Christie Blatchford and sloppy seconds

Diogenes's picture
harper-government220 (10K)

One surprise in this last election was the blanket support the mainstream media gave the Harper Government™.

It shouldn't be a surprise. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) spent a small fortune in advertising on their year-long Michael Ignatieff character assassination campaign.

And the Harper Government™ served up of buckets taxpayer dollars to various media organizations to promote the phony Canada Economic Action Plan.

It is no secret that media organizations rely on the government for both content and advertising revenue.

The Price Is Right

Harper had the audacity to charge each of the big media organizations $50,000 for a seat on the campaign plane and then collectively allowed only 4 questions per day! Of course many in the media did not like this and said as much, but the truth is that these same people are constantly competing with one another for that "exclusive interview" that might help justify the outrageous expense for a seat on the plane. So compromises are made.

HarperMansbridge3 (25K)

This was most evident with the sad spectacle of CBC anchorman Peter Mansbridge giving Steven Harper the puffball interview on an ice rink in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. One prominent blogger best described it as a media blow job. Facebook fans of Peter were not impressed.

Nonetheless, almost all of the big media organizations (except the Toronto Star) ended up endorsing the Conservatives prior to election day.

That includes ALL of the former Canwest newspapers (fresh from bankruptcy and includes most of the major daily newspapers in Canada: Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, etc. along with the National Post)

Convicted felon Conrad Black shaped it. Izzy Asper baked it. Diversity of opinion within that "family" of newspapers is long gone.

Each editoral board now writes what the big boss wants, they just find different ways of saying the same thing.

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I used to like the Globe and Mail. They have some outstanding journalists (like Paul Koring), some great analysis, and some of the best columnists (like Gerald Caplan). They also do a pretty good job at presenting both sides of a story, even if some, like Jane Taber are given to extensive quoting of anonymous sources.

But I always had the impression the G&M was viewed by most as a small l liberal newspaper. But maybe that had more to do with the East/West, or Calgary/Toronto, or tension/rivalry that colours regional opinions (mine included).

The G&M has not been shy in exposing any Harper Government™ misdeeds in the past. I thought they did a pretty good job of it.

So I was little surprised when the Globe and Mail also endorsed Harper and the Conservatives three days before the vote.

Christie Blatchford

They clearly did not do this to please their readership. Reader comments were fast and furious.

The G&M acknowledged this and tried to save face, but then they scraped the very bottom of the barrel and published this steaming pile of bullplop on election day!

A few days earlier, Sun Media, publishers of bird cage liner newspapers across Canada (more pictures, less words!), broke a sensational news story about Jack Layton. Apparently Mr. Layton had been discovered by police in a raid of a suspected massage parlour back in 1996.

The source of this story was from a retired detective, who was not named. The informant offered pages from his police notebook.

sunNews (47K)

I'm not a journalist nor an expert on the profession, but there are a few of problems here. First, the source of the information is not named. Second, police notebooks are considered evidence and the property of the police department, not the personal diary of retired dicks. Lastly, this event happened some 15 years ago. This is rather old news. In fact, it's pretty clear it's not news at all. It's garbage; rubbish. Sun Media was doing deep pit mining in the local landfill.

So we have a story with zero credibility; a story with nothing that resembles journalism. It's an out-and-out smear job, found more often in guttersnipe tabloids on the bottom rack of the discount supermarket shelves.

How did the other media organizations react? Did they make any effort to kill or discredit the story, like they did about Steven and Laureen Harper's marital discord or the rumours of Laureen's affair?

No. They treated it as a hot, hot, story.

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At one news scrum after the story broke, half of the questions posed to Jack Layton from our media hacks were about the story and his reaction to it.

HappyJack (8K)

During the official 36 days of the 2011 election campaign, between the writ and the vote, Jack Layton actually behaved like he was running for office. He hit the streets, he debated, he was happy to answer questions from the press. Happy Jack ran a lively, animated campaign. It was working.

