Sunday, November 13, 2005

And the media covers it in hopes of...what exactly? 

Yahoo trumpets (courtesy of AFP):

A 10-year-old Canadian boy has called for a boycott of US fast food chain McDonald's in hopes of hastening an end to the deep rift over lumber trade between Canada and the United States.
Well if that doesn't do it then I can't imagine what will. I'm sure the timber and tariff industries down in Bush country are just quaking in their arrogant cowboy boots at the thought. Of course a ten year old boy could never come up with such a wildly ridiculous idea all by himself, no matter what the article's tease of a lead-in would suggest:

...Luke McAndless of Vancouver, who along with a 13-year old friend -- and apparently some adults in the background -- launched his proposed one-day boycott on an internet website...
No, an idea like this is beyond the reach of a single youngster. It takes a committee of adults pushing the littlest kid of the bunch out into the spotlight to front for them. Well done, anonymous grownups! Let's take a closer look at the poke-in-the-eye they think is going to bring the Tariff-Master-In-Chief to his senses:

A McDonald's spokesman regretted the boy's choice, emphasizing that Canada's McDonald's branches are mostly owned and managed by local people.
Excellent. The only silver lining is that I can't imagine the Canadian McDonald's franchisees will actually suffer too much financial hardship when young Luke and his friends skip their shake and fries for a day.

So what does it all boil down to? These anonymous adults apparently can't even launch their boycott -- a boycott that I would describe as feeble and self-destructive at best -- without blatantly exploiting a 10 year old boy to garner the publicity they crave. And given the opportunity to cover a boycott that serves almost no purpose except to generate bad press for the Bush administration, what does the media do? Provide the press of course.

But the media should be aware of one thing. If they'd just presented me the facts of the dispute underlying this little charade of a story, I might actually have been inclined to agree with the Canadians' point -- can't say for sure without a little research, but it seems reasonable and conceivable. Way to go guys! Nice job obscuring the message so that now it's all just about a 10 year old boy.

As entertaining as it is to complain about media bias, in reality the side they choose to shill for often reaps more harm than help.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: