04.05.2011 01:40 PM

Simple solution

Any media folks who report these Conservative Party rallies as straight-up are running the risk of being complicit in presenting fiction as reality.

Until the matter gets straightened out – and if I were an editor-in-chief of something – I’d tell the Cons that we don’t plan to cover any of their private events.  It’s kind of like covering a play at Stratford, and telling my readers it’s real life.  It isn’t.

There isn’t a single media organization that will adopt this approach, of course, and I guess that’s why I’m me, and not an editor-in-chief.

But the bottom line is that the media are putting their claim to be truth-tellers at risk.  Their credibility, too.


  1. MontrealElite says:

    In parliament, it’s Ministerial Acconutability and you can’t talk to staff.

    On the campaign trail, it’s the staff running the show so don’t talk to me about it.

    Wow, Steve-O, only week 2 and you have come off the rails.

    Stay angry man, I love how Terry Milewski gets under your skin. Wish he were moderating the debate.

    • Al says:

      All that is missing is someone doing a Youtube parody of a Conservative rally where someone is expelled…because their great granpa voted for Laurier. And we’d have a “Doris Day” moment in this campaign…

  2. Ted says:

    Today in “Taking Responsibility and Showing Leadership”:

    The staff runs our campaigns and I can’t comment on individual matters like that” Harper said about his campaign kicking out 3 students at one event (for a Facebook page and a bumper sticker), two students at another event (for attending a pro-vote pro-student rally) and two veterans advocates at still another event (for fighting for veterans assistance).

    Running from the media. Running from Ignatieff. Running from the AG’s G20 report. Running from the Military Policy. Running from Carson. Now running from ordinary Canadians.

    Seems to me more like Harper is running from re-election rather than for re-election.

    • MontrealElite says:

      Running from the media. Running from Ignatieff. Running from the AG’s G20 report. Running from the Military Policy. Running from Carson. Now running from ordinary Canadians.


      Damn, now I have the perfect caption for that earlier post today.

      Stephen Harper, running on empty!

      • Ted says:

        I’ve heard some great ones over the last couple of days and that is right up there. Well done, sir.

        Add it to:

        Canadian Democracy: By invitation only.

        Why did the chicken cross the road? To avoid the debate.

        • MattMcD says:

          Why did the chicken cross the road?

          Because the RCMP had the road blocked off and threatened to arrest drivers of red green and orange cars if they drove any more on that particular road, so it was quite safe for the chicken to cross.

      • Namesake says:

        “running on empty” – or “on fumes”

        in fact, he’s already been more running the gov’t on fumes the whole time. They don’t even need to heat the HOC when he’s there, given all the negative energy he and his bully boys emit.

  3. Gord says:

    I’ve often thought they should also identify who a “think tank” really is, too. For example, would it kill them to include, by rote, “the business-funded Fraser Institute” or the “left-of-centre and largely labour-funded Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives”, just to name two examples. And I’m not one who thinks either business or labour shouldn’t get their say — but I grow weary of them hiding it behind an astroturf campaign that pretends these places are anything but advocates for an existing world-view.

    On another note, yes Warren. I must concede your point now. Holy cow that Liberal war room is on top of things. Another day, another mini-scandal, thus keeping the Conservatives off balance and off their game, as you’ve noted.

    Just 27 more days to go — any thoughts on whether or not they’ll be able to keep it up? Does it, after a certain point, reach a critical mass and become a self-perpetuating thing? Meaning that enough stuff comes out that suddenly everyone is looking for more and, lo and behold, they begin finding it?

  4. Matt says:

    Not only does Harper run on the politics of fear, but he lives it. He’s afraid of a non-existent coalition. He’s afraid of the report concerning Afghan detainees. He’s afraid of the audiences at his own rallies. He’s afraid to debate Michael Ignatieff one-on-one.

    • Namesake says:

      and he’s afraid of the world — or wants us to be: lacing all his stump speeches now with,

      “but a sea of troubles is lapping at our shores, disaster in the Pacific, chaos in the Middle East, debt problems in Europe and of course very serious challenges south of our border…”


      Some of the journos are tweeting each other when he goes into that Elmer Fudd mode: “Be afwaid, be vewy vewy afwaid!”

  5. Gord says:

    Umm… no. But I would like to present myself as proof that people are willing to consider the Liberal message west of the Lakehead.

  6. Cat says:

    “But the bottom line is that the media are putting their claim to be truth-tellers at risk. Their credibility, too.”

