Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Shilling For Benefits

Last week the press was all a twitter -- because Stephen Harper was tweeting. It makes you wonder what kind of critical thinking skills our press barons possess. Michael Harris writes that it's all about replica news:

Perhaps the prime minister’s temerity in tweeting his own image is based on the replica news model he has managed to foist on broad swaths of the news profession. Replica news is what the government wants to see reproduced. Journalism, as Orwell famously remarked, is printing what someone doesn’t want you to print.

And, let's face it, there is all kinds of information the Harper government doesn't want you to know:

A few highlights of our replica news landscape at this point: the PM has choked off real information and substituted bumf at the cabinet level; he has terrified the public service into silence, with one of his ministers going so far as to require loyalty oaths from staff; his rare appearances on network television are like outings to one of those farms where the kids get to pet the animals.

As for those traditional press gatherings where the questions aren’t limited by the PM and the identities of the inquiring journalists aren’t agreed to in advance with some flak from the PMO, Stephen Harper has done away with them altogether. Not one in nearly seven years in office.

Which raises the question, why is the press corps not more cynical? And why are they so easily co-opted? That's not to say that some journalists aren't doing a good job -- people like Stephen Maher, Glen McGregor, Lawrence Martin, Tom Walkom  -- and Mr. Harris himself.

It's pretty obvious that the blue sweaters and the kittens are props for The Great Imposter. Perhaps there are others -- like Mike Duffy, Peter Kent and Pam Wallin -- who have discovered that shilling for Stephen Harper reaps benefits.


Kirbycairo said...

Fortunately for us no one, not even Mr. Harper, can escape the law of entropy.

Owen Gray said...

Despite Mr. Harper's manic insistence on controlling the message, Kirby, Murphy's Law still applies.

Unfortunately, Mr. Harper has been able -- for the most part -- to avoid meeting Murphy.

Anonymous said...

Harper is no true Canadian. Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989. I expect that's where Harper's abusive dictatorship, has indeed come from.

All dictators muzzle the press. Goebbels propaganda machine, permitted no bad press against Hitler. Dictators don't want the truth about them, to become known by the citizens. Dictators use every dirty tactic, to cheat their way into office. Then they lie and cheat, to stay in office.

Owen Gray said...

And the best protection against any dictatorship, Anon, is a strong, independent press -- people who can not be intimidated or bought off.