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Harper & the Anglo Media


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Wells is an interesting character.

Sometimes he is dead on, like in the post above.

Then he posts the name of every Ministerial Chief of Staff and Director of Communications, with phone numbers, on his blog to prove a point.

Sorta strange those two acts coming from the same person.

Either you aren't going to get into the gutter over this battle or you are. :rolleyes:

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The Toronto Star's Richard Gwyn is left to interview his leftish friends to find out what Harper is up to:
A friend who is something of a lefty took me aback the other day by remarking that she was rather enjoying Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government.

She's no Harper groupie. She most certainly is no conservative. Yet she admitted she could feel a certain tug toward Harper and his government.

Toronto Star

The column is rather comical, and is no better than the opinions one can read on this forum.

Comical? Well, how else to react to Gwyn's following comment:

The key question is whether Harper is paddling against the tide, or with it. My own guess is that he's going with the flow.

My own guess is that English-Canada's, Toronto-centred punditry is scratching its head because its no better informed than anyone else.

---

Paul Wells had a long piece on his weblog about Harper and the media. The piece is pointed, detailed and reasonable. But Wells misses the forest for the trees, or the elephant for the folding Swedish furniture.

Politically astute Canadians (ie. political junkies) now have the Internet and so a new way to get information about what's going on. Sure, we usually rely on frontline journalists for the facts - although even that is changing. Who would have thought, 10 years ago, that Wells would be posting for all to see his long piece linked above?

Moreover, there's alot more Canadians who give a passing glance, if that, to politics.

By his actions, Harper is going over the standard journalists' heads and speaking to Canadians.

What Harper is doing is a good thing because the national media are biased in favour of anyone besides the Conservatives. If Canadian's had listened to the national media we would have ignored for the most-part the colossal waste of taxpayer's money through the sponsorship program, the flawed gun registry and the many other wasteful programs started by the Liberals under both Chretien and Martin. We would have had another majority Liberal government had the national media had their way.

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The Toronto Star's Richard Gwyn is left to interview his leftish friends to find out what Harper is up to:

A friend who is something of a lefty took me aback the other day by remarking that she was rather enjoying Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government.

She's no Harper groupie. She most certainly is no conservative. Yet she admitted she could feel a certain tug toward Harper and his government.

Toronto Star

The column is rather comical, and is no better than the opinions one can read on this forum.

Comical? Well, how else to react to Gwyn's following comment:

The key question is whether Harper is paddling against the tide, or with it. My own guess is that he's going with the flow.

My own guess is that English-Canada's, Toronto-centred punditry is scratching its head because its no better informed than anyone else.

---

Paul Wells had a long piece on his weblog about Harper and the media. The piece is pointed, detailed and reasonable. But Wells misses the forest for the trees, or the elephant for the folding Swedish furniture.

Politically astute Canadians (ie. political junkies) now have the Internet and so a new way to get information about what's going on. Sure, we usually rely on frontline journalists for the facts - although even that is changing. Who would have thought, 10 years ago, that Wells would be posting for all to see his long piece linked above?

Moreover, there's alot more Canadians who give a passing glance, if that, to politics.

By his actions, Harper is going over the standard journalists' heads and speaking to Canadians.

What Harper is doing is a good thing because the national media are biased in favour of anyone besides the Conservatives. If Canadian's had listened to the national media we would have ignored for the most-part the colossal waste of taxpayer's money through the sponsorship program, the flawed gun registry and the many other wasteful programs started by the Liberals under both Chretien and Martin. We would have had another majority Liberal government had the national media had their way.

I'm not so sure the national media is Liberal supporters either. Just look at the hard time Martin got on the way out. I think our media is skewed hard left, (like the CBC) and they are more critical of everything that is run by a right or right of center fiscal governments. Nobody in government could amuse the national media. They are like the nurses & teachers unions, you can never make them happy and the quality of their work will always be poor!

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Greg Weston throws some kind of weird hissy fit in his column and then tries to turn it into an (edited) Internet forum. Columns like this give me the impression that some of these guys just don't get how technology is changing their business.

