Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fair and Balanced

Diefenbaker's ghost lives on.

For what it's worth, reporters actually laughed at Paul Martin a year ago when he was introducing Belinda Stronach to the media. They'll eat anyone alive, regardless of political stripe.


  • There are over 200 comments posted on this story a few hours after it was published. The Antional News ediitors are letting this one run. This is huge. The press will get him for this.

    By Blogger S.K., at 4:04 a.m.  

  • Hell yeah, fuck the liberal media. I'm sick of reading biased news stories. Take the message straight to Canadians!

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 7:38 a.m.  

  • I think the media is biased... to politicians in general. PM Harper must realize that this type of attitude is far from comprehension of Canadians.

    Either "stand up for Canada" by taking the shots from reporters or "stand down", which you have chosen to do.

    By Blogger Vincent Riccio, at 8:06 a.m.  

  • The few times the media actually criticize the Liberals or the NDP is laughable. It has to be so blatantly partisan that they have no choice (Shawinigate, HRDC, Galiano as ambassador appointment…) the Belinda vs. Emerson is one of the few that can be compared directly. The contrast in the way the press reported either was black and white. The press actually laugh at Martin when he tried to justify the floor crossing yet the criticism was mainly mute in the printed press. Harper’s attempt to control the media has been done by many a Prime Minister – Trudeau, St Laurent and yes a former Conservative Diefenbaker. Paul Well has a decent post on this. I remember Chretien’s frustration with Conrad Black and wanting to limit the percentage of media he could control. Where was the public outrage there? Each PM had his issues with this – Anyone that tries to convince we the media currently doesn’t lean (fall over) to the left is blatantly biased (partisan). Which is fine and understandable, that said though – get used to it we have a new and accountable government. Long live the Harper and Conservative government.

    By Blogger OwenInOttawa, at 9:29 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger OwenInOttawa, at 9:52 a.m.  

  • owenin ottawa
    I love it.
    " Anyone that tries to convince we the media currently doesn’t lean (fall over) to the left is blatantly biased (partisan). "
    So anyone who tries to convince you the press is not partisan is partisan so therefore you win.
    So, So open minded.
    Truth is the press is biased, so biased to the right that it is pathetic.
    The truth is that over the last 200 years every economic idea that Harper has has been shown to be full of crap yet the press still takes him seriously. How is that for bias.

    By Blogger Aristo, at 10:03 a.m.  

  • Yeah, the press laughed at PMPM. But the headline wasn't "WE LAUGH AT YOU".

    Substantively, I'm confused by the CP wire piece. It says:

    "'Unfortunately, the press gallery has taken the view they are going to be the opposition to the government,' Mr. Harper told London's A-Channel.

    'They don't ask questions at my press conferences now.

    'We'll just get the message out on the road. There's lots of media in the country who do want to ask me questions and hear what the government is doing.'

    The comments were sparked by an incident Tuesday when two dozen Ottawa reporters walked out on a Harper event when he refused to take their questions."

    Someone is daft. Is it Harper, for complaining the press gallery won't ask him questions while refusing to answer them? Or is it the press gallery, reporting that he refuses to answer questions when 20 of them stormed off and refused to participate?

    The truth lies in the middle. Harper won't answer questions from reporters not given the go-ahead to ask a question by his press aide. This is in keeping with Prime Ministerial practice since St. Laurent, PMPM included (or so the quotes on Wells/Coyne's blogs lead me to believe). Nonetheless, the national press gallery is protesting, led by Yves Malo of TVA/"screw the kids with cancer" fame.

    That latter facet isn't reported, however, and its omission in my view is dishonest.

    I think Harper is being dumb politically by antagonizing the bunch, but the press are hardly virtuous.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:16 a.m.  

  • As polls seem to be indicating (as much as I hate polls - as opposed to the Poles, whom I generally like), the nation in general doesn't care about the media's problems. Much as you may disagree with what Harper is doing, its nothing different than Liberals like... say... Trudeau.

    About 4 years ago, when Chretien was still emporer.. er.. i mean prime minister, I challenged one of my big-L Liberal diehard friends to watch the CBC and take note of each time the media mentioned Paul Martin's name, especially in stories that didn't relate to him.

    My friend returned after a week and admitted that the CBC was giving him amazingly good PR.