Contrast this to Stephen Harper, who ran a campaign that resembled a 3D hologram demo at the local science fair. If you missed any part of it, you could catch it again on the next repeat loop campaign stop.

photo by Chris Wattie/Reuters

The CPC crowd management team even deployed a Facebook selection process and used the RCMP to ensure the right mix of people for each event. For added realism, there were 5 questions that were not answered each day, an event they might have called The Question Period Road Show.

So here we have a Prime Minister that has forced an election because of his contempt for parliament. His party shapes a campaign based on contempt for the opposition leaders, contempt for reporters questions, and contempt for anybody who disagrees with the party platform.

HarperGlares2 (21K)

So how did the mainstream media react to this sad and dismal campaign? They almost unanimously endorse Stephen Harper and the CPC!

If there are any proverbial ink stained wretches out there who still wonder why their profession is held in such low regard, read the above again, slowly, for a clue.

Which brings me to Christie Blatchford. Blatchford is a gifted writer and a columnist with a loyal following. She can cut to the chase with a pithy turn of phrase that resonates with many readers. I have found myself agreeing with her more than once.

mackay6 (8K)

But then I read her disgusting character assassination of Richard Colvin, the former Afghanistan diplomat who properly raised the issue of Canada's handling of detainees (prisoners of war).

Stephen Harper shamefully prorogued parliament again, this time to avoid the disclosure of related documents to our elected members of parliament. This is contempt.

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Blatchford's series of smears was seriously flawed with respect to the facts, but did have some curious insights into other matters. It is suspected by some that she had access to unredacted original documents, unlike the heavily censored version delivered by the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) to parliament.

MikeDuffy (6K)

More than a few of her peers recognized this for what it was; a professional hatchet job on Richard Colvin, with a contrived line of thinking that supported the governments own attempt to discredit the whistle blower diplomat.

One cynic called it a Mike Duffy application for a Harper senate appointment.

But Blatchford really outdid herself on election day morning, with this disgusting piece of rubbish: Massaging the truth about Jack Layton. Long on speculation, short on facts, that is nothing more than a professional smear job on Jack Layton. I'm sure the CPC was delighted.

So this blog is dedicated to you Christie Blatchford! Here's another hot tip.

Christine Ouimet

There is currently a vacancy for the Office of Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. It's a prestigious job with a six figure salary and a great pension.

Even if you don't do anything useful and find yourself run out of town by the Auditor General for gross incompetence, there is always the possibility that you will be offered a nice STFU severance package.

The last commissioner recieved a $530,000 severance package even though she "retired" before the term was up!

We have it on good authority that Stephen Harper would look upon it favourably, and with good humour if you offered His Majesty a blow-job.

HarperGrins (14K)

You should make this offering while wearing a brown paper bag over your head. I'm sure a self deprecating "old-broad" like yourself can appreciate the subtle humour and nuance of such a proviso.

We also have it on good authority that current best practice in Canadian journalism is to freely quote anonymous sources. Straight Talk, nothin' but Hard News and Straight Talk.

Christine Blatchford

Go for it Bitchface Blatchford! You have more street smarts and better communications skills than Mike Duffy. The only thing you don't have (aside from 200 pounds of flab) is that chrome dome. His Majesty sometimes playfully touches it with his finger tips, pretending it's the Oracle of Delphi, while he receives the latest insights from his trusted advisor.

I'm sure Harper and the CPC will find you are the perfect candidate for the Office of Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Your spin skills and your ability to conduct effective character assassinations assessments are what the Harper Government™ needs in this time of crisis; with these waves of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) lapping up upon our shorelines.

Be part of the Harper Government™ team Blatchford. May you take the concept of Public Sector Integrity to new heights.

And if it doesn't work out, I, for one, am really looking forward to when you pen the newspaper column equivalent of Alanis Morrisette's classic "You Oughta Know".

You Oughta Know - Alanis Morrisette