Sunday, January 12, 2014

Here He Comes

So you thought the election was in 2015. And now, like Humphrey Bogart -- who went to Casablanca for the waters -- you discover that you have been misinformed. The election campaign has begun. Don Martin writes:

Stephen Harper photo-ops are being booked across the country. Advance squads deployed to handpick participants to ensure partisan purity, gender balance and ethnic diversity. Film crews have been hired to document it all. Editors will varnish over any negative optics. And a velvet-voiced narrator will script the action during breaks in the Maple Leaf Forever soundtrack.

And there is PMO TV,

a weekly life-of-the-prime-minister feature called 24 Seven, which debuted Thursday on government websites. But it’s clearly propaganda, Stephen Harper-style. And you, the taxpayer, picked up the tab.

The first effort was a three-a-half-minute sham of this week’s travels featuring adoring coverage of Harper surrounded by pre-cleared children in contrived settings with nary a discouraging word to be heard -- and certainly no sign of those disruptive protestors.

The cost of planning and production will be huge. The viewing audience will be small.

Mr. Harper has told us that he is not aware of what is going on in his office. I guess it's all a rogue operation. That's why it costs so much.

It's all about avoiding the filters. The media might not believe the pitch:

Contact with media is being studiously avoided, lest they pop his happy place in the bubble with prickly questions about Canada’s deteriorating job picture, the worrisome state of rail tanker safety or, perish the thought, a Senate scandal question or two.

From now on, wherever he goes, the bunker goes with him.


bcwaterboy said...

Mulcair and Trudeau will need to start playing some hard ball if they hope to unseat harper in 2015. Wouldn't it be refreshing if we could start by defining the true failure of harper's policies? The numbers don't lie and his cabal has done anything but create jobs and still they laud themselves as stewards of a strong economy. They are truly incapable though of seeing the economy from any other lens but the Alberta tarsands. Manufacturers close up shop and all they can offer is the long tired "business decision" excuse, oft repeated by provincial counter parts. Time has never been better to change the Canadian conversation and call out the failure of this government.

Owen Gray said...

It's time for Trudeau and Mulcair to step up, waterboy. The evidence is on their side. That's why Harper insists on staying in his bunker.

But Harper also understands how the Big Lie works. The more he repeats it, the more people will believe it.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I expect Trudeau and Mulcair to fail to attack Harper's economic record. Doing so properly would involve questioning the neo-liberal orthodoxy to which they both subscribe.

Owen Gray said...

And there's the rub, Anon. Because all three of the major parties have been infected with the corporatist virus, all that we get are different strains of the same disease.

the salamander said...

I sent comments below to Montreal Simon re Harper 24/7
Don't fall into the trap that the video's production or post production
was in any expensive..

.. having watched the Harper Home Movie 1.5 times will tell you this..
and I am a specialist & consultant regarding video production for over 25 years
Budget might be in the 1,000.00 range

- likely shot by interns or local partisan volunteers
with 'prosumer' camera(s) mics

- amateur narration, unpaid, non professional - reads far too fast

- likely that no music rights were paid or submitted (copyright violation?)
Music uncredited

- amateur video editing technique.. again, likely unpaid volunteer or interns, abrupt video transitions

- graphics (text titles) appear/disappear too fast for ordinary readers,
clumsy font/layout etc

- poor location audio - amateur or intern doing their best with the situation

- clumsy audio cuts, with abrupt editing and rough mix & audio levels

One for the history books..

Owen Gray said...

All for a thousand bucks, salamander? I'll bow to your expertise.

I have to admit that it looks like some of the videos I used to see with high school research projects.

But anyway you look at it, it betrays a government which is penny wise and pound foolish.

Rural said...

Small budget or large you may depend upon it increasing as we get closer to 2015 and that this 'propaganda' is being paid for by the Canadian taxpayer NOT the Conservative Party of Canada. It most certainly bends the rules in appearing on a government website but will be spun as 'informing the public'!

Owen Gray said...

That really is the point, Rural. Regardless of the cost, these folks keep telling us that there are lots of things we can't afford -- like libraries.