    The media always has a bias one way or another. If you read the Toronto Star I doubt you'll come away saying 'that's a really nicely balanced newspaper'. Similar feelings on the Toronto Sun. Even the National Post and the Globe and Mail have a bias towards or against certain policies.

    To people who say that the media coverage of Harper is not biased I dare you to explain why they were running articles criticizing what he drinks (pop - heaven forbid), that he is getting fat (spare tire - it happens) and his clothing (what does that really matter?).

    By Blogger Eric, at 10:24 a.m.  

  • A few days ago Paul Wells posted exact parallels to Pearson and Trudeau on scrums and lists. Today he reposted a speech he gave to civil servants in 2003:

    We have decided — and by "we," I mean every large news organization in Canada without exception — that nobody in Canada needs information about how we are governed any more. In a shockingly short time, we have shrunk the moral distance between the Sunday political shows and the weeknight reality shows to zero. Both shows are about who gets voted off the island.

    We have become a ridiculous bunch. For the past five years it was hard to find 200 words, in even the Globe and Mail, on the contents or ramifications of any bill before the Commons. In fact, for months at a time, the people whose job it is to cover Parliament would claim there was nothing going on in Parliament. Oddly enough, when a session was suspended or prorogued, or Chrétien dropped the writ for an election, we would read long, long lists of important-sounding legislation that would now never be passed. How come we never heard about a bill until it died on the order paper? One of life's little mysteries.

    I have taken you through this grim landscape to demonstrate something you probably have already noticed: the stuff you devote your lives to — quality, well-designed delivery of services to Canadian citizens — has vanished from the Press Gallery’s priority list.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 a.m.  

  • Here's a blogger having some fun with Kennedy's regional tie-ins:

    Last week, Mr. Kennedy and his wife were "looking at schools" as they prepared to move to Quebec for "part" of the leadership race.

    This week, Mr. Kennedy announces he will likely run for a seat in western Canada in the next federal election.

    Next week, he will announce that after the leadership race but before the election, he will set up a small business in Nunavut.

    Two weeks from now, he will announce that for the other part of the leadership race, his cousin Mort will attend Memorial University, but drop out 6 credits shy of a degree.

    Maybe its the Rolling Rock talking, but Chuckercanuck thinks that Mr. Kennedy's puff-pastry annoucements have sunk his battleship.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:08 a.m.  

  • Anyone who claims that there is a rampant liberal/Liberal media bias is deliberately ignoring (1) the entire Sun Media chain, the National Post, Canwest Global, the Calgary Herald, etc. etc. etc., (2) the attack-dog coverage that the Liberals got in the last election, the fawning and softball approach the Conservatives got and the almost ignoring that the NDP got, and (3) the fact that all of the scandals that broke the back of the Big Red Machine orginated in the so-called Liberal friendly "MSM", such as Adscam and Shawinigate and the income trust "scandal"... all first researched and reported in the "MSM" at a time no one knew about them and would not have known but for the reporters.

    With friends like that, the Liberals sure don't need any enemies.

    Do media writers have biases? Of course. But it's more bias against the government of whatever stripe than against conservatives (which explains why they gave Martin good PR before he was in government and were attack dogs after).


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 11:38 a.m.  

  • My favourite example of media cough cough balance occurred during the last election when the tories couldn't be caught dead musing about a majority without some PPG Jack-in-the-box waiting to pop his head out screaming "Gotcha!"

    The media will occasionally gore the Liberal oxe but please don't try to retail the notion there's balance.

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 12:08 p.m.  

  • Sorry but no. For every reporter that throws fastballs at Liberals there are 10 that throw fastballs at Conservatives.

    This is why there are hundreds of websites exposing liberal media bias and only a handful exposing conservative media bias.

    Polls show the public agrees that the media is biased.

    I think this is going to benefit Stephen Harper, he's going to take his message to the people, the way it should be. I don't need my news filtered through opinions of "journalists".

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 12:10 p.m.  

  • I am reminded of something that Stephen Colbert said a few months ago: "Reality has a Liberal Bias". Looks like Harper is doing everything he can to run from reality.

    By Blogger CokeBear, at 12:24 p.m.  

  • You know, I think this is a good message for the media in general. Not whether they are Liberal bias or Tory bias... but that they have to stop the over dramatification and sensationalization of news.

    The press reminds me of my labs, swamping me when I come home, waiting for their cookies.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 12:31 p.m.  

