Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Talking about pictures on the radio

I hadn't intended to wade into the HarperPhoto-ShoppedPhotoGate story as I felt what had to be said had been well said elsewhere already, but yesterday afternoon I got a call to discuss the issue on Rob Breakenridge's radio show in Calgary last night.

Turns out the Conservative guest for the segment was blogger Steve Janke. You can listen to the audio of the segment here.

My views, in point form, on this issue are as follows:

* The photo was unacceptable, way beyond good taste, and should never have gone online.
* Clearly, the screening process failed and corrective action should (and has, I understand) been taken.
* It's important to remember this was user-generated content in a contest, and wasn't created y the party.
* The photo was taken down and an apology was made, that's the appropriate response.

That said, I also feel it important to note:

* The feigned moral outrage of people like Janke is hard to see as credible given that his party has spent the last three years and millions of dollars launching coordinated and considered vicious personal attacks against Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. Mocked their speech, their spouses, their citizenship, their patriotism. And a graphic, created by the Conservative Party, showing Dion surrounded by bullet-holes with headshots of possible shooters, IS STILL on the Conservative Web site. Dion is still waiting for an apology for that one. Yes, the photo was wrong, and should never have been posted. It was taken down and we apologized. If only they'd hold themselves to that standard.

Anyway, the segment unfortunately quickly descended into a shouting match as it seemed Janke was more interested in interrupting and shouting over me than allowing each of us to make our points in a respectful and civilized way. I tend to turn-out such partisan pundit slugfests myself, as they offer little educational value, so I wasn't pleased to find myself in one. I tried to stay out of it for the most part, but unfortunately I wasn't completely successful.

A much more civilized debate on the topic was had by BigCityLib and Stephen Taylor over on CBC's Power and Politics last night. Taylor did dial-up the rhetoric a few degrees too many as well, but I think with his measured tone he came off as a more credible advocate for his position than Janke did in our exchange. Great job by MJ Murphy too, the satellite interview thing ain't easy.

UPDATE: Everyone's favourite Conservative MP, Pierre Poilievre, weighs-in (I guess he didn't get the talking-points from the PMO not to comment):

But Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre called on Ignatieff to deliver a direct apology for the shocking photos.

"This disturbing picture appeared on the official Liberal party website and Michael Ignatieff is responsible for the actions of his party," he said. "Mr. Ignatieff should do the honourable thing."

Just for fun, here's Pierre a few weeks ago on accusing MPs of supporting anti-semitism:

Federal Conservatives say Liberal MP Irwin Cotler is pretending to play the victim as he attempts to wring an apology for a flyer they sent to his riding that he says accuses him of being anti-Semitic.

Quoting a conservative columnist, Tory MP Pierre Poilievre told a Commons committee on Tuesday that politicians live to be unjustly accused of something because “the opportunities to play victim are too tempting.”

“I think that puts some of this into its proper context,” Mr. Poilievre said.

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Joanne (True Blue) said...

Could you please give instructions as to how to arrive at the 'bullet hole' pic of Dion from the actual Conservative website?

I have tried various ways to access it from different tabs and am having no luck. Thanks.

Old School Liberal said...

Haven't the Conservatives been whining for months about how the opposition is chasing "scandals" instead of policies that Canadians care about?

Gayle said...

You did fine Jeff. I always think when someone talks over someone like Steve did, it is only because he is afraid of what you are going to say so he wants to drown you out.

Many conservatives seem to love that kind of thing.

I prefer the more intelligent, reasoned approach as per your example.

Gayle said...

Meant to also say, Janke's defence of the bullet-hole photo was pretty bad.

Who cares what the intent was, it is obvious the holes look like bullet holes, as many libloggers were saying as soon as that photo was put on the site.

Saying they were meant to be "paper holes" is as weak as saying the Harper photo was "only a joke".

Jeff said...

The actual Conservative web site, Joanne? The link I provided is to the actual Conservative Web site. If you want a more roundabout path, I'm sure you can find one if you try hard enough. I wish you luck.

Old school, yes, but that only applies to the opposition.

Thanks Gayle.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The actual Conservative web site, Joanne? The link I provided is to the actual Conservative Web site.

I guess I'm wondering how someone might arrive there if they didn't have a direct link. I've tried images, etc. Still can't find it other than your link.

Oh and BTW, I trust you've seen Stephen Taylor's iStockphoto post?

lyrical said...

LOL, I searched 'Stephane Dion' and 'bullet' and found this clip from the Calgary Stampede!

Too bad Dion didn't go to Copenhagen. He could've rallied the troops over there.

Barcs said...

I think you did a good job framing the issue Jeff.

But I do have a a question. Why is there a difference between supporter and party created content? If someone created an email and sent it around I think that is valid. But this was posted to the official liberal website. Was it not? Someone had to clear the photo for that to happen... didn't they?

Gayle: "Who cares what the intent was" You are right... but are you right for the liberals arguing against the tories paper holes"... or the tories arguing against the liberals "lack of maturity", "lack of respect due the office of PM" in their pictures?

Gayle said...

"Oh and BTW, I trust you've seen Stephen Taylor's iStockphoto post?"

You mean the one where a number of people have pointed out the stock image that was used is bullet holes?

By the way Jeff, Janke has totally lost it now. He says the core message is that there are people in the LPC who think it is OK to have conservatives murdered.

Talk about losing credibility with massive paranoid theories.

bocanut said...

Gayle said:
Talk about losing credibility with massive paranoid theories.

11:01 AM, December 17, 2009"

Like claiming your Mother was no longer a Conservative because she believed that Harper was to blame for your Father's cancer?
Those kind of "massive paranoid theories"?

Gayle said...

Barcs - not too sure what you are getting at.

The point I am making is that one offensive photo was taken down and an apology issued.

The other was not.

They are both wrong, but only one party acknowledged that.

Gayle said...

Oh look, now Boconuts is lying on liblogs too.

lyrical said...

Didn't one of the broadcasters produce a TV ad for this? Or maybe it was a different ad. At any rate, I seem to remember hearing gunshot sounds when the holes popped on screen.

Wasn't it on the website that's since been taken down? (search dion+"tax trick").