Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"I Would Have To Have Had Rocks In My Head"

Tom Zytaruk, in response to a question of possible doctoring of the Harper tape. If you want to see the interview, you can do so here. Zytaruk oozes sincerity, and stands by the tape. A few quotes:

"We talked for a little while. You here a break there, where I say thank-you. I thought the interview was over. Now, I can't remember if I turned the tape recorder on or off at that moment, but Mr. Harper had been stepping away and then spun around, on his heels, as a second thought kind of thing, too clarify something, to add. Now, anybody who's a reporter knows that this happens about ten thousand times a day, you think an interview is over, but you click it back on. But, we're talking about miliseconds...

"What I have on my tape, is the interview in it's entirety. I specifically wanted to ask Mr. Harper about this insurance policy. What I put out included all the ands/or, because I wanted it to be spot on accurate"


"So, you're saying if there were any edits, they weren't done by you"


Laughs, "No. I would have to have had rocks in my head, and I think all of Canada would agree"

Well, not all of Canada, but those of us off the Conservative koolaid. It's just nonsensical to think that this man would alter Harper's words, or play games, given the potential consequence. Common sense is all you require to pass judgement on Zytaruk "doctoring". I would add, if the Conservatives truly believed this to be the case, does anyone doubt Zytaruk's ass wouldn't be knee deep in court actions? Hello.

Earlier today, I threw out my own theory that this latest salvo is directly related to the libel case against the Liberals. On the CBC, this was indirectly confirmed as "part of the court action against the Liberals". The fact that the Conservative lawyers felt it necessary to spend large sums of money on expert opinion, to discredit the authenicity of the tape, speaks to a conclusion that this tape serves as the centerpiece of the Liberal libel defence. If the Conservatives can successfully prevent the Liberals from introducing the tape, they will handicap their case tremendously. This move today tells us that for Harper to be victorious, that tape cannot be allowed a clear airing, it must be dubious, or better yet inadmissable.

To resurrect a dead issue speaks VOLUMES about just how damaging this tape is too Harper. What actually happened today, the Conservatives confirmed that if this tape stands as is, it is pure poison. We now have two options, it is no longer a case of the Conservatives fluffing off what Harper said. Either the tape is "doctored" and it means nothing, or it is genuine and by extension, a very serious matter. The Conservatives own actions, the lengths they have gone, tell us all we need to know about the nature of this interview. Forget the Liberals, forget the RCMP, forget everything, the Conservatives are elevating this tape, by showing such determination in trying to discredit it.

Kady O'Malley made an astute observation on today's precedings, the Conservatives "oversold the evidence". Once it all sinks in, all the questions still remain. Taken further, giving the Harper team credit, they must have considered the political risk of re-introduction, another indication that there were concerns beyond short term bad press. Today's thesis, that will take months to fully flower, the Conservatives have concluded that they MUST make this tape disappear, or so thoroughly trash it, it becomes a he said/he said proposition.


burlivespipe said...

And once this story hit the fan, the CON-bots were out in full force with their incredibly trained 'ignorance-is-bliss' talking points (well, except your poignant to-the-point questions);^)
Why resurrect this, that had almost faded to the back lot? As you note, likely because a win in court is a death knell in their eyes to Dion. Also, the tape is likely going to be part of any election campaign ad -- just as Ignatieff's comments were used in the 'Dion is not a leader' campaign. CONs who can't take a punch. Amazing.
But if that's the case and i'm in the Liberal war room, i suggest just trotting out Dona Cadman's quotes. That probably hits and hurts almost as much.
Or let's recap the Grewal case, which the CONs have successfully muddied but when you go back to the transcripts, the 'doctoring' quickly slunk away as the issue when it was pointed out that the only people to have the tape were the CONs...

Mark Francis said...

The problem is that this is battle of experts and our sense of facts means little. Stephen Taylor has the actual docs posted in their entirety, including the analysis from both experts. They both say that the recordings are tampered with.

If the journalist did doctor the tape, he is barely treading water at this point, and will say what he has to to try to preserve his integrity. I don't think we can take much value from his demeanor.

Now, experts form opinions, and present them. That doesn't mean that there aren't other explanations that other experts would find more likely.

Typically in a circumstance like this, the proper response is with more and better experts.

I have trouble seeing this preventing the Liberals using the tape as a defense. A Fair Comment defense can (but not always) survive relying on false evidence if the defendant in question didn't know the tape was doctored, and if the matter was of sufficient public interest. Besides, the Liberals are being sued over republishing what they asked in Question Period, for Gods' sake.

Seems to be that Harper should be suing Zytaruk, not the Liberal Party.

Curious, that.

Anonymous said...

How's this for a theory . . .

Perhaps internal Conservative polling (or polls for which voters are paying on behalf of the government, that is) show that the conservatives are on verge of losing their base support. You know, the 25 - 30% who would normally vote for them no matter what.

What better way to crank them up and reel them back in that with wild tales of the "libranos" somehow doctoring tapes (that they apparently didn't create or provide, but don't let a few basic facts stand in the way of a dizzying spin) to make them look bad.

They need to change the channel badly, so maybe this looked as good as any tactic to do so. Anything to turn the dial back to the evil, all-encompassing, liberal evil empire, even if it strains all credibility to anything more than a cursory reading.

I wonder if they had to pay extra to turn phrases like, "it sounds like there is a voice-over in the beginning, and the tape recorder might have been turned on and off a few times" into "the tape has been doctored in such a way that it in no way represents the truth of what was said" (or whatever damning statement they managed to squirm into.

catherine said...

"Seems to be that Harper should be suing Zytaruk, not the Liberal Party.

Curious, that."

Yes, very curious. I read through some of the legal documentation filed by Harper. It is on Steve Taylor's website. It really tries to undermine Zytaruk's credibility, sometimes going to great extremes over minor points. And, yet .... no lawsuit against Zytaruk.

Gayle said...

Surely the liberals can third party Zytaruk and the publisher if it turns out the tape really was doctored. (They can add them to the lawsuit and then allege any damages awarded should be paid by them).

Not that I am suggesting they do that, but Zytaruk is going to have to produce the original tape for analysis - the publisher should be on this now.

I feel sorry for the guy. If he did not edit the tape then he is being slandered, and it is just him against the might of the CPC and their "experts".

catherine said...

As to theories of why Harper would do this, look at the CPC website/press release.

Looks to me like they really believe the best defense is a strong offense, where strong does not mean credible. It means out there in the style of previous Harper CPC attack ads.

I think they went through their list, Bernier (busybody gossip), Soudas (Greek-insulter), prisoner handling (Taliban lover), Naftagate (?) ... looking for a scandal they had to deal with which they could try to sling back at Dion and came up with Cadman (smearing the PM using doctored evidence).