Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Another media guy says "Harper winning media war"

From Larry Zolf, regular (but officialy "retired") contributor to the CBC. He says that Stephen Harper is winning the "war on the media".
In this war with the media, no one is talking about the excellent use Harper is making of television. In his dealings on TV, Harper looks calm, cool and collected. He looks good on the House staircase facing the media, like Brian Mulroney used to do, and excels on TV when he uses the podium to deliver messages to the public.

On TV, Harper is the lone gunslinger, and the opposition critics and the media are mere bit players.

On CBC and on CTV, just about every word Harper says goes on air. He serves the TV networks wisely and well.

Harper is winning his war with the media because the media is hated by the public. Harper is loved by the public, so he is on top of the fold.

The media war has been a total Harper victory. The media will have to learn to play by Harper’s rules or they won’t be in the great game at all.
Comments? Thoughts?

I don't know if I 100% agree with the analysis, but I think it's fairly accurate. When the "war" was declared, I was expecting to hear fewer sound bytes and see less in print. I've seen just as much coverage as before. But the main problem I see is, come election time, all the print reporters, who have been burned by Mr. Harper, won't be printing much pro Tory news. So, in that aspect, I don't know if the war can be considered as "having been won".

Often, something that appears on the front page in print in the morning can spur the 6 o'clock news cycle... in essence, the media making the news. Thus, if you're seeing tons of negative headlines on the front pages during the campaign, guess what the evening news will be commenting on? Often, they'll end up covering peoples reactions to what appeared in the morning paper. So, we may end up having negative news stories on both the front and back-end of the news. And during an election campaign, that's not a good thing.

If that's the case, history may judge Mr. Harper as having won the first battle, but ultimately losing the war... and 24 Sussex in the process. I certainly hope that this is an occasion where I'm wrong.

27 Comments:

  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 10:34:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, he probably is winning the "media war".

    HIs government is winning many of the political wars, as this is what it has chosen to focus on - being the most aggressively partisan government in history (at least as far as I can remember) - even more partisan than the much disliked Chretien gov't (disliked by me and many others).

    Nothing appears to be off-limits. Using family tragedy to score points - check - using our military - check - this list goes on and on.

    I suppose if the measure of a government is who is winning the war of grade-school taunts and who is able to most successfully dumb down its message to pre-school recess taunt levels, then yes, they are winning.

    Of course it doesn;t hurt that the Libs are currently completely feckless and the media are for the most part eating from their hand, despite the much ballyhooed "war".

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 12:19:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Dave said…

    CCC,

    calm yourself. This spat will blow over soon enough. The public have largely indicated disinterest, with a sprinkling of sympathy for the PMO. The PPG will come to terms soon enough. Despite the squawking, this is nothing new; they had a similar beef with the Martin campaign team just a few months ago. Muscles flexed, honour upheld, this will be sorted out quietly over the summer break. God knows it's long enough !

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 12:24:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Anon:

    I don't like anonymous posters for the most part, but that is extremely well done. Kudos.

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 10:37:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Aaaahhh, "the most aggressively partisan government in history" as opposed to whom? Chretien? PLEASE!

    There was a government who had MPs that would refuse to assist elderly veteran consituents because they voted Conservative. There was a government that shamelessly lied (even the PM) to retain power.

    Regarding your comment "the list goes on and on". Oh of course it does. (eye roll)
    I'm certain I could match you 3 for one on every partisan acivity by the Liberals in comparison to the Conservatives. Besides, "the list going on and on", SO? If you don't like it, - TOUGH!! My guess is you are just a pissed off journalist that's angry because the awful truth has been shoved down his throat. The truth being that the MSM is increasingly irrelevant with every passing year, and increasingly becoming it's own little subculture ever more distant from the public as time goes by.

    I, personally am absolutely DELIGHTED with this "war" on the media and I hope it continues and INCREASES in fervour.

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 10:47:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Journalists are basically people who:
    1 - Are too stupid to be accepted in engineering, computers, or technology careers.

    2 - Lack the work ethic for a trade.

    3 - Haven't the courage, self discipline or civic responsibilty to enter law enforcement or the military.

    4 - Lack the entrepreneurial spirit or risk-taking courage for business.

    5 - Lack the intelligence or compassion to succeed in medicine.

    6 - Lack the people skills and patience to succed in the service sector.

    So they go into journalism so they can sit around and bitch about others and still fool themselves into believing they are being some valuable asset to society.