  • It obviously depends on the source. The Star is Liberal, the Post is Tory.

    Last election, nearly every newspaper in Canada endorsed the Conservatives and it's fairly clear the media were gunning for Martin.

    If the media is anti-Harper now, it's not because he's Conservative. It's because he's trying to micro-manage every aspect of media relations and limit their access. You don't think if a Liberal PM did the same things (fair or not), that they'd be pissed?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:33 p.m.  

  • I enjoy this site very much but the answer is NO! It not the same - martin had a wack at the cat and failed miserable. I agree to disagree

    By Blogger OwenInOttawa, at 12:42 p.m.  

  • Honestly, you believe that? The Post is pro Liberal! There was a time before the Aspers bought it that it was more right wing but that was years ago. The Post also owns the Ottawa Citizen. A few years ago they fired there top editor for running a 2 page editorial suggestion Chretien should resign. If anything the Post was anti-Martin - but definately pro-liberal. They (the Post) have been a little more balance since Martin was elected but we can see them shifting back now. I think the only newspaper chain in the country that MAY be pro conservative is the Sun chain and that is arguable.

    By Blogger OwenInOttawa, at 12:58 p.m.  

  • Wells is right. The bias is against facts and for gotcha and racehorse journalism.

    The press gallery is free to boycott interviews run exactly the same way other PM's have run them. They are free to poor gasoline on themselves for not scrumming cabinet meetings (as other PM's did). The CP and newspapers are free to do run the fill in stories from the press gallery and to ignore any other story.

    The sad part is that we're not losing much as a result.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 p.m.  

  • Consider what the political press is writing about: All Harper, All the time. Nothing about any of the Liberal leadership candidates. It's as if Harper had the press corps on puppet strings. If Harper were to announce a week before the Liberal leadership convention that he's going to impose a dress code on the Ottawa press, no one in Canada would ever find out who the new leader of the Liberal party is, the press would be too busy writing about themselves.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 1:48 p.m.  

  • The media is hard on all politicians of all stripes as they should be. If Harper cannot handle being put on the spot, he should step down. He needs to learn this is democracy and he isn't the only one who can control the agenda. Others not only have the right, but the duty to question his agenda.

    At least Paul Martin understood this and as annoying as he found the press gallery he still continued to take questions from them.

    By Blogger Monkey Loves to Fight, at 3:46 p.m.  

  • If the NPG only wants to attend press conferences run by the NPG that is their business. They would have missed press conferences by Pearson, Trudeau and I possibly Chretien, but that's their call.

    If you want to piss in the wind just keep on saying that Harper refused to answer questions they never showed up to ask. And when he does press conferences for folks that don't boycott be sure to call that going over the heads of our democratically empowered NPG.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:23 p.m.  

  • The reason the media is seen as anti-conservative is because the conservatives are the government. You can believe if the NDP was in power the media would be after them, too. Ask Glen Clark or Bob Rae. They will tell you a few stories.

    By Blogger Greg, at 5:49 p.m.  

  • Paul Martin was running from Adcscam from day 1 and in campaign mode every day he was in office.

    In Dec. 2005 the media finally caught up with the public and started asking hard questions at which point he joined every previous PM and took back control of the press conferences.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:52 p.m.  

  • CG: The big irony is that (see Wells on this) Liberal PMs did *exactly the same thing as Harper* re. a press aide designating who may ask questions, or moving scrum locations, or clearing various hallways.

    I don't disagree with you that it's dumb of Harper. And I agree Harper got lucky in both elections (Randy White excepted).

    But, substantively, Harper is not being treated the same as past Liberal PMs.

    By Blogger matt, at 6:01 p.m.  

  • Politics watch has a fairly detailed piece on this which sets the record straight on many points


    All you guys have is:

    * Martin is the only PM that allowed the NPG to control the lists (He did control lists during campaigns which they did cover)

    * Harper ain't playing along with putting the NPG in charge of his press conference.

    * The NPG executive is organizing boycotts, resting on unanimous votes etc. in other words acting like a union fighting to take control of the press conferences.

    * Harper is questioning the bias of the EXECUTIVE of the NPG saying they never did this to the Liberal PM's that refused to put them in charge of press conferences.

    Good luck turning a union organizing drive into the end of the world as we know it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:17 p.m.  

