Tension between academics, politicians, and the media a major theme at Congress

June 3, 2014

Academics attending the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences continually returned to a common theme: the waning influence of intellectuals in Canadian society. In a Toronto Star article, Susan Delacourt recites a litany of examples of scholars who decried an anti-intellectual streak in politics in particular. “There were repeated, throwaway shots from speakers this year about Toronto mayor Rob Ford, for instance, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s troubles with Elections Canada, the Supreme Court and the Senate,” she writes. But Delacourt also noted tension between academics and the media. Delacourt notes that many professors have charged the media with “dumbing down” political discourse and enabling politicians’ efforts to do the same. She also observes that reporters, too, have been growing frustrated with “the academic class.” Delacourt suggests that next year’s Congress, to be held in Ottawa, may offer the venue for a truce between academic experts, politicians, and the media. Toronto Star