“Rather than getting your facts from the media, get them from your MLA”1
Now, if you’ve read my second post about how the media has played a large role in Alberta politics and done your home work by reading Professor Epp’s 1984 paper on the relationship between Premier Lougheed and the media, you would have read that along with advising his MLAs to get cozy with journalists and editorialists, Mr Lougheed also became less and less available to the media himself. Why would he? Why take the chance of a stumble when your MLAs were available. They read from your script with no harm to yourself if the masses happen to turn on you. (Well, maybe not Tom Sindlinger. Goodbye Tom) What script? The PCAA set up their own media relations department that would spread the “word” to all corners of the province via the MLAs which the media, both print and broadcast, would pick up as “news” and repeat to the people of Alberta. Pretty slick I think. The government writes it’s own news. Under pressure of time constraints and laziness by the media we learned what our government was doing straight from the government, written by the government. The media seemed to be doing their job but in reality they were being used by the government of Alberta and being used willingly. (It’s called copy and paste now.) I should mention here that there was the odd journalist who either took his/her job seriously or wasn’t a fan of the PCAA, who wrote a scorching article or two but these people were seen as malcontents by their peers and the public or worse yet NDP/Liberal shills and dismissed because the majority of the “news” was positive.
Things changed with the premiership of Don Getty. It can be summed up by a comment in Wikipedia “a photographer captured a shot of Getty playing golf while his press secretary had said that he was “working out of the office”. This was typical of his strained relationship with the media”2 I don’t think anyone can imagine the media would have dared to make Lougheed look bad in public.
Ralph and the media had a love hate relationship. I say Ralph because Ralph was the PCs. He took command and did what he had to do to correct Alberta’s coming train wreck due to the Lougheed and Getty years. So much oil revenue money and so much waste. Most of us remember the Klein years and his relationship with the media. Some good. Some bad.
Ed Stelmach will be a blip in Alberta’s political history. The media, needless to say was no friend of Ed’s. But, what did happen was that Ed, instead of just being a Red Tory like Peter and Don were who ran the party like the Federal Liberals did, Ed made a sharp left. And whether the MLAs who were left just wanted to keep those cheques coming in or were truly farther left than we really knew the Blue in the party faded. Stelmach’s money grab from the oil companies was a disaster for Albertas economy. It worked out well for BC and Saskatchewan but the Red Tories blew it to the point that the Wildrose was allowed to flourish and get it’s legs under them.
Here we are in the present. Ms Redford has stopped into to have a private talk with the Alberta Teachers’ Union and left a cheque for $107M behind.3 What would you do if someone left a cheque like that for you and maybe suggested that for a mere $5.00 you could become a PC member and if you wanted you could vote at the Alberta PROGRESSIVE convervative PARTY LEADERSHIP convention.
For me the little move of getting in bed with a union was the end of my PC voting days. To me that was the way the Liberals, NDP, BC and eastern Canada did their politics. But that wasn’t the end though. After that there was the first responder WCB photo op, the $500 tax write off for, guess who, the teachers, a renegotiation, just days prior to the writ being dropped, with the AMA. Ms Redford reminded me of a bumble bee pollinating flowers. She was everywhere,from Calgary to Edmonton pollinating Alberta unions (Today June 8, 2012 we find that she also had a meeting with the G<ransgender Association and promised them that transgender operations would again be paid for by the tax payer. (Heard on QR77 radio June 8, 2012) Did anyone read anything about that or hear a news broadcast prior to or during the election? Nope.
One of PCAAs biggest cheerleaders during the 2012 election was one Robert Remington of the Calgary Herald. This “journalist” and I use that word tongue in cheek, wrote op eds, tweeted and cried because Wildrose supporters had the audacity to disagree with him.”The media control freaks of the Wildrose Party strike again“.4 This journalist went so far as to not so shyly taking credit for Redford’s victory. Oh he said it was one of his co workers that said it but he did take credit because he didn’t write anything good about the Wildrose for 4 weeks. Now that’s something to be proud of, eh Robert? Here’s one I particularly like: “seeing as though nobody else can explain with any certainty what happened on election night, and given the preponderance of comment that the media were all fools, I am going to take full credit for laying waste to the Wildrose party”5 The one statement he makes about media I do agree with. But, he shouldn’t include Licia Corbella, Don Braid, Lorne Gunter and a very few others as fools because he’s not in their league at all. Remington plays the fool quite well all on his own. Well maybe not. But that’s for another day. To continue about Robert the Wildrose Slayer.
The following are blogs that Remington wrote during the election:
- Remington feels that when an accusation or misrepresentation is made by the media and WR send out a press release to present the facts…..they are attack dogs
- Remington writes that Wildrose plan to grow the Heritage Fund to $200B is a fantasy. He’s found two bloggers who aren’t economists and Jack Mintz who says it is doable as long as the government would follow fiscal discipline to population growth and inflation. As of June 8, 2012 with a PCAA government we see that would be impossible. As for a Wildrose Fantasy Fund, Remington is full of it.
- Remington writes his next blog which is pure blather. It is full of sarcasm and does nothing but show his ignorance and his jealousy of a popular leader and possibly that he wrote the blog in a bar.
- Remington writes that the Wildrose are “an angry radical rump, throwbacks to an era that will do this province more harm than good with xenophobic, parochial policies.
-Remington admits that the PCAA need to be slapped up the side of the head but then goes on to say that the WR would set the province back 20 years. I assume he is talking about Ralph and his tight fiscal policies. What he doesn’t mention is that those policies needed to be implemented because of the Lougheed and Getty years. We only had 4 years of deficit spending prior to the last election. With 4 more years staring us in the face it will be a lot tougher this time than it was after the Getty years. He also doesn’t mention PCAA corruption in any of his blogs. Another piece of sarcasm because on April 21, 2012 he had thrown in the towel.
This is just one of 3 people writing for the Calgary Herald who at every turn did everything he could to bad mouth the Wildrose Party, Danielle Smith and it’s members. In addition to these blogs he was very active on twitter and for 4 weeks straight he found every bit of negativity he could hyperlink.
While reading John Winslow’s musings on what went wrong and why we lost a fantastic chance to get rid of a party that is rotten to the core. He mused that during the next election the media should be frozen out. From Vancouver to Toronto every left wing paper had not one positive article about the Wildrose except for one. There was plenty of naval gazing but nothing positive. That would also include the broadcast media. Watching the evening news night after night it was like “Groundhog Day”. For almost the whole last week CFCN led their news cast off with Hunsperger and Leech.
---- Footnotes ----
- The Lougheed Government And The Media: News Management In The Alberta Political Environment http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/338 [↩]
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Getty [↩]
- http://www.stephentaylor.ca/2011/10/how-did-alison-redford-win/ [↩]
- http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2012/04/01/thin-skinned-wildrose-bullies-attack-the-media-again/ [↩]
- http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Remington+election+Alison+Redford/6531403/story.html#ixzz1wOfERHac [↩]