Saturday, January 21, 2006

Battered Media Syndrome

This corner has been watching the courting of the media by the Conservative Party during this campaign, from Stephen's visits to the back of the plane to his TV friendly photo-ops and convenient morning policy announcements.

It appears the honeymoon is over though. The coverage by and large remains very positive, but we don't know what happens behind closed doors. The signs are troubling though. I feel the evidence is mounting though and can no longer be ignored: Canada’s fifth estate (lower case, not the CBC show) is suffering from Battered Media Syndrome.

You say Stephen still loves you Media, that we don’t know him like you do. But then why does he treat you so bad? Do you really think you can change him?

He doesn’t even have time for you anymore! Why yesterday, according to CTV, he had his spokesperson tell you he was too busy to talk to you until after the election. His spokesperson! He couldn’t pick up the phone and call you himself? Maybe send flowers or something?

His spokeswoman Carolyn Stewart Olsen, told reporters the Tory leader no longer has time for formal question-and-answer periods after he brushed aside questions from reporters.

That same CTV story (hat tip Bond Papers) recounts an incident yesterday where a female reporter from Quebec TV network TVA was manhandled when she had the gall to ask a question of the local Conservative candidate, John Carmichael. And it's not the first time they've gotten rough with reporters.

One reporter was grabbed by Conservative security as she tried to ask a question of John Carmichael, the Tory candidate for Toronto's Don Valley West riding, CP reported.
"Don't you hold me, is that clear?" Lina Dib yelled.

Not surprisingly, both these tidbits were buried near the bottom of the story. I wonder if the media is in this too deep to see the irony that the top of the story had Harper accusing the Liberals of evading questions? I fear so.

Even the uber Liberal Toronto Star is suffering from the syndrome. They buried (hat tip Dan Report) this very relevant nugget, which included a Conservative candidate again thumbing his nose at the media:

Tory candidate Carl DeFaria was bundled into an elevator before reporters could question him about Liberal allegations his campaign materials included a leaflet saying "Liberals are planning to legalize crack houses."
It also says the Liberals wish to promote same-sex marriage in kindergarten, lower the age of consent to 12, and ensure that "prostitution will now be considered a legal job description. Do you want you and your child faced with these choices?"
A copy of the leaflet, provided to the Star by the Liberal campaign, also says the Liberals have "taken the Bible out of the school system," and encourages people to "vote against the Liberal plan and vote PC."

This, and so many other examples of kookery by Conservative candidates get buried, yet (undeniably stupid) blog postings by a provincial Liberal executive get front-page treatment for days? Oh media, it will be ok, I promise. We'll get you to a safe place.

Stories have abounded in recent days about Conservative candidates refusing to talk to the media, and Harper himself even ditched the media the other day to hang-out with one of his friends (the reclusive Cheryl Gallant). Did Stephen not think about how that would make the media feel? All the media’s friends are laughing at it behind its back!

My friends, I think it’s time we stage an intervention for the media, and we need to do it quickly. We’ve seen what can happen if Battered Media Syndrome is left unchecked. Just take a look at the White House Press Corps for the past five years, and, well, nearly every major media outlet in the U.S.

I’m not saying it will be easy. The media way not want to leave at first, but together we can help the media break this cycle of abuse.

Good night, and good luck.

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don muntean said...

Here is Mr. Harper’s stumbling block gaffe - here he confirms in very clear words for the voters - a great big truth about his known [unchanged] ideology and resultant platform:

Peter Mansbridge: All right, thank you very much. Just one quick follow-up on the deficit, though, if – are you saying that there are no conditions under which you would allow the country to go into deficit?

Stephen Harper: Well, you know, Peter, you talk about conditions. You know, one could pick, do you have a war or do you have a massive worldwide depression, any normal conditions...

So we hear it - he said: You know, one could pick, do you have a war or do you have a massive worldwide depression

So those are peculiar words for a neo-conservative - one that recently told Canada - he has changed his views [evolved I think they are saying now] that he also stated the following in this interview - is so very telling:

...Obviously there's an international security situation. It's hot in a number of places. It's longer run in other parts of the world.

I support Canada's efforts – same thing with economic development [my note: just see - we're hearing about security and war and then - what's that "economic development" - is he connecting the two?], the fact we know about some of the environmental and economic problems that face most of the world. What our platform does is, whether it's a military or whether it's foreign aid or whether it's disaster relief, our platform has been carefully designed to make sure Canada has increased capabilities in all areas that affect foreign affairs because I think Canada – you know, we do live in a global village. We've seen with 9/11, we've seen with environmental problems, we've seen with other things that no country is an island now. Even the powerful are not islands. Everything can affect us, and we have to be able, in concert with other nations, to participate in the affairs of the globe...

All of that is specious enough - without his saying on the onset:

...You know, one could pick, do you have a war or do you have a massive worldwide depression...

What is he saying here is that his party indeed has hidden plans - to become very involved with our military - in the affairs of the globe and - that's not all:

...Canada will never be an empire or a world power, but we can also be a country that contributes significantly, as I said, to...other events and to other efforts around the world. So I think we're capable also of being a much bigger player in the world than we actually are today....

Please see for yourself:

Just see - those comments are clear evidence of his neo-conservative agenda? What and...other efforts around the world - does Mr. Harper have designs on? Iraq? That's the hot spot - right?

Of course - former MP Deb Grey confirmed on the call-in show following his National interview that the conservatives are going to enter into negotiations with respect to missile defense.

We need to note these words…

So I could spend time tearing apart his comments and writing a nice statement about it - but – I think the words speak for themselves - so please do not ignore those noted comments from Harper - most especially:

...You know, one could pick, do you have a war or do you have a massive worldwide [economic] depression...

He said it and - I think that it means quite obviously that in Harper's mind there is a connection to war - world wide economic depression and - economic development. Haven't we seen this before in history – has it ever really been a good plan? Is it the neo-conservative plan to use a unilateral policing of the world - as a means to economic manipulations and resultant profiteering?

Let’s not find out!

Anonymous said...


You sound like a tinhat paranoid.

Trying to get a message out to the electorate is difficult enough without the media trying to get their pet issues elevated to greater importance by way of questions.

Battered candidate syndrome - a disease manifesting itself by way of media constantly dogging them with pet issue questions

Steve V said...

I have heard Harper mention the fact that we need more transparency in government to avoid scandal and secrecy. Apparently this principle doesn't extend to party as well.

BBS said...

Steve - that would be a very valid point - if we were in government.

As this is the end point of a political campaign, one that has been especially nasty and personal, Harpers reaction is very understandable.

Paul Martin is hurling baseless accusations as fast as he can think them up and many in the media are parroting them as questions to Harper.

What's next, Paul Martin asking Harper if he's stopped beating his wife yet? Paul Martin and the media are looking for a "gotcha" as the campaign draws to a close and Harper is smart enought not to give it to them.

A BCer in Toronto said...

I don't buy that at all BB. Is going quiet smart politics? Absolutely, yes.

But contrast it with his pledge for openess and transparency, and his chastising Martin for not answering questions, and it becomes hypocritical and plays into the hidden agenda line.

As for personal attacks, Stephen is hardly clean as the virgin snow. We know he can take a punch, and throw them too.

don muntean said...

Back on Jan 21, 2006 i posted opinions against Mr. Harper's comments in the electoral debate - I would just like to note that I have since adjusted my perspective and - I strongly feel that a Conservative government - is the best choice for Canada - especially at this time in our world - with the sharp rise of Islamists...