While Stephen Harper has been doing everything he can to not look too scary these days, some of his faithful followers aren't exactly hiding their spookier side.

They are the merry messengers of Conservative hate-mail, an apparent army of Harper devotees ready to administer their unique brand of Internet venom whenever The Enemy dares to question anything or anyone in the glorious kingdom of our beloved prime minister.

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I'm not so sure the national media is Liberal supporters either. Just look at the hard time Martin got on the way out. I think our media is skewed hard left, (like the CBC) and they are more critical of everything that is run by a right or right of center fiscal governments. Nobody in government could amuse the national media. They are like the nurses & teachers unions, you can never make them happy and the quality of their work will always be poor!

Anyone who thinks the media is skewed "hard left" has probably never read a newpaper or tuned on their televison. Either that, or they have no concept of what "hard left" really means. It's like this: the media hates Harper because he's a control freak who is denying them their cherished and comfortable place in the pecking order. They roasted Martin because he was a loser and they wanted to put some distance between them and him. In the end, it's not about ideology: it's about the ossified corporate media and its resistance to change of any sort.

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I'm not so sure the national media is Liberal supporters either. Just look at the hard time Martin got on the way out. I think our media is skewed hard left, (like the CBC) and they are more critical of everything that is run by a right or right of center fiscal governments. Nobody in government could amuse the national media. They are like the nurses & teachers unions, you can never make them happy and the quality of their work will always be poor!

I think it's more simple than that. It's not so much they don't like conservatives - though they don't, it's that they see Harper as an outsider who threatens their power, their prestige, and their place in the world.

This is the press gallery, top of the heap, well paid, fat, content, chumming around with the politicians and the senior bureacrats, going to lunch with them (expense acounts of course) golfing with them, attending their dinners, and vice versa. They have their sources lined up, people who, like them, are well paid and content, who mostly think the same, act the same, believe the same. They are insiders, like petty bourgeois, a part of the system, and quite comfortable.

Along comes this outsider, this guy from out west. He shakes everything up. The reporters are losing all their best sources, and now have to cultivate new ones. He wants to do things differently, he doesn't think like them, doesn't share their sacred cows, doesn't respect them, and most importantly, I think - HE'S NOT ONE OF THEM. He's this hick religious guy from way out there (waves hand towards West). They're resentful and defensive. They liked things they way they were, liked their privilaged, amiable relationship as insiders, and don't want it changed. They don't like or respect him or his ways or his beliefs.

Too bad. They're not going to win this. Like Trudeau and Pearson before him, he's going to do as he wants. Ultimately, they can watch the press conferences on TV if that pleases them. All that's going to do is suggest to their companies that it's a waste of money paying a hundred grand or more to have them in Ottawa watching things on TV when an editor could do the same from his desk in Toronto or Montreal. They ultimately need a peaceful relationship with the government a lot more than the reverse. They should consider a surrender with terms while they still have the option of terms, before Harper pulls a Pearson and kicks them out completely.

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Do you think the national media gives Conservative prime ministers a tougher time than Liberal ones?

Yes 8978 votes (54 %)

No 5187 votes (31 %)

About the same 2334 votes (14 %)

Total Votes: 16499

CTV
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has accused the national media of being biased against him, do you agree?

Yes (54%) 21365 votes

No (46%) 18502 votes

Total votes: 39867

G & M
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Talking about the media:

Prime minister wins kudos for battle with media

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/st...2f394c2&k=63164

May 25, 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rallying his party's so-called "base" of right-wing activists by waging a high-profile battle with the national media, says a party member who runs a website for social and fiscal small-c conservatives.

"My sense is that conservatives are getting a great deal of satisfaction out of watching Harper put the boots to the press gallery," said Connie Wilkins, vice-president of the Kingston and the Islands riding Association.

"And, when journalists shoot back with articles about his weight, or the kind of car he drives, conservatives just want to see him kick them harder."