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 10:52:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    ...and bloggers are people incapable of being hired as professional journalists. What's your point?

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 11:09:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    First of all, after posting something like THAT(!) about journalists what on earth would EVER make you think I (or any other blogger) would ever want to be a journalist? What arrogance! (and stupidity). You seem to think a job in journalism is some sort of prize that everyone is dieing for.

    My point (since you're too dim to grasp it) was that basically journalists are people to who are to stupid, untalented, unskilled, poorly educated, arrogant, lazy, socially inept losers who are incapable of fitting into (much less succeeding) at any other endeavor. So they become journalists so thy can sit around and write snide, holier than thou stories bashing everyone else (but almost NEVER bashing each other I note).

    Like I said I hope this "media war" continues and intensifies. This is going to be fun.

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 11:13:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    BTW Blake, what do you MEAN, "PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST"? There's no such thing. REAL PROFESSIONALS have standards of practice, standards of education & training, ethical standards all of which are enforced by a body of their peers. If a member preached the standards of practice, they can be disciplined. Not journalists however, so really why do you call journalists professional?

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 11:17:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Whoops! Typo! That should read "BREACHED the standards of practice". Good night all, I'm done.

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 11:30:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    "Journalists are basically people who:..."

    Wow, talk about over-generalizations. I agree that many journalists could be better, but I think your assumptions as to why journalists becomes journalists is a little confused. Most become journalists because they actually want to, not because they weren't good enough to do anything else.

     
  • At Wed. Jun. 07, 11:46:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    I don't think it's an "over generalization" at all. I remember in college busting my butt and seeing journalism students tearing off to the bar every night. One of my buddies said "Law & journalism are for people who are too lazy to study hard science". In a story about Law schools a writer for Newsweek called law school " the last refuge for the undecided" I believe these opinions to be true for journalism even miore than law school.
    Journalists people dump all over everyone else with a snide, elitist manner but when you really examine their own knowledge base, there really isn't anything there that's too impressive.

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 01:49:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    "You seem to think a job in journalism is some sort of prize that everyone is dieing for."

    And you seem to not be able to read my point very clearly. It's also refreshing to note that your reading skills are unsurpassed by your own writing efforts, seeing your unusual variant of the word "dying". At any rate, all I was pointing out was, you can slam journalists all you want and say they can't work elsewhere, but what does that say for most bloggers who would never get a second look in an interview for a media position (including yourself)?

    "My point (since you're too dim to grasp it) was that basically journalists are people to who are to stupid, untalented, unskilled, poorly educated, arrogant, lazy, socially inept losers who are incapable of fitting into (much less succeeding) at any other endeavor. So they become journalists so thy can sit around and write snide, holier than thou stories bashing everyone else (but almost NEVER bashing each other I note)."

    But I'm sure they don't include superfluous words like a mispelled "to", which was also misspelled a second time, use two synonyms consecutively like "untalented" and "unskilled" (due, I'd imagine, to lack of literary advancement), misspell "they", and spell "endeavor" in the American manner on a Canadian blog. I'm also sure that somewhere along the line they also learned "hasty generalization" was a logical fallacy.

    Now, I don't mean to be too picky, but the one thing I notice about your entire presentation is a serious knocking on non-hard scientific studies. People who succeed in "hard sciences" (or trades, which I will applaud you for favourably mentioning - bravo, most people forget to do so) are no smarter than people who do in the humanities or social sciences; they're just inclined differently. You assume a physics student is by default more intelligent than a literature student: that is not the case. And, on the converse side, some brilliant hard sciences students I've known can barely utter three words in a foreign language after several semesters of instruction; that's not because they're stupid, it's just because they're not inclined that way. To privilege a certain area of academia over another is little more than mere navel-gazing. It's like saying a point guard in basketball is a better player than a centre, because his ballhandling skills are better than the centre's. Of course, to do that, you have to ignore the ability of the centre to use better footwork, and to create key but almost imperceptible amounts of space with his upper body strength and anticipation, while not seeing his defender, which the 1 could not do.

    Of course, on a blog frequented by conservative Christians, it's unlikely to be noticed by too many of the denizens, due to a substantial lack of familiarity with higher education at all. ;)

    "I remember in college busting my butt and seeing journalism students tearing off to the bar every night."

    Go to the bars around the U of Waterloo sometime and ask the local bars what their favourite faculty is, and most of the bartenders will immediately shout out, "Engineering"!

    "One of my buddies said "Law & journalism are for people who are too lazy to study hard science"."

