an apples to apples comparison.

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    2. I don't accept that in its entirety, Russ.

      The colour scheme and the layout for the Tim Hudak wrap ad is just like the daily 24 Hours cover, to which its readers are acclimated. The Andrea Horwath one is even more like a daily Metro cover.

      Neither use the logos and colours that are standard for their respective parties' advertising. Both strive to make it look like a news feature or, at a minimum, an editorial position of the paper rather than a Party Ad. The disclaimers are written in very small text explaining that they are paid advertising.

      To be fair, after taking a second look, the Tim Hudak one is less egregious than the Horwath one, as it uses only the layout and colour scheme of 24 Hours where Horwath's actually uses the "Metro" logo. Also, there is more campaihn bumph on the 24 Hours one, so any reasonable person would eventually realize that it is a PC Party Ad. But at first glance, it is clearly meant to replicate a daily cover and lede.

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    3. The two wraps and the extent to which Andrea Horwath's pushes the envelope further than Tim Hudak's are better seen at the following web address, which has both in their entirety, side-by-side. http://www.torontolife.com/informer/toronto-politics/2014/06/04/two-free-dailies-sell-covers-two-different-political-parties-day/

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  3. Oops. That was the free daily 24 Hours rather than its competitor Metro.

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  4. eminds me of the millions wasted by Harper on his Economic Action Plan advertising. These are are deceptive dirty practices. In Harper's case it is worse because of the waste if taxpayers money,

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    1. Not so fast Anon. what about the wasted money the Liberals spent out of the starting gate in signage for EVERY school in the province @ $200 a pop that said essentially nothing at all. Or that the McWynnety Liberals have spent our money on THEIR governent's ads. If you don't like it for the feds, you can't like it for the provincial government either unless you're in to double standards.

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    2. Sorry. I do not follow. How does Ontario Liberal spending diminish the waste of money by Harper. I do not accept your silly troll nonsense.

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