    If all media were “truth-tellers” you’d have a case….but credible some are not…….like those ones who earned a bad grade in Kicking Ass….

  7. Old Ed says:

    In the news item in question Harper said there were more people attending his events than all of the other parties put together. Can we trust his observation? I think a fact check is in order here.

  8. Riley Robertson says:

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    So he could blame his goons

    How did the chicken cross the road?

    On a quad, wearing a Gazoo helmet

    • Namesake says:

      How did the chicken pay for the road?

      He didn’t: he put in on his banker buddies’ credit cards for the next generation to pay for…. and cut their taxes on the interest they’re being paid.

  9. Cat says:

    Off topic totally Warren but is this blog on daylight saving time yet? Just checked the time of my last post thinking I had LOTS of time before I had to start dinner – but reality’s a bitch.

  10. W.B. says:

    Good point Warren.
    Why did it take some teen kids getting physically turfed from a rally to get this on top of the news, when all these reporters on the tour have known exactly what was going on since the campaign started and although they ‘sort of’ reported it, they were pretty vague. Pretty much under the thumb of the PMO and compliant to their rules no matter what their duty to the public should have been.

  11. Hammer Dom says:


    It will be a big night for politics in Hamilton on Thursday.

    Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff will be making an appearance shortly after Conservative leader Stephen Harper wraps up his event at the Convention Centre.

    Local Liberals are holding a rally at Liuna Station on James Street North at 7 p.m. All local Liberal candidates will be in attendance.

    The Conservatives are holding their own rally at 5:30 p.m. downtown.

    This marks the first leader visits of the campaign.

    SO – Are we going to meet for drinks afterward? Are you going to tell your mate RICK MERCER to get off his Twitter Account Ass and show up with a camera crew???? Let’s have him force that lying shit Harper into this one on one debate and prove once and for all he can’t string together seven letter words to form intelligible sentences toward purporting convincing, truthful arguments.

    I’ll be at Iggy’s gig FOR SURE, and then elbow bending is on me at my favourite local. I HAS been too long Warren.

    Dominic Simon

    • Namesake says:

      Mercer’s show is on hiatus just now, due to being bumped by hockey playoffs. He’s blogging for Macleans in the interim.

      • Hammer Dom says:

        So – Rick can’t get a few cameras and a mike but he can Twitter with his Smart-Phone?

        I see.
        I can.

        Shit, with HIS money I could splurge the 5K for 2 HD digital cameras available at any at any Future Shop, until 10pm no less…and take the GO train to Hamilton…and not be a pussy fake.

        So the Rick Mercer Report is just a ‘show’, as in….for ‘show’.

        Mmmmm. Just like the PM.

        Kettle. Black. All talk.

        Warren. Let’s go shopping tomorrow and show Mercer and the CBC, not to mention HARPER how Media makes Leaders.


      • MCBellecourt says:

        Speaking of our Mr. Mercer, he has a column in the hardcopy edition of Macleans as well. Just got it in the mail today (Tuesday).

  12. I think the different media organizations need to indicate that all of the Conservative events are private events.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      It sounds like they’re beginning to. The reports of the people being booted out after being registered is allllllll over the place. I was up online all night long and these news pieces spread like wildfire.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Whether you loved him or hated him, he was a phenomenom. Nobody but nobody got people engaged in politics like he did.

      R.I.P., P.E.T.

  13. reformatory says:

    Harper has always ignored the media and has gotten away with it– they seem to follow him around like a lapdog. It’s puzzling and disturbing at the same time. Harper also has a way of avoiding the press when it suits him and he goes directly on air to get his message across. Today he just sent out a new ad. Check it out…


    Effective or not?

    It’s possibly one of the more robust ads I can remember in Canadian history. It’s idea was, as the Liberals rightly and quickly pointed.. lifted from a similar ad in Minnesota released in January 2011.

    What does everyone think of the ads? Will they resonate? I hope the GRITS blast back with some testosterone on their end. A few things I think need to start happening from the Liberal camp over the next week or so.. is some hard edged Canadian chest thumping ads that demonstrate Ignatieff has some edge to him as well– since you know… Canadians like their PM’s tough– recall Chretien, Trudeau, King etc…

    and the other thing I hope sytarts to happen is — Ignatieff has to start to ask for government. If he wants to close the deal- he has to ask for it– just like Harper keeps asking for the majority– Ignatieff has to blast back and ask Canadians to choose a Liberal gov’t. If he doesn’t start asking for it soon— then it will not be engrained in the minds of voters come May 2nd.

