Friday, August 06, 2010

What's Harper Afraid Of?

A bit of a media kerfuffle today, over which questions the elusive Prime Minister was asked during his press conference. On the wider theme, this tweet from David Akin to my friend Jeff Jedras delves into the real story:
We think bigger issue is a PM who will only take 4 questions after nearly a month of 0 questions.

I have to admit, Harper isn't bad in the rare interviews he's done, and he's pretty quick on his feet for the most part. These admissions make it all the more difficult to understand just why Harper seems so terribly afraid of the media and the notion of accountability. I note, Ignatieff is taking uncensored questions daily, and no blood has been shed, if anything it has helped his image.

It is a statement of fact, to say that Harper hasn't taken one unscripted question since he became Prime Minister. There have been online "town halls" and other propaganda events, but everything is screened, just like Harper's press conferences, where people are chosen. Today, another example of a controlling PMO, and a Prime Minister that really looks the paranoid COWARD. All this debate about the long form census, and Canadians STILL don't know what the leader of the country thinks, his rationale, his position articulated. What a complete joke.

Yesterday, Harper "allowed" the media into the Conservative caucus meeting. To say the speech was a thin farce is actually kind, the fact it got any coverage at all maybe more telling. Here's the rub- rather than lament the "bigger issue" of unaccountability, why not show a degree of fortitude and REFUSE to cover propaganda events. The scarcity of access to Harper has had a warped reaction, the media then falls over themselves for the slightest scrap. That speech yesterday deserved ZERO coverage, and journalists should have told the PMO, give us some meat or there is no obligation to cover. Where does it say the media MUST attend propaganda events and give it a voice? If people are really upset about only taking a few questions, travelling around the country and getting nothing but photo ops, why not REFUSE, thanks but no thanks.

In reviewing this week, it would seem the PMO got exactly what they wanted, and once again a certain manipulation has taken place. Journalists are obviously aware of the policy, but their voluntary COMPLIANCE belies any line in the sand or principled resistance. I agree with David, and I would recommend the next time the press gallery is summoned, they demand a more accountable exchange or they take a pass. Wouldn't that be an interesting development, and long overdue. Tired of the leash, stop wagging your tail :)

23 comments:

Chrystal Ocean said...

I suggested this some time ago, in a tweet, back when Harper was in the UK doing his best to undermine progress on the global stage. The tweeted response to my suggestion, from one David Akin, was to the effect that journalists have a responsibility to always show up.

Trying to find that twitter conversation. Shall post the link if I locate it.

Jeff Jedras said...

I don't think Harper is necessarily a coward, or afraid of anything. At least, not based on this evidence. The simple fact of the matter is Harper's media policy is working for him. It gives him more control over the narrative and lowers the risk of an f-up. Rather than rebel, the media play into it. So, for Harper, he has every reason to keep doing what he's doing: it's working for him.

Now, the real question is what are the media afraid of? In the 24hr news cycle, they're so afraid of missing a "scoop" or losing whatever access they have that they'll surrender control to Harper, and thank him for it. They don't realize he does need them more than they need him. If they called him on it, refused to play along, he'd cave. But they won't.

Instead, we get nonesense like today, where they squabble over Harper picking reporters from the list out of order, or some such nonesense. Who cares? After you gave into the list, you already surrendered. To argue over his protocol violation within the system he put in place to control you is silly.

They can't see the forest for the trees.

Steve V said...

" If they called him on it, refused to play along, he'd cave. But they won't."

All it would take is one newscast, wherein it was reported that Harper held a press conference today, but because he refused to answer a reasonable amount of questions, in the interest of true accountability, we've refused to cover it.

I do think it's a bit cowardly to have Mike Duffy host a townhall. Yes it works, but it also shows what a fraud you are on the "accountable government" front.


CO

I've suggested this in the past as well.

Holly Stick said...

How about the reporters agree to ask one specific question, no matter who goes first, and if he refuses to answer, keep asking the same question, or just yell "Answer the question!"

Then report that.

Holly Stick said...

Incidently, I think he is afraid of losing his temper and revealing too much of himself.