    Whatever. Put "hard sciences" students in front of a Pushkin poem for half an hour and ask them for their thoughts, and there'd be more blank expressions in that room than at a Barnett Newman exhibition.

    "Journalists people dump all over everyone else with a snide, elitist manner but when you really examine their own knowledge base, there really isn't anything there that's too impressive."

    You know, there's a lot of "knowledge" out there that isn't always found conveniently located at the back of the textbook.

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 02:57:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    "Journalists people dump all over everyone else with a snide, elitist manner but when you really examine their own knowledge base, there really isn't anything there that's too impressive."

    You're describing yourself here, not journalists. And unlike your meandering posts, the point I'm making actually makes sense. Here's how:

    - You've dumped on all journalists, tarring them with the same broad brush. You've done so with cutting, dare I say, "snide" remarks. In addition, you presented journalism in a way that suggests applied trades and science-related fields are somehow better -- or rather, more elite.

    - And when we look at your many posts here, "there really isn't anything there that's too impressive." Taken as a whole, this set of comments was the most unconvincing argument against journalists, or people from any other vocation, that I've ever seen. But I don't see too many of them, since that's kind of a weird thing to waste so much energy on.

    Something that's a lot more entertaining is making fun of people like yourself. I remember sparring with you a bit over at Small Dead Animals. I was far, far nicer at the time, since that was my first exposure to you, and you started off in a friendly enough manner. But the way you bulldozed in here, ranting about hating journalists was really insane.

    Sure, there are plenty of poor or mediocre journalists, but there are also plenty of good and even great ones. Your objectivity has clearly left you, along with your sanity, so I doubt you'd be able to discern this.

    What gets me is how someone could get so incredibly upset over journalists. This is clearly personal. Did Peter Mansbridge screw you out of a job? Did you lose a big bet on Stockwell Day becoming Prime Minister? Are you some fat guy that appeared on the National Enquirer cover? What's driving this agner?

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 08:52:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Yea Dirk, I'd love to know what's driving his "agner" too. ;-)

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 09:05:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Blake, a fine post. I don't have the time this morning to respond adequately. I will later.

    Dirk, I remember you too from SDA. I look forward to continuing our sparring.

    I hope you two (see Blake, two 22222222) gentlemen will be back later.

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 09:22:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    CC:
    Hey now! It was late, and my fingers slipped. :-)

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 10:11:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Were you thinking about "stars" and spaghetti at the time, dirk? ;)

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 11:01:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Sorry, fellows now that the blogs are back on line I have no time this evening to respond tonight. But I WILL catch you later because I LOVE an good scrap (especially with scumbag journalists or their apologists) and I'm certain that's what this is brewing up to be.

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 11:17:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    "But I WILL catch you later because I LOVE an good scrap (especially with scumbag journalists or their apologists) and I'm certain that's what this is brewing up to be."

    And see, I think a good scrap consists of both sides making equally solid points, fully fleshing out their thoughts, and giving a reasonable defense. I'd say this is shaping more to be an epic beat-down than a good scrap, if your first few posts were any indication. ;)

     
  • At Thu. Jun. 08, 11:25:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Aw screw it. I have time for a short response to you both.

    Blake, really is that the best you've got? Your defense is to CORRECT MY SPELLING? Wow! You've really got me on the ropes now. One of the sentences that seems to bother you so musch SHOULD READ "people WHO are TOO ...." There, better now?

    You have made a mistake in believing I was broadly bashing subject that were not "hard sciences". I wasn't. I admit, I appreciate and admire hard sciences more than "softer" academic subjects. This is because hard sciences SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS! Try mending a broken hip by reading 19th century poetry. Try preventing flood waters from destroying a town with a book of Russian literature.

    The fact is hard sciences IMPOSE A DISCIPLINE ON THE STUDENT. Either an equation balances or it does not. There is no arguing that "my view is as good as yours". There is no "seeing another side". You cannot debate an equation. You either have the knowledge and skills to perform the task or you don't PERIOD. Now, you can't deny that there are people who enter the study of these subject because they are adverse to the discipline of the hard sciences. They like to discuss and endlessly (and uselessly) debate about angels on pinheads while trying desperately to sound as intellectual as possible. (Kind of like you two).

    Now, this response has gone on long enough and I have to go. I will be back tomorrow, however, to continue this.

    P.S. Blake I notice you did't have much to say about your loose definition of "professional journalist". I really hope you say something now because I can't wait to tackle THAT!

