One political satire blog is promising “nine candidate scandals in nine days.” Another has already taken out two Tory hopefuls whose social media manners fell short of expectations for would-be MPs.
With more than a thousand candidates in 338 ridings across the country and an ever-shrinking cadre of professional media, bloggers are breaking news this federal election.
The True North Times, a satirical website styled after The Daily Show in the United States, kicked off its “nine scandals” series on Tuesday with a seven-year-old Facebook comment by Alex Johnstone, the NDP candidate for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas.
It cited a now-deleted comment on another user’s photo album from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp, in which Johnstone makes a comment about the “phallic” fence post at the camp.
“NDP Candidate Alex Johnstone Made a Dick Joke About Auschwitz,” screams the headline. The story goes on to ridicule Johnstone’s past online comments likening capitalism to feudalism.
Johnstone did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for True North Times says this and the others yet to come are stories that probably couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be published in traditional media.
“Some of these stories… you can’t really run on mainstream media,” says the spokesman, who spoke on condition he not be named. “If you look at the story that ran today, I can’t imagine a national news anchor using those words.”
The site has no political affiliation and no particular party is being targeted, he says. Readers can expect to see all represented in the next nine days.
“We’re a political humour publication. We think satire in the Jon Stewart sense,” he tells Yahoo Canada News. “All of these stories have been coming out about candidates and leaders saying things they shouldn’t have. That’s right in our wheelhouse.”
Most political coverage is about party leaders, he says, yet Canadians don’t vote for prime minister. They cast ballots for the candidates in their local riding.
“We think Canadians want to know and should know more about their local candidates,” he says.
Over at Some Random Political Blog Robert Jago thinks Canadians need to know more about Conservative candidates, in particular.
Jago, who writes the blog in his spare time, has so far posted about past comments from a dozen Tory candidates.
He broke the story about the YouTube prankster videos that forced Toronto-Danforth candidate Tim Dutaud from the race. In one, Dutaud makes crank phone calls that make fun of people with disabilities and in another, he fakes an orgasm.
Some Random Political Blog also broke the story that forced Bonavista-Burin-Trinity candidate Blair Dale off the ballot, uncovering Dale’s controversial comments on social media about abortion and racial minorities.
While not partisan — he’s an undecided voter — Jago says the he and a group of volunteers are taking aim at Tories.
“There is a lot this government has done that’s wrong,” he tells Yahoo Canada News. “They’ve taken a dictatorial attitude to First Nations, scapegoated us to their supporters, neglected our concerns, put us as low as possible on their list of priorities.”
He cites the anti-terror Bill C-51, the destruction of government data and the hundreds of millions of government dollars spent on partisan advertising.
“They are the opposite of everything they promised to be,” says Jago, a self-described libertarian who says he worked for the Conservatives for two elections.
On the blog, he says the current slate of Conservatives are “extremists, some are racist, many are sexist.”
Jago says he is not interested in just social media gaffes or scandals. He is looking for statements and behaviours that shed light on important issues of governing.
Some Random Political Blog also promises more scandals to come.