For those who think little Stevie is being unfairly targeted (from The Toronto Star):
Harper has groused publicly about an anti-Conservative bias in the media before — but not since becoming prime minister.
"I have trouble believing that a Liberal prime minister would have this problem," he said Wednesday.
"But the press gallery at the leadership level has taken an anti-Conservative view."
Ironically, senior Liberal officials earlier this year complained of an anti-Liberal bias in the national media.
In the dying days of the last election campaign, Paul Martin's staff grumbled that reporters were out to get them and were working to elect Harper.
I think Stephen Harper is on very shakey ground on this matter. He would do well to simply remove the new requirement to only take questions from a pre-arranged list. The Fourth Estate have a responsibility to report the news, but our politicians should not use them as their personal tools. The press should simply print the press releases from the PMO until this nonsense is resolved. Trying to control the message from his own party members is his perogative. Trying to do the same with the press is like waving a red rag to a bull. If the PMO paid the press some respect, perhaps they'd reciprocate the gesture?
Politicians have always had this choice. Exercising it to this degree seems like a bad idea, but they were always able to choose when to talk to the media. They set the rules. These rules seem self-destructive so anti-Harper ideologues should be happy.
Political spin is an odd thing for all parties. They cannot control it, try as they might, but they are fully responsible for it. They can work with it and thereby direct all their energies at getting the message out. They can work against it and thereby divide their resources between fighting it and getting the message out. Minority governments, as caretakers, play a short-term game that can make the latter seem like a good idea. 'Can' and 'seem'. This may work, given the publics' lack of trust of the media, but the scent of blood is a powerful thing.
Harper is free to do a news conference as he likes.
And the press is free not to report any of his propaganda....
But then he would just hire PR flacks to push his message....
What happened to accountable? We don't have direct access to Harper (doubly so now that he has a presidential motorcade), so free questions from the press is the only way of getting information.
Hand picking the questions and the journalists turn this into a joke.