Marc Bernard said...

Just wait until "Fox News North" gets here. Then it will be even worse...

Wall Flower Studio said...

I couldn't agree more. Excellent post.
The PMO is treating the media like one would a snotty French waiter would at a Paris cafe.
I can't fathom it, and what's worse to me is that the journalists persist on following him around to every staged photo op, hanging to his every word. I say ignore him. But like a bunch of masochists, it persists.

Because of this, the fundamental issue is a deeper on. When Harper ignores the media and avoid questions, he's also avoiding accountability to all Canadians.
Up 'til now, he's been getting away with it and I'm totally disgusted.

Shiner said...

I don't see how the media can make a stand when the PMO has its own official media outlet now. So Paul Wells, Jane Taber, Kady O' and the rest don't show up? What then? 20 questions from David Akin about BS stories that nobody cares about (except, oddly enough, Kory's buddies on Wellington Street).

Tof KW said...

Shiner just nailed the shape of things to come once Kory-TeeVee kicks in.

BTW - I do get the distinct feeling the various media people are starting to get pissed at the whole situation, and this latest kerfuffle just adds fuel to the flames.

Shiner said...

TofKW, absolutely. The mood of the media matters more than any one issue. Until now they were content to stay out of his way, lest they have the dreaded "liberal" tag attached to them. Now they're just fed up.

ottlib said...

Stephen Harper should know better.

He lost the media in 2004 and that contributed to his election loss that year.

He also only needs to look at the experience of Mr. Dion. He never really had the media on his side and he never caught a break from them as a result.

To make matters worse the media seems to be warming up to Michael Ignatieff. If he manages to bring them on side while Stephen Harper manages to lose them, Stephen Harper is looking for another job.

Fred from BC said...

Jeff Jedras said...

I don't think Harper is necessarily a coward, or afraid of anything. At least, not based on this evidence. The simple fact of the matter is Harper's media policy is working for him. It gives him more control over the narrative and lowers the risk of an f-up. Rather than rebel, the media play into it. So, for Harper, he has every reason to keep doing what he's doing: it's working for him.


Exactly. There is a reason that Stephen Harper has led the longest minority government in Canadian history, and it is not because he's stupid. You call impugn his motives, insult him and call him names like "coward" or "control freak" all you like, but you can't argue with his success. Like him or not, he plays the game very well...

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

Shiner just nailed the shape of things to come once Kory-TeeVee kicks in.


So? So if the new network really does live down to your expectations and become nothing more than a blatant propaganda organ for the Conservative Party (dream on), then the rest of the Canadian news media will logically take the opposing position and begin unrelenting daily attacks on anything and everything Conservative. That should make you happy, shouldn't it? What exactly is your problem with the formation of another TV news outlet? Are you worried that people might be (gasp!) CONVERTED into Conservatives? That they can't think for themselves, and will by hypnotized by the seductive siren song of conservatism?

Sounds to me like you are just afraid that the other side of the story will dutifully reported (ala the National Post).

Gene Rayburn said...

Ha ha I just look at the reader stats for the National Post and that comforts me about Kory-TV.

Just because you put crap in a fancy package doesn't mean people will watch it. Plus, do we really need another channel for Seabridge Baths and Grey Power?

Steve V said...

"Sounds to me like you are just afraid that the other side of the story will dutifully reported"

It already is reported Fred, you guys are hysterical. Yes, yes, we really need a network to talk about climate change deniers, because they represent about 1.6% of all scientific study. That's balance to your crowd, marginal misfits given voice as though relevant. You see a bias, when really the media merely reports the overwhelming opinion, the predominant view. The last thing we need is a vehicle for the sceptic crowd, get some real credibility and then maybe you'll get some traction- you don't because you can't, because it doesn't exist, because most of you are batshit ignorant loons.

If my cable provider puts FoxNewsNorth on any news package, I'm cancelling immediately. You clowns can pay for your own propaganda. And before you START, Bory Tory was paid staff by, CBC, nuff said.

Tof KW said...

