There's a strong argument to be made that the Harper Government was defeated in large part to an overwhelming anti-Harper campaign on social media. For those who were on the popular sites in the months leading up to the October 2015 election, they know first hand that the onslaught was relentless, and convincing. There was nowhere for Harper and his gang to hide. He failed miserably in his attempt to control the message.
Methinks the same thing is happening with the Ghomeshi trial. I've yet to meet anyone, laymen and experienced lawyers alike, who believe he will be convicted in a court of law. In years past, the trial and the reporting of the trial by institutional media would be the end of any public dialogue. Any further public discourse would be meaningless water-cooler chat and a few letters-to-the editor.
However, once again, like with the Harper campaign, the defence attorney in this case, is not being allowed to control her message of discrediting and humiliating the prosecution witnesses and having it repeated ad nauseam by the old school media. Thanks to a vibrant dialogue on social media, the prosecution witnesses and their handlers are getting their message out in the court of public opinion and people are listening. The daily users of Facebook, Twitter and the like are offering, and being offered, legitimate interpretations of the trial, versions that run counter to traditional news sources (Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV News, CBC News and so on).
The story is simple. It's hard to believe these witnesses were not punched in the head and/or strangled. It defies logic.
I can't recall this kind of balanced analysis being so prevalent in similar trials over the years. Let's hope the women who have come forward to testify will be empowered by this and not reel from the trauma that one would normally expect them to experience. Society is telling them, via social media at least, that we believe them. Perhaps this will inspire others in the future to face the cameras and the ridicule and not be afraid to tell their story.
Maybe this very public campaign will prevent the worst outcome possible.....a not guilty verdict and a new opportunity for Ghomeshi to return to a good job in broadcasting, reinforcing his belief that he did nothing wrong.