Hockey. It’s Quebec’s game and no one else’s
One third of all things being said about hockey in North America is being said in Québec.
The mighty american media, with 24 teams to cover in as many major media markets only produces 14% of the hockey news, according to Influence communication‘s annual report on the news and media of 2009. But we already knew that because of their obsession for vulgar sports like football and rural anachronisms like baseball, they had little time for hockey.
English-speaking Canada and its 5 teams produce 50% of all information about hockey in North America and that in itself would be quite impressive if not for the astonishing revelation that Québec, by it’s lonely self, produces 35% of all the information about hockey on the continent on any given day.
This is our game? I think what you meant is Ça c’est notre game…
Thirty-five per cent of all hockey news in North America emanates from Québec. Eighty-five per cent of it is about the Canadiens. Six of the top fifteen news stories of the year in Québec were about the Habs.
The amount of media coverage devoted to the Canadien is so out of proportion that Montreal newspapers have reporters covering the sports media, and a growing sub-genre of sports parodists that include Le Devoir’s Jean Dion—the only sports reporter who quotes Montesquieu more often than Bob Gainey—and Le Sportnographe who observe the sports world through the neglected perspective of left-of-center condescending intellectuals.
Hockey gets more coverage than federal or provincial politics, more than twice as much than arts and culture, five times as much as international news, and 16 times more coverage than news about the Rest of Canada. Just the small pityful part of the sports coverage devoted to sports and teams that are not the Les Canadiens is about the same amount of media space as is devoted to all the famines, revolutions and wars of the world beyond North America.
Influence’s numbers also give considerable scientific weight to the the conspiracy theories alleging that the wealthy Montreal families who have owned the team and the Liberals who love them have been using formidable power of Hockey to create media blind spots in which they could hide bad news and scandals.
Late Liberal premier Robert Bourassa, for example, was rumoured to coordinate unpopular measures with General-manager Serge Savard’s trades. Separatist conspiracy theorists speculated that the surprise firing of coach Guy Carbonneau last spring had more to do with neutralizing a bad Liberal news cycle than hockey.
On March 9th 2009, Henri-Paul Rousseau, the former head of la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec—a sort of public investment bank that manages the government’s savings—was testifying about untold millions that were lost during his watch.
According to Influence communication’s numbers, Rousseau was the most mediatized person in Québec that day with over 12% of all the news in the province revolving around him, his alleged mismanagement of public funds and speculations of how much the Liberal government had known about the catastrophe before calling an election.
Then, at 4:30 PM, just when the suppertime newscasts were putting together their lineup, the Canadien’s GM Bob Gainey fired coach Guy Carbonneau, a couple of games before the playoffs. Everyone forgot about Rousseau. « A few minutes later, his media weight suddenly dropped to 4,31%, losing 66% of it’s velocity », reads Influence’s report. That evening, 82% of the news was about the coach’s firing.
« One day, the truth will come out », famously declared Guy Carboneau when asked why he was fired.
In fact, the truth is already out. Such media manupulations and shennannigans have become such an habitual part of politics in Québec that it’s hardly news at all…