Mr. Harper said: "I don't think this story is really of much interest to ordinary people. I think what they are interested in is what is the government doing, and do they agree with it or do not agree with it."
The news media, he continued, "will always have their opinions about government policy," but the public will ultimately make up its own mind.
The greatest asset of a democracy is a free media, that has the ability to critically analyze. Harper seems to have little regard for this essential check on government propaganda. Harper is right to say people are interested in what the government is doing, but he doesn't acknowledge that we need an independent voice to filter through the politically charged rhetoric.
How can the public "make up its own minds" if they aren't provided as many facts, and varying opinions as possible? For all the over-exaggerated talk of a biased media, Canadians have no problem finding ideologically friendly news outlets. All political conversations find references from the media to either support or discredit a viewpoint. Harper endorses a simple view- government will tell you what we are doing and you should except that as fact and form your opinion from there. I don't want to be overly dramatic, but Harper sounds like a complete fascist on dissemination of information.
According to Harper, my income taxes were cut. If that is all the information afforded me, then obviously my opinion would tend to support his initiative. However, the media informs me that, in fact, my income taxes actually went up a half point, compared to the last government. The media broadens my perspective and allows for a more informed opinion. There is an inherent hypocrisy in Harper's view, on the one hand advocating a reduced role of government in people's lives, while at the same time wanting absolute power over what we are told, and in turn what to believe.
Harper's disdain for the media, is actually a disdain for the notion of true freedom. If Canadians can make up their own mind, they are also sophisticated enough to separate honest reporting from biased agendas. Harper's overreactions and fixation on message control should serve as a warning sign to what this government is actually all about. Transparency and accountability are fine slogans, but philosophically Harper offers a diametrically opposed viewpoint. Rather than empowering people, this is an elitist ideology that affords the peons little opportunity for independent thought. The media is our filter, and while not perfect, it is our eyes and ears that blunts politicism. I have heard a lot people dismiss this whole debate as a waste of time, but I see it as a window into Harper's ideology and what I see is truly scary.
Great post on the same subject.