Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Would someone please tell Sandra Buckler that this is a democracy

Sometimes I wonder whether Stephen Harper, or his handlers, need some serious therapy. They seem hell-bent to make sure they're hated by the Parliamentary Press Gallery. I'll be among the first to say the gallery has, over the generations, become insular and sometimes ineffective, but it also has some of the best journalists in the country and is capable of greatness. It can't make or un-make governments, but it certainly contributes to the process.
What, then, explains the bone-headed decision by the Harper bunker-brain trust to forbid reporters' questions during tomorrow's visit of Arnold Schwarzeneger? Just what, exactly, is that supposed to prove? And what does it make us -- all Canadians -- look like in front of the California delegation? It smacks of some sort of third-world state, rather than a G* society in the information age.
George Bush thought he could alienate the lame-o White House press corps. He believed he could talk over them and deal directly with the public.
He was wrong. So's Harper.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good topic. I would be much more eager to embrace the Harper government - because there is much to support - were it not for his relationship with the media. This is not a defence of the media, which can take care of itself, as much as a defence of the general public. I get it: Harper, as a landed Westerner full of all the grudges that represents, looks upon the media as a collection of Eastern-dominated leftist snobs and incompetents who will twist his message to their ends. He ignores the fact that we regular citizens rely upon the media to a large extent to keep track of what is happening in Ottawa. His willingness to rely on photo ops and carefully-managed/massaged messsages is not only transparent but insulting; he just doesn't give a damn that it is so obvious. For all the positives he potentially represents, there is a calculated coldnesss and meanness to him that gives me more than a few chills.

Ottawa Watch said...

Exactly. I've come to the very same conclusion. Like paul Martin and Jean Chretien, Harper has squandered the good will that people gave him. He lost the opportunity to be a really great PM by failing to overcome his own personal shortcomings. Perhaps these guys listen too much to their handlers. They become narrow, suspicious, defensive and arrogant at the same time. Those are attitudes that certainly don't click with Canadians.
We need a media in Canada. It has an important place in our political system, as does the Parliamentary opposition. They deserve some honset dealings and respect. Canada is not some quasi-police state where the opposition and media are simply tolerated for appearance sake.

Anonymous said...

Me again. I would agree that, all too often, our Western leaders pay too much heed to their handlers and fixers even over some self-doubts. But in this case, I think it is Harper himself calling these shots and, if not, he goes along with cheerful alacrity because he shares the exact same sentiments.