Fred, had to crawl out from under your rock and dredge this up again? No, actually I wouldn't like a competing propaganda wing of the Liberal Party on my airwaves any more than Kory-TV. This is the death of (what’s left) of journalism, once all balance is lost and all we have are two conflicting and competing versions of spin, with no real analysis, investigation or inquiry left anymore. This has already occurred in the US thanks to FOXNews and MSNBC; and has been amply detailed by Don Newman on why Canada needs a FOXNews-North like we need a hole in the head.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...

"Sounds to me like you are just afraid that the other side of the story will dutifully reported"

It already is reported Fred, you guys are hysterical. Yes, yes, we really need a network to talk about climate change deniers, because they represent about 1.6% of all scientific study. That's balance to your crowd, marginal misfits given voice as though relevant.


Well, I never mentioned climate change (formerly known as Global Warming), but if you're actually buying that "1.6%" number I've got some nice swampland for sale. If you think that a temperature rise of 0.6C from the 1960's and 0.2C from the 1990's is cause for world-wide hysteria, that's your business. The fact that you seem so adamant about not having any other voices heard but your own, though, is definitely my concern.

And for "climate-change deniers", I'll repeat my position all along: that label now belongs to YOUR SIDE, Steve. As more and more information comes to light and your dire predictions fail to come true, your position is becoming harder and harder to defend, isn't it?

Why don't you encourage the Liberal Party to make this issue a big part of their election platform, if you're so confident about it?

Fred from BC said...

TofKW said...

Fred, had to crawl out from under your rock and dredge this up again?


No, actually YOU did:


Tof KW said...

Shiner just nailed the shape of things to come once Kory-TeeVee kicks in.



No, actually I wouldn't like a competing propaganda wing of the Liberal Party on my airwaves any more than Kory-TV. This is the death of (what’s left) of journalism, once all balance is lost and all we have are two conflicting and competing versions of spin, with no real analysis, investigation or inquiry left anymore. This has already occurred in the US thanks to FOXNews and MSNBC;


Don't forget CNN.

(what...they don't count?)

Steve V said...

And thank you Fred for revealing yourself for the ignorant baffoon we all knew existed.

You actually believe that, what a dim bulb. Sucker.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...

And thank you Fred for revealing yourself for the ignorant baffoon we all knew existed.


What's a "baffoon"? Is that an insult of some sort?


You actually believe that, what a dim bulb. Sucker.


We'll see who is a 'dim bulb' and who is a 'sucker' over the next couple of years, when your dire predictions once again crash up against cold, hard reality. Get ready to create some new excuses...

(and what was it this week...the Great Lakes boiling? WFT? With new slaps to the face delivered to your side on an almost weekly basis, I don't even bother to keep up any more, frankly)

Steve V said...

You do realize short bus, that this is the hottest year on record right?

LOL.

My goodness, the stupid it BURNS.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...

You do realize short bus, that this is the hottest year on record right?



(he says, despite the year being only 2/3rds over...and an El Nino year, no less...)


So, who says that, exactly? NCDC? NOAA? Goddard/NASA? The guys caught falsifying their data, or the ones caught misinterpreting it?

But wait...wasn't 1998 the "hottest year on record"? (well, since they've been keeping records, which is a mere 100 years). And wasn't that followed by 2005 being the new "hottest year on record"? Now it's going to be 2010?

So...what happened 1999-2004 and 2006-2009, then...did the temperatures actually go DOWN, then? But...but...that can't be, Steve. The GHG emissions continued to go UP, not down! WFT??

(oh, and even if I did grant these clowns any credibility, I certainly wouldn't be panicking at a 0.69 degree average temperature rise over A HUNDRED YEARS. Or whatever number they're claiming this week; I can't keep track, it changes so often...)


LOL.

My goodness, the stupid it BURNS.



So I hear. Try some ice on it. ;)

Steve V said...

And, again you show what a colossal retard you really are Fred.

Dude, enjoy your delusions, but I'm embarrassed for you, such a complete and utter fool.

Go look up the word MEAN in the dictionary. Better yet, go pass GRADE NINE science you fucking tool.