     
  • At Fri. Jun. 09, 09:15:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Another quick word Blake, untalented and unskilled are not necessarily synonyms. People CAN be both. I would have thought YOU of all people would know that fact.

    Ok, got to go. Be back later.

     
  • At Fri. Jun. 09, 09:26:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    John:
    I can understand why you have such a tough time appreciating journalists, given that your reading comprehension is so poor.

    "Your defense is to CORRECT MY SPELLING?"
    That was but a single example of hundreds of spelling and grammar errors in your post. The point behind grammar and spelling rules are to ensure that everyone reading and writing the same language are playing by the same rules, so that clear communication can be possible. You don't seem to know or understand those rules, which makes your arguments either weak, nonexistent, or indecipherable.

    I realize you didn't have time to respond, but you didn't respond to the points either Blake or I made about the overall weakness of your position. I'll again summarize your points:
    - I hate journalists.
    - All journalists are lazy bastards. In school, they were always at the bar.
    - Journalists do nothing more than character assasinations.

    These are all crazy arguments, since it ignores the fact that there are tons of good, even great journalists who do us a lot of good in keeping us informed about the state of our democracy. Here are some examples:
    - Paul Wells. He writes for Macleans. His blog there has turned into must reading for anyone who is serious about following federal canadian politics.
    - Chantal Hebert. She writes for the Star. She's the most authoratative voice on issues involving Quebec.

    I could come up with more examples, but even one example is enough to refute your across the board slam. Both of these journalists are respected across the board, and almost always have interesting things to say about the state of politics in Canada.

    Now, back to you.

    "You have made a mistake in believing I was broadly bashing subject that were not "hard sciences". I wasn't."
    It sounded like you did. And you do it again here. But if you don't mean it, that's because you don't write well and don't think clearly.

    Here's an example:
    "I admit, I appreciate and admire hard sciences more than "softer" academic subjects. This is because hard sciences SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS!"
    The arts involve real problems as well. The broken hip you mentioned had to be repaired by a doctor who had to study textbooks that were written by people that had to be taught how to write. The study of English, while it's an Arts discipline, is certainly useful when it comes to solving problems. Like, for instance teaching people how to communicate.

    More silliness:
    "The fact is hard sciences IMPOSE A DISCIPLINE ON THE STUDENT."
    I have two undergrad university degrees: an arts degree and an applied science degree. I can tell you from first-hand experience that what you've just said is complete bullshit. The skills required in each discipline are different. Please notice the emphasis. Another word for "area of study" is "discipline". Why? Because every discipline involves just that: a specific set of skills used in controlled ways to understand and solve problems in a particular area of study.

    You've brought up math, for instance as being a cut and dried discipline: "Either an equation balances or it does not. There is no arguing that "my view is as good as yours"." This tells me you haven't gone very far in your math studies, because there's tons of uncertainty: irrational numbers, N-P Complete equations, etc.. Every discipline has its controversies, where people that know what they're doing debate the finer points of a discipline.

    You've also brought up the study of language as being a more vague endeavor. Again, I disagree. If we were to take your ramblings into any English faculty in Canada they would all say your writing is terrible. My point is that critiquing writing is not as vague as you're suggesting. You will find broad agreement on whether or not a piece of writing is well-crafted, or not.

    "You either have the knowledge and skills to perform the task or you don't PERIOD.
    To sum up, this statement applies to every discipline.

    You may disagree, and say that the arts disciplines are not useful, but to do so would mean one of two things:
    - ignorance: that you don't know what the arts disciplines offer society.
    - foolishness: that you do know what the arts disciplines offer society, but you don't think things like communication, and understanding human behaviour are important.

     
  • At Fri. Jun. 09, 10:08:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    I think I somewhat understand what John's trying to say about the Social Sciences, though I disagree with the conculsion.

    I had (and somewhat still do) a view that the "Hard sciences" are not being pushed as they ought to be, and our society is suffering as a result. We have plenty of people with "do nothing" degrees, many of them being "general arts and sciences"... jacks of all trades, but masters of none. I seem to encounter them all the time... people with a piece of paper that says they're smart, but don't (appear to) contribute much to society. It's a riot sometimes seeing these people in debates on TV, where they have degrees up the wazoo, and like John said, all they do is debate endlessly, and don't seem to offer any realistic solutions to our daily problems. (yes, I am talking mostly about the way left bleeding-heart Dippers... you know, the ones who said "the sky is falling!" when Stephen Harper won the election...)

