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The Article

Media needs Stephen Harper more than he needs them

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has good reason not to trust the Eastern-based Lib-Left dominated media.

So did Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day.

As did Reform party leader Preston Manning.

The Lib-Left media—led by that wholly-owned subsidiary of the federal Liberal party, the CBC, the Toronto (Red) Star, the pompous Globe and Mail and their naive hangers-on and acolytes—did all they could to mock, heap scorn on, ridicule and twist just about everything Manning and Day said.

During the 2004 and 2006 federal election campaigns, they tried to do the same with Harper, though not quite as successfully.

But for the Lib-Left media—which played to then prime minister—now tug boat operator—Paul Martin, the Conservatives would have won the 2004 election, thereby saving Canadians an another agonizing 18 months or so of deceitful and duplicitous Liberal rule.

Manning, being a decent fellow, always thought he would eventually convince members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery and the media establishment his vision of Canada was the right one.

Instead, the haughty pundits laughed at him behind his back, and painted glowing pictures of the crafty and cunning Jean Chretien.

Day, also a decent fellow, but a naive one, likewise underestimated the virulent viciousness of the political mob in Ottawa, and especially of the aforementioned (Red) Star.

He came out of the Lib-Left media abattoir looking like a religious zealot and a fool.

Ask Stock about it one day, and especially about the advice I gave him, which, to his open regret, he’ll admit he ignored.

While Harper went through a similar meatgrinder during the 2004 campaign—with the Eastern media for the most part dancing to Martin’s slurs—by 2006 our new prime minister had learned a thing or two.

I actually warned Manning, Day and Harper to stay away from the CBC, Star and Globe and every other media outfit of a Lib-Left bent.

Go to those you can trust, or who will at least give you a fair hearing, I advised, naming the Sun Media newspapers, Na-tional Post, Western Stan-dard, CTV Newsnet, Global TV and the like.

The experience suffered by Manning, Day and Harper have now resulted in the PM putting a severe screen around cabinet meetings and cautioning his cabinet ministers to make no statements to the media unless those statements have been specifically cleared.

Harper doesn’t want his ministers—or MPs—to make glib or off-the-cuff comments that can be distorted and blown out of all proportion by a malevolent media.

How can you blame him for that?

Yes, the Ottawa press gallery huffs and puffs and censures Harper, but what did it expect?

Let’s go back to the Brian Mulroney years of 1984 to 1993.

Mulroney loved the media. An avid newspaper reader, he also rarely missed the major TV newscasts.

He saw the media as friends, confiding in the ones he trusted—including to his later shock, author Peter C. Newman—only to find his trust and confidences were often betrayed.

Much of the Eastern-based media basically did a knife job on Mulroney, though he was, and still is, admired by much of the Quebec media.

Harper may find he has initially been too stringent in ordering his cabinet ministers and MPs to have tight lips—but, let’s be honest here, many are young and inexperienced—and he may have maintained too much bitterness over the treatment of Manning, Day and to an extent his early days as Conservative leader.

What he must do now is cautiously loosen the reins on his ministers after they settle into their roles. Then, just as

cautiously, he should build

relationships with journalists he can trust.

Once the rat pack of Lib-Left types realize that some newspaper, TV and radio journalists have gained an entre to Harper and his team and are getting the big breaks and they are not, they, or their superiors, might realize they should start playing fair.

My bet is Stephen Harper is going to be around for a long, long time—and that he’ll be seen as a stable, steady and visionary prime minister.

The Lib-Left media are going to find out they need him far more than he needs them.

 

Paul Jackson
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