Wilkins, who failed in her bid last year to get the party to support an anti-abortion motion, runs a website with her husband called Free Dominion. She said most of her like-minded conservative friends and associates have long believed the so-called MSM - mainstream media - are hostile to their agenda.

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It gets nasty. Kinsella:

A friend asked me for my reaction to the Prime Minister's decision to "go over the heads" of the Parliamentary Press Gallery (PPG).

My reaction? Politically, it works for him in spades - Brian Mulroney pioneered the "going over the heads of the PPG" strategy when he was in Opposition in 1983. It obviously worked for him, then; Jean Chretien did likewise in 1990-1992. It works because average voters don't like the media, almost as much as they dislike politicians.

So far, so good.

Then this:

Picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel is, Mark Twain says, a bad idea. The blogs, Internet, etc. have diluted that axiom somewhat, sure. But at the end of the day, the Conservatives simply have to treat the PPG with more respect, because the ink-stained wretches are now all working, full-time, on highlighting/exaggerating one of the Tories' larger political weaknesses, ie., the angry, sulky, always-looking-for-a-fight Westerners who don't get along with anyone else. That hurts Stephen Harper with the voters, even the ones he is trying to reach "over the heads" of the PPG.

The so-called elite of this country, the federal Liberal Party, Kinsella, the PPG and the rest, they just don't get it.

Would Kinsella ever have said something similar about Quebecers? Or God forbid, Torontonians?

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I think that both Harper and the Media Elites need to move on their positions.

Harper deserves every bit of the respect they have given Liberal PMs, but Harper needs to understand that they simply cannot seek to restrict questions, or who they are asked by.

I think they're both overly stubborn and acting like asses.

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Yesterday when Harper was in Vancouver to announce about the new law against car-racing, guess what the first question was from the press (of course someone from CBC): about the Harper-Gallery feud.

But Harper summed it all up, saying: When the government announces something, the press should not control the message that should be given to the public. We expect the message to reach the public.

The press' job is to report facts! To write or say it as it is. I do not want their spin...or their interpretation of things (whether they are biased or not). Let me be the one to decide.

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Then this:
Picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel is, Mark Twain says, a bad idea. The blogs, Internet, etc. have diluted that axiom somewhat, sure. But at the end of the day, the Conservatives simply have to treat the PPG with more respect, because the ink-stained wretches are now all working, full-time, on highlighting/exaggerating one of the Tories' larger political weaknesses, ie., the angry, sulky, always-looking-for-a-fight Westerners who don't get along with anyone else. That hurts Stephen Harper with the voters, even the ones he is trying to reach "over the heads" of the PPG.

The so-called elite of this country, the federal Liberal Party, Kinsella, the PPG and the rest, they just don't get it.

Would Kinsella ever have said something similar about Quebecers? Or God forbid, Torontonians?

The real point is his suggestion that the press gallery will "now" work full time on highlighting/exaggerating Tory weaknesses. They've been doing it full-time since the Reform Party elected its first MP.

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Interesting to note Trudeau did exactly what Harper wants to do - decide who asks him questions, and that Pearson got so fed up he threw the press right off the hill. Evil Liberals! I also read somewhere that Martin had just such a rule during the last election, and only asked questions of the reporters who sucked up to him and gave him good stories. No complaints from the national media about that.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Why is anyone supporting the idea that it's alright to have the .gov staff choose the questions to be asked? Isn't this just censorship?

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This whole imbroglio is censorship, regardless of what color of government is in power. Both the liberals and the Conservatives have always tried to suppress the press corps...the prime difference is that Harper promised us a more open government, and we are not seeing the type of openess one would expect from him.

Others may defend Herper's decision, but all that is doing is enabling the Feds to devise policy and process without the bothersome public being involved.

With the press, he is clearly showing us that he only wants to work with certain Canadians.

That is not open government.

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Yesterday when Harper was in Vancouver to announce about the new law against car-racing, guess what the first question was from the press (of course someone from CBC): about the Harper-Gallery feud.