    Then again, I knew a guy with a "hard sciences" degree (chemistry) who couldn't find work... so I ended up being his T.A. at college, where he was coming back to get a two year diploma for Computer Support. (weird, teaching people anywhere from two years my junior to 20 years my senior... no joke!) So a "Hard sciences" education isn't the be all and end all of education... it depends where the jobs are.

    Within the I.T. world, we call people like that "paper MCSE's"... people with their official Microsoft Certification, who don't have a CLUE how the systems work in the real world. I've actually been barred from applying for jobs because I don't have the piece of paper, yet when I've been compared side by side experience-wise, I've kicked their butts. (wow, that ended up bit off the beaten path there, sorry)

    Okay, this comment is all over the map. I'll just leave it out there as cannon fodder...

     
  • At Fri. Jun. 09, 01:22:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Dirk already took that hanging curveball you tossed and crushed it out of the park, but I'll chip in a few thoughts as well.

    "This is because hard sciences SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS!"

    So, theory of language and literature solves no real problems? Tell that to language teachers. Political science solves no real problems? You wouldn't be on this blog if you thought that. Economics solves no real problems? Ditto. Psychology solves no problems? I don't even have to explore that one. Commerce solves no real problems? Again, kinda important. Arts solves no real problems? If you only equate "real" with "physical" and "financial", maybe not: but people who are taught to think broadly and properly in society are never too highly represented.

    Again, you couldn't last half an hour in most literature classes I've taken. And that's not a slam on you or the hard sciences, it is a simple recognition that they are actual disciplines, there are accepted ways to think and respond to what you read in literature as agreed upon by the scholarly community. You seem to think it's all done on an ad hoc basis, which just further demonstrates your ignorance on the subject.

    "Now, you can't deny that there are people who enter the study of these subject because they are adverse to the discipline of the hard sciences. They like to discuss and endlessly (and uselessly) debate about angels on pinheads while trying desperately to sound as intellectual as possible. (Kind of like you two)."

    Looks like someone didn't ever take a logic class, judging by their use of hasty generalization, and doesn't like to admit that some people do a general B.Sc. because they couldn't hack arts, which is also true. They can't learn a new language. They can't appreciate literature, kind of like Debris Trail. They can't find symbols and interpret them in paintings or sculptures. They simply can't. Are they stupid? No. Just not inclined that way. But they can go through sciences and math sufficiently to graduate, so they do.

    "Blake I notice you did't have much to say about your loose definition of "professional journalist". I really hope you say something now because I can't wait to tackle THAT!"

    What do you want me to say? This definition may be a bit passé due to the existance of more independent media, but I'd say a professional journalist is an individual in a journalistic employment subject to peer scrutiny and who abides by journalistic ethics.

     
  • At Fri. Jun. 09, 07:58:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous John said…

    Dirk, Blake I (dammit I HATE saying this). I surrender. You win. I cannot counter your arguements. You have raised so many excellent points that I find myself at a loss.

    Dirk, I will admit there ARE journalists that don't deserve to be smeared with the brush I used. My dislike for this group of people is so overwhelming however, that I always forget the few ones that derserve respect.

    Blake, your comments on economics, political science and comments are fair enough (and unfotunately for me I admit - - on the money - damn!) (Although psychology to me seems a stretch).

    Ok guys you have won this battle. Thanks Blake & Dirk. I will use your comments to improve my presentation and return again some other time on another topic.
    Have a good day.

    P.S. 90% of journalists, my opinion are STILL lazy, drunk, overbearing dicks.

     
  • At Fri. Jun. 09, 10:22:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    John:

    It ended up being a good conversation, and you're ending it like a gentleman, with us all being able to walk away having had reasonably intelligent discourse. Good session, everybody: I look forward to the next one.

     
  • At Sat. Jun. 17, 10:35:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just happened upon this blog by accident. After spending about 20 minutes reading posts and replies something hit me;there is nothing in here that indicates any understanding of the need to build a broadly based social consensus that can allow Canada to address badly needed economic reform and acheive higher and sustainable growth levels. Its just more of the same old story:left clubs right;right clubs left; the centre clubs everyone else who in turn club the centre.And we will always be hewers of wood and drawers of water as a result. Thank God for the Athabaska Tar Sands.This resource can give us a decent national income for 500 years and we won't have to do any real thinking until that runs out. Meanwhile let the petty and idiotic political games continue!

     

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