  • Even the CP story has the actual Harper quote:

    "Well, it's certainly unnecessary and I have trouble believing that, frankly, a Liberal prime minister would have this problem... The press gallery at the leadership level has taken an anti-Conservative view."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 p.m.  

  • I was going to write a few points on both sides but this thread is degenerating into rampant partisanship.

    So I'll just say, I'm really interested in seeing how this all plays out.

    PS - the media was hard on Bob Rae because Bob Rae sucked. I mean, he REALLY sucked.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 7:23 p.m.  

  • :)

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 7:23 p.m.  

  • "The reason the media is seen as anti-conservative is because the conservatives are the government."

    Gee - Stockwell Day was in government when Macleans decided to put him on the cover? Who knew? Harper was the PM when reporters were badgering him about whether he loved Canada? Gee, was I ever confused...

    By Blogger deaner, at 7:43 p.m.  

  • Cerberus: (3) the fact that all of the scandals that broke the back of the Big Red Machine orginated in the so-called Liberal friendly "MSM", such as Adscam and Shawinigate and the income trust "scandal"... all first researched and reported in the "MSM" at a time no one knew about them and would not have known but for the reporters.

    Bwuh? The Adscam story was "broken" by the Auditor General; it hardly took a lot of journalistic savvy to write about it. As for the Income Trust story, the bloggers were sniffing around that one well before the MSM picked up on it, and it was the RCMP investigation that made it a big issue, not investigative reporting.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 12:24 a.m.  

  • The media being biased against libs, cons, gov't, or opposition must be an interesting topic judging by threads like this one.

    However, it has little to do with what's going on with the PG and Harper and even less to do with Harper's comments.

    For those interested in the actual debate:

    1. the PG position seems to be that a free press is endangered by the PM running press conferences.

    2. Harper's position is that "I don't ask to control the editorial policies of newspapers but we do set up our own press conferences"

    3. Historical precedent favours Harper on this. Martin's short tenure between campaigns isn't enough precedent to turn this into an attack on press freedom.

    4. Entwhistle in today's Globe is typical of the hysterical self-serving group think: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper has informed the journalists of the Parliamentary Press Gallery that their services will no longer be required by Canadian democracy because he believes them to be biased against his government".

    5. Harper actually said the executive has pushed this in a way that they never did against Liberals and that given the boycott, he'll hold press conferences where the PG executive doesn't hold sway.

    6. The parallels to union organizing are interesting: a unanimous vote, wildcat strikes, polarizing positions. While pointing out that the gallery is wrong-footed on the fundamental issues, even Paul Wells has co-operated with the boycott: "I'm about ready to give up and sign up for the prime minister's stupid lists. But it's only fair to point out that, when I test-marketed that attitude with colleagues this afternoon, I didn't find many takers. And I file once a week; my more combative colleagues file daily, if not more often, which goes a long way toward explaining why they're more combative."

    My guess is that the big papers will sort this out and work out a face-saving position.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:03 p.m.  

  • I think when somebody seriously tries to get away with saying the National Post is pro-Liberal, your discussion is over, Calgrit.

    Although bias does exist, it's difficult for many partisans to judge, as they see bias in those organizations that don't confirm their own assumptions and biases.

    (Hence 90% of the "liberal bias" websites, that usually attack the media for not agreeing with the Republican talking points they're parroting.)

    That is, of course, when it's not a deliberate strategy, and it is deliberate bias most of the time. Go read Eric Alterman's book on the subject- he notes how these charges are fantastically useful for cowing the media into providing space for outspoken conservatives and avoiding outspoken liberals. While that isn't entirely the case in Canada, it's certainly the case in the United States.

    Of course, considering Frank Luntz's well known trip up to Canada, it's safe to say that whatever a Republican does, a Conservative is going to be doing. Thus the charges of media bias. If it worked for the Republicans...

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 4:06 p.m.  

  • "Of course, considering Frank Luntz's well known trip up to Canada, it's safe to say that whatever a Republican does, a Conservative is going to be doing."

    I've seen spin, but this comment is just out there.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 5:24 p.m.  

  • All the news about local news read it online reading the free online newspaper

    By Blogger thedailyposts, at 4:09 p.m.  

  • I think everybody should glance at this.

    By Anonymous, at 9:13 a.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 11:43 p.m.  

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