But Harper summed it all up, saying: When the government announces something, the press should not control the message that should be given to the public. We expect the message to reach the public.

The press' job is to report facts! To write or say it as it is. I do not want their spin...or their interpretation of things (whether they are biased or not). Let me be the one to decide.

Exactly, they've been spinning and distorting issues for too long. I don't blame Harper for what he's doing, although at some point he's going to have to be a bit more flexible I think.

In a general sense this sort of thing (biased media pretending not to be biased has been going on since the invention of the printing press. The media, who like to describe themselves as 'unbiased observers' providing 'neutral' information are anything but. All opinions, and all persons rendering opinion are biased by past experience, even the question being asked introduces some element of skew.

We as citizens of Canada have, for too long bought into this lie that our media are unbiased observers. The evidence has always been that they have a decidedly liberal, anti-individual, collectivist - the government-knows-best bent. Maybe now, Canadians are thumbing their nose at the press too, witness the recent polling figures.

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Interesting to note Trudeau did exactly what Harper wants to do - decide who asks him questions, and that Pearson got so fed up he threw the press right off the hill. Evil Liberals! I also read somewhere that Martin had just such a rule during the last election, and only asked questions of the reporters who sucked up to him and gave him good stories. No complaints from the national media about that.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Why is anyone supporting the idea that it's alright to have the .gov staff choose the questions to be asked? Isn't this just censorship?

As far as I know the government leader or his press secretary or equivilent chooses who he asks questions of in virtually every nation on earth. I know this is the case in the US and UK.

Freedom of the press does not mean the press gets to decide who among the press you must take questions of. The very idea is silly.

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This whole imbroglio is censorship, regardless of what color of government is in power. Both the liberals and the Conservatives have always tried to suppress the press corps...the prime difference is that Harper promised us a more open government, and we are not seeing the type of openess one would expect from him.

The Liberals didn't need to supress the press gallery as they had a generally amiable and congenial relationship. One could almost call it incestuous for most of Chretien's reign. The big press gallery reporters were given access, interviews, invited to parties, etc., which aided them in their careers. In return, the reporters gave favourable coverage, didn't delve into embarrassing corners, or ask embarrassing questions. On the occasion when a minister didn't want to answer a question, he would be permitted to weasel his way around it without any direct answer and not be challenged. Reporters always understood their access was based on playing the game, on not getting to agressive and not embarrassing the government.

The national press gallery is hardly "the public". They are a collection of extremely well-paid elites with close ties to the former government who have exhibited nothing but hostility towards Harper for many years. He is under no obligation to cooperate with them at all. Open government has nothing to do prostrating oneself before enemies. It means opening up the inner workings of government, particularly its financial workings, to greater scrutiny and oversight.

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The national press gallery is hardly "the public". They are a collection of extremely well-paid elites with close ties to the former government who have exhibited nothing but hostility towards Harper for many years. He is under no obligation to cooperate with them at all. Open government has nothing to do prostrating oneself before enemies. It means opening up the inner workings of government, particularly its financial workings, to greater scrutiny and oversight.
All things considered, I have to agree with you Argus.

This phrase troubles me the most: "The national press gallery is hardly "the public". They are a collection of extremely well-paid elites with close ties to the former government who have exhibited nothing but hostility towards Harper for many years."

I have always been suspicious of claims of a cartel. (Surely a cartel member will cheat at some point... )

Yet, I know that English-Canada's media does not always reflect the English-Canada public I know from my travels and readings. And I have to agree that the English-Canada media has been more harsh on Harper than, say, Martin or Chretien. Would the Anglo (Toronto) PPG so easily dismiss reports of funds diverted to Calgary advertising firms? Imagine if Harper wearing dark sunglasses physically shoved aside a demonstrator.

So, I'm confused. Is English-Canada's media a pro-NDP/Liberal cartel? If so, there would be potential profit for a journalist willing to break the cartel. Is that the Internet?

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