Rivard video a “defining moment” in media history

Author and former media chief for Brian Mulroney, William Fox, examines the role of social media in the current federal election campaign in a Globe and Mail “Fox on News” column entitled “Belly-laugh funny video puts arts cuts on campaign radar.”

His commentary begins by using Michel Rivard’s YouTube video opposing the Harper government’s cuts to arts funding as an example of the powerful impact that social media can have.

Fox writes:

“Mr. Rivard’s video may have been the catalyst for a defining moment in Canadian media history. For the first time social media is playing a central, even pivotal role in a federal election campaign. And it is going so because it is delivering on both the “media” and the “social” potential of new media.”

He adds:

The story was huge in Quebec before the politicians and some of the media covering them even knew there was a story. Any time new media technology emerges, someone will always predict the
instant demise of more traditional media forms. The more thoughtful
observers suggest a reordering of media consumption patterns is a more
likely outcome. Which is exactly what happened in Quebec…When the
mainstream media picked up the story and afforded it prominent play,
the viral campaign spread to a broader public, which resulted in a
fundamental shift in public opinion.”