    Any thoughts?

    • MCBellecourt says:

      I’m no expert, but I agree with you in many ways. However, he might be easing into it. There’s still time. He has to be careful as to not appear arrogant, but get tough, yes.

      Harper’s giving him lots of material, though. And, Ignatieff is a smart man. His bus tours of the past were excellent rehearsals for him and it shows.

      I can understand his wanting to project a far more positive image than that of the PMO.

      These are just my thoughts, though…

      ….wow, this is a tough question, but excellent food for though, reformatory. I don’t know how helpful I’ve been here, but thanks for inviting the feedback. It’ll be very interesting to read others’ thoughts and I’ll check back later.


  14. JH says:

    Seriously? you mean the media after all these years and all those suspensions firings etc., still has credibility?

  15. Scotian says:

    Interesting, this is the first thread I’ve seen here regarding the federal election that has been open for nearly 11 hours, has 39 comments as I write this and not one of them is from a CPC supporting voice either defending or even trying to deflect from this topic. Given that this site appears to be a regular checkpoint for the CPC war room and their unofficial online “volunteers” to attack such posts or at least deflect and try to change the focus of the topic I find this noteworthy. What it really means I don’t know, but it clearly is breaking the pattern that I’ve noticed while reading this blog since the election started (well, I’ve been reading this blog since long before the election started, more infrequently in the last few months but still).

    As to the topic itself, I couldn’t agree with Warren more, which is not something I tend to say often. To not draw attention to the inherently phony basis of the Harper campaign stops and allowing coverage to treat them as if they are open to the public like the other parties are (and the PCPC used to be before it was hijacked by the Reform/CA and sold out by traitor MacKay) is to enable a fraud, this is not a matter of opinion which journalists should avoid debating, this is a matter of fact/reality which journalists are SUPPOSED to be verifying and calling out when they are not. I don’t want reporters that get partisan and treat debatable issues of policy and such as their playground to spin any way they want, but neither do I want reporters afraid/unwilling to call a lie a lie when it is and to insist that when something is being passed off as a fact that it actually meets the definition standard of actually being factual!!!

    I have been long disgusted with the way the national media has allowed the Harper government to stomp all over them and prevent them from doing their jobs, which in any democratic society is supposed to be first and foremost critically examining those in power in our governments no matter what their party affiliations are! We NEED that done to enable an informed electorate which in turn is necessary to cast informed votes in elections! Representative democracy does not work well if at all when this does not happen, and failing to do so because you are afraid of being branded “liberal” and part of this grand conspiracy in the media against the poor helpless CPC myth crap that NA conservatives have been using to discredit any and all media reports of their actions which do not cast them in a favourable light is a betrayal of a fundamental civic role that the press is supposed to play in our society!

    This is something we as a society need to be more aware of, and to demand better than we have been getting, and this issue with the Harper bubble campaign is a long overdue place to start!

  16. W.B. says:

    I think amazingly one of the CTV reporters called Harper out on his claim that he was drawing bigger crowds than all the other party leaders COMBINED. Obviously a lie and he knows it’s a lie and thinks he can get away with it. He can’t claim it was an opinion. Every reporter knows it’s not true and they know Harper knows it’s not true.

  17. Anne Peterson says:

    I repeat, has anyone seen the picture of him arriving in a fire truck. I wonder how he got down from it. Was he lifted? Did he scramble awkwardly down by himself like other sort of tubby people might do? They didn’t show us that part of the story, did they?

  18. Richard says:

    The lies just continue to spew from the mouth of Mr. Harper:

    “The reason we’re getting people to come out – and the other guys are having their problems – is because people didn’t want this election.”

    The Conservative government was defeated March 25 when opposition parties passed a no-confidence motion declaring the Tories in contempt of Parliament for stonewalling on the costs of their tough-on-crime agenda and the full bill for new fighter jets.

    “We’ve had thousands of people, far more people come out to hear us than the other guys have,” Mr. Harper said. “When the other guys are complaining we’re turning people away – and they can’t get people –I think that tells you how this campaign is going.”

    When Harper was here in Halifax last week, a measly 50 or so invitation-only people turned out to be fenced off and kept at arm’s length. When Ignatieff was here on Sunday, over 1,000 enthusiastic Liberals turned out to hear him speak at the Westin hotel. The room was packed, and yours truly was close enough to get a copy of True Patriot Love signed.

  19. crf says:


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