Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Not The Man For The Job

Pierre Poilievre has taken on journalism. History suggests that's not a wise strategy. Robin Sears writes:

The first conservative to destroy his party through a hatred of journalists was, of course, Richard Nixon. The next was Donald Trump, who has delivered three defeats since his razor thin single victory, all the while ranting his denunciation of “fake news” media.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre appears to be genuine in his contempt for many Canadian journalists. Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper always appeared more theatrical in his, given how close he was to journalists before he won power. This hatred is, of course, dangerous for democracy, but it is also damaging the Canadian Conservatives’ brand.

Most Canadians understand it is the job of independent journalists to be skeptical of power: political, corporate and military. The famous cliche that journalism “afflicts the comfortable, and comforts the afflicted” contains a core truth. Journalists do not come to the profession to promote socialism let alone capitalism. They devote their increasingly precarious professional lives to unveiling corruption, demanding transparency and seeking to force the powerful to tell the truth.

Conservatives should -- but don't -- understand how the press works:

They see a media attack on one politician as proof of partisan loyalty to another. This fits with their increasingly American-style campaigning where opponents are unscrupulous traitors who must be crushed on the way to victory. When the CBC reveals, exclusively, yet another foolish brush with ethics laws by Justin Trudeau — yet another provocative luxury vacation with ‘friends’ — Conservatives deny the CBC credit. Yet by their own logic it should prove that the CBC is full of closet conservatives.

Liberals used to suffer from this same delusion during our constitutional wars, with Pierre Trudeau denouncing Radio/Canada as a “nest of separatists” who needed to be flushed out. But it was Trudeau who also declared he learned more from a good newspaper about global affairs than he did from Canadian Intelligence.

Brian Mulroney was deeply offended by the gratuitous personal attacks he suffered, sometimes calling editors and publishers to complain. Yet he would read half a dozen newspapers before breakfast — Canadian, American, French and English.

Each leader had reason to be grumpy about their treatment by the media, but neither challenged the importance of good journalism to strong democracies. One wonders how much journalism — the original stories, not the staff digests — the always angry Leader of the Opposition reads daily.

All this suggests that, while Poilievre desperately wants to be prime minister, he's simply not the man for the job.

Image: The Toronto Star


Anonymous said...

Playing on the stupid Con ad from 2015 I think it was, "Trudeau, he's just not ready". Well this guy, most certainly is not ready, although we will probably see a shake up come next election. I can't see the brain trust wanting to lose yet another election, but true to form, they double down on a flawed leader and think the anti-Trudeau bs will translate into seats in vote rich Ontario. Poilievre does not exude any charisma or what he actually stands for, just continually taps into anger and resentment. I don't think that will be enough to win, but who knows? BC Waterboy

Owen Gray said...

These days, anger will take you a long way, waterboy. But it isn't enough to get you over the finish line.

zoombats said...

"But it isn't enough to get you over the finish line". You can leave that job to the complacent, nose holding, dart throwing electoral changelings.

Owen Gray said...

Democracy dies, zoombats, when people don't give a damn.