The CBC has been battered by the antics of Jian Ghomeshi, Peter Mansbridge and Amanda Lang. South of the border, NBC is dealing with the fallout from Brian Williams' fictionalized accounts of what he did in Iraq. And the Globe and Mail has given space to Stephen Harper and John Baird to editorialize. Michael Harris writes:
The relationship between the current Globe and the Conservative Party has become so close, and so mutually supportive, that basic issues of trust are in play between Canada’s old blue-haired lady and her readership. When the editorial board endorsed Liberal Kathleen Wynne in the last Ontario election and the publisher subsequently reversed that decision in favour of Conservative Tim Hudak, it says everything about editorial integrity. It is the kind of thing that ends up losing a newspaper $33 million dollars in a single year.
In journalism, as in politics, trust is the coin of the realm. That currency has been at the mercy of self promoters and speculators -- and Stephen Harper is a superb example of both:
Stephen Harper has so far managed to prosper in a world of political special effects — rappelling soldiers at hockey games, Mounties marching, jets screaming overhead. There is no story line, just a bewildering montage of emotionally charged events that herd voters his way. He is the X-Man of Canadian politics.
And that is a very fortunate thing for him, because he could not and will not survive a sober assessment of his record. Why? Because like Brian Williams, he has told self-aggrandizing tall tales.
Harper recently said that the only veterans’ centres that were closed by his government were the ones with very few clients. In fact, thousands of clients were displaced by the closures, putting tremendous pressure on remaining facilities to absorb them.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons on several occasions, that the cost of the F-35 jet fighter program was guaranteed by the “contract” with the plane’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. Despite these claims by both the prime minister and his various ministers of defence, including Peter MacKay, there never was a contract to buy the plane at the price the government claimed. The real price is going to be tens-of-billions higher.
At the height of the Wright/Duffy scandal, Harper also claimed that no one in his office knew a thing about the $90,000 gift that Nigel Wright gave to Mike Duffy, a “gift” that Duffy claims he was forced to accept by a domineering PMO. The truth is, more than a dozen people in the PMO knew about the deal, despite Harper’s Brian Williams imitation – at the expense of people like former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page.
Which begs the question: "If he has seriously devalued the coin of the realm, will Stephen Harper win the next election?