Thursday, March 13, 2014

Leaving Them Behind

When Stephen Harper was the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Mitrovica writes, he sought out journalists:

He courted press coverage enthusiastically. (There’s a word commonly used in Ottawa to describe politicians who hunger for media attention as shamelessly as Harper once did; I’m guessing I can’t get away with using it here.) In any event, Harper’s political career was aided and abetted in some measure by his routine appearances on political chat shows that featured him as a sound-bite-happy right-wing pundit.

But after he became prime minister -- his objective achieved -- he neurotically avoided journalists:

This neurosis manifests itself in several familiar ways. This is a prime minister fond of playing hide-and-seek with reporters. He scurries furtively to his Centre Block office after question period like a truant schoolboy on his way to detention. He prefers to remain holed up in his private quarters in Canada’s modest version of Air Force One, rarely venturing out to be scrummed by the rabble occupying the less-comfortable seats in the plane’s rear. He has even largely abandoned those sonorous year-end interviews with network news anchors and bureau chiefs.

Now he simply refuses to answer questions.

Harper's relationship with the press fits a pattern. He uses people then disposes of them.  From Jim Hawkes, who he worked for, then ran against, to Preston Manning, to Tom Flanagan to Nigel Wright -- Harper's relationships are transactional.

Once he gets what he wants, he leaves people behind.


Anonymous said...

Yep, Owen, there is a also word for people who use other people and then discard them. We all know what it is, eh? :)

As for the Parliamentary Press Gallery, it is not difficult to name the journalists who were doing their jobs in trying to get Harper to answer questions. For example, during the last federal election, there was only one such journalist: Terry Milewski at the CBC. If there were others, it was not apparent.

Since then, however, there are clearly more journalists willing to stand up to Harper. For example, the coverage of the Robocall and Senate scandals were very well done.

Anonymous said...

As much as I admire Mr Mitrovica's call for freedom in Canadian journalism, I think it is doomed to fail in the corporate controlled snake oil media of today. The media corporations will simply fire any rebel journalists and replace them with compliant sycophants.

The only way that journalists can practice their craft properly is by working outside of the sphere of corporate influence.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Anon. Terry Milewski has refused to be intimidated. The same applies to Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor of Postmedia, as well as Lawrence Martin of the Globe.

There were a lot of others, though, who ran for cover.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Anon, with the exceptions of the journalists mentioned in my previous comment, the power of corporate media is all too apparent.

Profiles in courage are rare.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me? How many people are willing to sell their souls, to the devil Harper. The problem is, we all go down with them.

We went to war so we wouldn't have, a fascist dictator running this country. Quite frankly, Harper is not worth their dying for. Harper isn't worth the powder, to blow him to hell in a handbag.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Anon, not enough people have come to that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

My hit Owen is that he has been truly running scared, afraid to be held up to the light of day and scrutinized . Although not running on empty yet this is what he fears the most; The 160 academics that are now challenging the not so - fair election act and he realizes that this could be the beginning of a tidal surge that could well wash him out of office. He does not have a brush he can tar the academics with easily to make them go away; so now he is in a corner. The question is; is a cornered Harper like a wild beast, not safe to approach? I am truly enjoying this part of the show the undoing of Harper by Harper himself. The silence on the 'act' by his highness is louder than the criticisms levied against it.


Owen Gray said...

I've always felt, Mogs, that Harper would eventually be responsible for his own undoing. But, I have to admit, he's had much more staying power than I gave him credit for.

Anonymous said...

Harper can now come out and criticize this act to save himself falling from grace, not having the act before the election is the safest road for the redundant position of prime minister now simply: dictator. So I think his silence is planed strategy in order to give him an out. Remember how he let the abortion issue slip back into parliament and then silencing it just before the backlash lashed him out of grace?

Unfortunately he is clever although very shallow and stupid when it comes to connecting with the average citizen.

Also Owen you are on record many times stating that Harper would eventually undo himself, but then that is the path of most every dictator.


Owen Gray said...

The problem, Mogs, is that he has long overstayed his welcome.

the salamander said...

.. Hard Rains Are Gonna Fall ..
on the sandbox economist Stephen Harper ..

What he is doing to Canada aint pretty
but then ..
How will Canada and Canadians will remember him ?

Uh .. artists, historians, biologists, patriots, citizens
schoolchildren, military veterans & other honest folk,
teachers, parents, firefighters..
and those long memoried First Nations
will paint a damning ugly picture
of The Ugly 'Royal' Canadian from Toronto

Nope.. it won't be Poilievre or Arthur Hamilton pens that stinking legacy.. or Ezra Levant or Ray Novak
or any superficial pundit, sellout or fawning syncophant.. No it will be the cold hard light of fact, truth and actions.. all adding up and illuminating the actions of a shockingly vicious sociopolitical monster

Owen Gray said...

Harper wants to leave a legacy, salamander. But he has little use for History.

What her remembers best is the image he saw when he looked in the mirror this morning.