But our picking up the tab for their propaganda isn't a problem.

The Mound of Sound said...

I understand Sal's points but it doesn't matter if it's good. All that counts is whether it works.

Harper knows that, short of an 8X10 glossy of him buggering Mike Duffy in some steambath leaking out, he has 30% of the electorate in the bag. That means he needs to shore up the support of another 10% to sail back into majority territory.

You don't need Leni Riefenstahl to pull this off. You go for quantity over quality and count on the reliable incompetence of the opposition leaders.

Harper is starting early because he wants some indication of how much he can pull his numbers up before he has to decide whether to lead the Cons into the 2015 vote.

Owen Gray said...

And he knows that the sooner he starts, the more time he has to repeat the lie, Mound.

He figures time is on his side -- even if the majority of Canadians aren't.

DanR said...

I think when party leaders do this they or their party not tax payers should have to pay for it.

Nevertheless the cons are in endless election mode. My question is, is the NDP or Libs going to do anything about it? Will they have their own ads? or will they sit back as usual and do nothing? They need to start fighting back and get down and dirty and in the gutter sad to say to be able to compete with our Glorious Great Dear leader Ste-Veeee..

These conservatives (They are not cons like Joe Clark or Kim Campbell but a hair away from fascists like Mussolini) claim they are better money managers (sadly so many believe it) yet they are far worse than what they always accused Libs of...

Some at other places like Tyee and Rabble think Great Glorious Dear Leader will ( and break the fixed election law again) call a 'surprise' spring 2014 election.. I dunno as May is only 3 years in and next one is Oct 2015 but with our Great Glorious Dear Leader one never knows.....

the salamander said...

.. its useful to be aware of actual cost and ask who was given access to shoot and asked to edit the piece together.. probably all done by staff ie PMO or by CPC staff.. Nobody accomplished was involved. We do need to examine and understand why such an amateur, low cost approach has been used initially. There is a reason why they are willing to be laughed at initially.. and its a trap to presume much, if any, taxpayer money was spent

As a yardstick, the current and recent Heritage Moments, of two separate vignettes in English and French versions rolled out for approx 320,000.00 and I know this because I consulted on them

We all know what was involved moneywise re the trumped up Economic Action Plan commercials with actors.. not to mention the cost of the media buys.. and that the government was finally told to stop the false advertising

We need new versions of Marshall McLuhan and Hunter S. Thompson right now.. and for every bit or video or propoganda from our government, we need far superior, scathingly effective and brilliant guerilla missives from the masses.

Owen Gray said...

I wouldn't put it past Harper to call a snap election, Dan. It all depends on whether or not he senses an advantage.

As you say, it's up to the opposition parties to deny him that advantage.

Owen Gray said...

That raises the question, salamander, of where the McLuhans and Thompsons are to be found.

Are they out there? Or are they working for Harper?

Anonymous said...

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail rolling back into its own? There's a weird conservative penchant for non-athletes (Nixon, Harper) to get wrapped up in sports (Mer-Kin football, hockey). HST was more of a weapons guy than a pugilist . . . would he align with Harper or TII?

Owen Gray said...

A good question, Anon. In his later years, Thompson's judgment was not always reliable.

What's the significance of the link?

Some Old Guy said...

Certainly the campaign has begun; and the video - be it expensive or cheap, polished or cruddy - is aimed at the base.

And in my constituency, it's a shoe-in anyway.

"[I could not lose unless I was] caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

- Edwin W Edwards, Governor of Louisiana (on 1983 race against David C Treen, recalled on his grand jury indictment for racketeering and fraud, Time 11 Mar 85)

Sad, I know. But true.

Puppies, children, hamsters, and blue sweater vests. Here we go.

Owen Gray said...

It's Edwards' politics alright, Old Guy. But the law finally caught up with him. Could the same thing happen here?

Anonymous said...

"What's the significance of the link?"

Sorry - that link is only a preview. It's a road trip piece I saw long ago by a Canadian inspired by HST . . . apparently its collected at the National Gallery - but I can't find the full piece online anywhere . . .