Thursday, May 25, 2006

Missteps

Despite my belief that Harper is a very smart and calculating guy, and that almost everything he does is strategic in nature, I think that he has seriously misstepped by virtually declaring war on the press gallery. It may bring him some short-term success (maybe; I don't really see how, but maybe he does) but it can lead to nothing but long term pain for the Conservatives in general and Harper in particular.

The last thing you want is for the media to hate you. He had them eating out of the palm of his hand in the last campaign, and that's no small reason why he won. If this isn't a strategic misstep, then it is just his own petulance and childishness - for which he has a striking reputation - acting in a much less deliberate way.

Either way, it hurts him. Not now, but come campaign time, the media is not going to forget what Harper thinks of them. He will pay dearly for slighting them in such an insulting way.

3 Comments:

At 5/25/2006 7:17 p.m., Anonymous ryan said...

By declaring war on the media, in the long run Harper sets up a strategy of spinning any negative commentary on the biases of his media enemies. This has been established in the US with great success by Harper's ideological counterparts, where the news is completely split between some organizations that report the news and other organizations that report what the Republicans would like the news to be.

In trying to establish similar success, Harper needs to convince his supporters that the media is out to get him -- so when a real scandal breaks he can just revert to his previous statements and suggest that the problems are just illusions of Liberal spin. Canada already has CPC friendly media outlets in newpaper and television form, and Harper is attempting to give them an excuse split from reality much like their US counterparts.

So it's not that Harper will pay in the long run -- we all will.

 
At 5/28/2006 9:25 a.m., Blogger DPW said...

Last week, in London, Ontario, Harper displayed a tactic he has used before. Shun the national media and give am exclusive to a local TV station or newspaper.

The local media are generally star-struck by the PM and his entourage - a far cry from covering the school board, city council and grand openings of big-box chain stores they usually handle. Station management is mezmerised by the "exclusive".

Not meant to fault them, but the local interviwers lack the background to ask probing questions so it is like the slwo-balls government MPs lob in Question Period when a minister wants to talk about how well he is doing.

In this forum, with no one challenging him or expressing alternate positions, Harper controls the agends, looks reasonable, blah blah.

Fortunately, this stuff is only broadcast locally and he has to do a lot of it to cover the nation. CBC/CTV/Global national news won't carry the fluff. And when the election campaign starts, it will be the spurned national media and Ottawa press gallery staff who will be proving the 24-7 coverage.

 
At 5/31/2006 11:58 p.m., Blogger Carrie said...

Coming into this late but the London Free Press blasted Harper after his visit. No less than 3 columns devoted to criticizing Harper AND his supporters. I was very surprised by it actually. But happy they did it. It's a Sun paper so they have been pro-Conservative on everything most of the time.

Anyway, I blogged some links on the local coverage.

 

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