Last month, two Canadian national news outlets came up with entirely different headlines about the same Angus Reid poll:
"Trump brand is mud in Canada," said one.
"Significant number of Canadians agree with Donald Trump for a border ban on Muslims," said the other.
How's that for clarity?
The practitioners of the dark art of Political Correctness set their hair afire over Donald Trump months ago. They have now taken to pounding their heads on their yoga mats. A concrete wall may be next.
No presidential candidate since John Kennedy has aroused the U.S. population like Trump; JFK from the left, Trump on the right, or perhaps an entirely different political sphere that hasn't been clearly labelled yet.
Kennedy had the media on a string and now - some 55 years later - Trump is also playing Big News like a puppeteer.
And he and Justin Trudeau may have something significant in common. More on that shortly.
When the parade of Republican debates started, CNN was charging $5,000 for a 30-second commercial spot. In it's most recent debate in December, the CNN rate card went up to $220,000 for the same ad.
At 24 million viewers, the Fox network debate had the largest viewership in cable TV history for a non sports show.
Trump's Saturday Night Live appearance was rated 57 per cent higher than the show's fall average. It was the show's highest rating since 2012.
SNL, of course, is very much a political news show.
Much of the U.S. media have editorially described Trump as being a fascist, sexist pig, and even a greater threat to civilization than climate change. Further pejoratives are coming, such as anarchist and the antichrist.
But the media, like any other business, needs profits, and there's the rub.
"It's really dangerous journalistically and ethically," former CNN anchor Aaron Brown said. "I worry, as long there's money in a tough economic environment for journalists, that news organizations will take the money and not see the danger."
Said Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland: "There used to be three major networks and they had the power and they dictated to the candidates."
"Suddenly, the power has shifted from the networks to the candidates like Trump."
Previous to the last CNN debate, Trump warned that he wouldn't participate unless CNN donated some of the advertising revenue to veterans' charities. CNN refused but Trump joined the debate anyway.
It may have been the first example during the campaign of Trump not meaning what he says, providing hope for many should he get elected. I, for one, hope he didn't mean it when he said killing reporters wasn't a big deal.
In Canada, Trudeau backed off the promise of 25,000 refugees by the year's end, reducing it to 10,000, a target which was also missed.
He's now equivocating on a promise to bring the fighter jets home from the Middle East and is even talking about adding resources to the mission.
His promise to "restore" the lost door-to-door mail services isn't going to happen.
His first deficit is expected to be roughly double his projection during the campaign.
Trudeau may be setting the Canadian record for the most campaign fibs in the shortest period of time.
Either Trudeau didn't mean what he said or didn't know what he was talking about. Pick the poison.
Trump wants to ban Muslims at the U.S. border, which is probably unconstitutional.
Trudeau's Liberals want to unilaterally legislate a new electoral system, which is seen by many as also unconstitutional.
There you have the unexpected.
Trump and Trudeau: Hawk and dove, but still birds of a feather.
* Las Vegas bookmakers have Marco Rubio as the favourite to win the Republican nomination, at odds of 2.3 to 1. Trump is second at 3.5 to 1.
Surprised me too, at least about Rubio.
— Chuck Poulsen can be reached at email@example.com.