Sunday, April 23, 2006

Inside The Dance

To hear the media pundits and talking heads bleat on about the changes Stephen Harper's PMO has made to dealings with the Parliamentary Press Gallery, one would think that the government was jailing dissident journalists and censoring press reports in the manner of a Third World dictatorship.

More experienced and honest scribes such as Hartley Steward not only know that what's going on is as tightly scripted and ritualized as kabuki theatre, but are also willing to break the fourth wall to let the public in on the act:

Here is how the game works.

In the main, the government wants to manage the news completely. It wants its accomplishments, however marginal, to get the best possible political bang for the buck.

Control of timing is as important as the actual facts. For instance, freedom of the press wanes dramatically as an election approaches. Sometimes it disappears totally. The forces of the government charged with dealing with the press have on their mind nothing but positive initiatives and happy thoughts. The press is half free, as it were.

The ultimate goal for the government and the job of its myriad of propaganda artists and flacks is to keep from the public — or at least minimize the impact of — anything harmful to the party’s re-election efforts and to announce in the most positive way anything likely to make said party look good.

This is a relentless job which takes as much government manpower and energy as actually running the country. Ironically, the parties employ mostly ex-journalists with Ottawa experience who, of course, understand the game perfectly.

Read the whole thing and you'll be able to put in words exactly why you believed the recent complaints about restricting access to ministers and moving the PM's press conference site were so much sound and fury signifying nothing.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Just that the arrogance of journalists has risen in proportion to the number of PPG hacks whose primary education is not the school of hard knocks but schools of journalism.


davidson said...

steward is as stephen harper conservative as they come. he writes for the Sun for pete's sake.while i'm sure many of your loyal readers swallow your propaganda easily,those of us who require more relaible sources than the Toronto Sun remain skeptical.

Dennis said...

Like what Davidson, the Toronto Star, the CBC?