HuffPo shows its cards

Here’s the latest leftwing click-bait from the Huffington Post on offer today,

Stephen Harper’s Wireless Petition Probably Just Trolling For Your Personal Data

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants you to know he’s on your side in the epic battle of consumers against Big Telecom’s big wireless bills.
 
Or maybe it’s the Conservative Party trying to get your name and email address, so they can spam you with political ads.
 
Either way, a post appeared on Harper’s Facebook page Wednesday linking to a Conservative Party petition called “Standing Up For Wireless Consumers.”
 
The Facebook post urges people to “sign the petition if you believe Canadians will benefit from more choice and greater competition among wireless providers.”

Oh, is that so? Here’s Marc Garneau’s Liberal Party data-collection petition on Usage Based Billing. Huffington Post stories about the Liberal Party’s creepy data collection efforts? 0.

And here’s an NDP petition (data collection website) against extra fees on cellphone bills. Huffington Post cynicism about political outreach by the NDP? Non-existent.

I tried to find a Green Party petition on wireless usage, but my wifi signal gave out.

Here, Huffington Post writes about Avaaz’s data-collection website for collecting the email addresses of Sun News haters. As a cynical news story about the political process of issue identification and data collection? No! It was written as a news story about the critiques of Sun News.

There is a trend among Ottawa journalists to write about the political processes as if they were recently unearthed from some dank pit from behind Karl Rove’s creepy house (the one with the unhinged screen door that has the tear). These tried-and-true political tactics are repackaged to ignorant readers in an alarm-raising tone.

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives do GOTV?

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives keep a database of their supporters?

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives call people to identify their levels of support?

BREAKING NEWS! Conservatives use American-style robocalls!

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives use social advertising on segments to test messaging?

BREAKING NEWS! Did you know that Conservatives use petitions to do issue identification?

BREAKING NEWS! Any political party that hopes to win an election in the modern era will do all of the above.

BREAKING NEWS! Obama does it too? Well, nevermind then. He’s doing the best he can.

This town is sick

In the news todaya taxpayer-funded CBC panelist, HuffPo journalist, and Trudeau biographer,

with notes from a taxpayer-funded partisan Liberal research bureau,

writes a story about taxpayer-funded Conservative partisans,

on direction from the taxpayer-funded Prime Minister’s Office,

protesting this previously alluded-to taxpayer-funded politician,

on his transparency pledge that omits his private business which raised money from taxpayer-funded charities.

The protest was done in order to change the channel on this taxpayer-funded politician’s taxpayer-funded housing allowance,

though another taxpayer-cheating Senator,

may be welcome back in a tax-exempt political party that issues 75% tax deductions on amounts donated,

to direct taxpayer-funded partisans to protest, like they did against this taxpayer-funded politician,

who once cheekily posed with taxpayer-funded partisans,

protesting a tax on everything.

Theresa Spence ends — whatever it was she was doing

Notice the difference between how CTV and CBC are reporting the story. Today, CBC was still calling this farce a “hunger strike”.

CTV labels Theresa Spence’s protest a “liquid-only diet”
CBC calls Theresa Spence’s protest a “hunger strike”

From the pages of Nature’s Climate Change Journal

Nature Climate Change,

Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.

So here we learn that “deniers” aren’t dumb or scientifically illiterate. But one rhetorically wonders which group they refer to that suffers from a “distinctive conflict of interest” that is driven by “personal interest” that “individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties.”

This from the peer-reviewed journal of the prestigious Nature Publishing Group.

We get letters!

From a senior Conservative on the Hill:

Liberal Meme Watch

Liberal Meme: Stephen Harper is not the internationalist that Michael Ignatieff is, the latter more worldly, well-traveled and well-lettered. Stephen Harper has tarnished Canada’s reputation on the international stage through a style that eschews Canada’s traditional “nuanced” approach and “honest-broker” status.

Today’s sighting of this Liberal meme: Susan Delacourt’s blog

Susan Delacourt publishes screenshots from the UN webcast and CTV newsnet that show the differences between the audiences that Stephen Harper, Barack Obama and the President of Switzerland received at the UN. As you can see from Delacourt’s blog, PM Harper’s speech wasn’t very well attended while Obama’s speech and that of the Swiss President were packed.

You see, as the tipster (one presumes) that sent Susan the screenshots would argue, Michael Ignatieff would have packed the house and could convince the world to welcome Canada back to the the cocktail parties in midtown Manhattan!

However, the presumed tipster neglected to send other screenshots of the audiences received by other leaders. These pictures would have helped put things in more context:


China – a permanent member of the UN security council and most populous nation


Iraq – certainly the focus of much international attention over the past few years


Malawi – larger audience. Why? Switzerland preceded Obama’s speech and Malawi followed it. (delegates were probably still gathering their briefcases before ditching the Malawi speech)

So the audience sizes are more related to the ability of the US to draw a crowd. Isn’t context important? If Canada was snubbed, was China snubbed, was Iraq snubbed?

Most notable previous use of the media to falsely push this Liberal meme: Stephen Harper snubbed at the White House! (do check out the link)

You can almost sense the Ignatieff envy.

Journalist shows up at wrong event, writes juicy story for Ottawa reporters

One of the favourite narratives of the Ottawa media is that the Prime Minister doesn’t talk to them on enough occasions. This, of course lazily and unfairly extends to “doesn’t talk to reporters”. However, while some in Ottawa may yearn for more face-time with the PM, the PM’s comms focus has always prioritized local and regional news to get the story told outside of the “Ottawa bubble” and outside of the pack mentality of some in the Ottawa press gallery.

Yet, here’s a local reporter, getting a lot of buzz in Ottawa this morning among my fellow flacks and hacks on Twitter. Brad Bird’s story about a Prime Ministerial “snub” at a shellfish research centre in BC fits the Ottawa press narrative but has me a bit puzzled because it goes against the PMO local media outreach strategy. Or does it? Local reporter Brad Bird wrote,

For the media it was an odd dance, since no talking with the PM was permitted, and he allowed but that single comment to acknowledge them, during the quarter-hour allowed.

“Give ya 30 bucks if ya ask a question,” one scribe said to another. But it wasn’t that easy. He was too far away for that, and engaged with others. Interrupting would have been rude.

Reporters gathered for an event and no questions? Why? Here’s the event notice from the PMO that went out to all reporters,

September 7, 2010
Ottawa, Ontario

Public events for Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Wednesday, September 8th are:

Deep Bay, British Columbia

1:00 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will Tour the Vancouver Island University Centre for Shellfish Research. He will be joined by James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni.

Vancouver Island University
Deep Bay Field Station
Deep Bay, British Columbia

*Photo Opportunity Only

There are no questions at photo ops of course, but can we really have a PM that only does photo ops? Oh wait. There were two media avails later that day. From the same notice,

Nanaimo, British Columbia

3:00 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make an announcement at Nanaimo’s Cruise Ship Berth. He will be joined by Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway; and James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni.

Nanaimo Port Authority – Assembly Wharf
11 Port Way
Nanaimo, British Columbia

*Open to Media

NOTES:

• Media are required to present proper identification for accreditation.

Victoria, British Columbia

6:00 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver remarks. He will be joined by Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway; and Gary Lunn, Minister of State for Sport.

Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University
2005 Sooke Road
Victoria, British Columbia

*Open to media

NOTES:

• Media are required to present proper identification for accreditation.

From Bird’s article,

This wasn’t Jean Chretien, who enjoyed engaging with media.

Chretien would come over and talk to us. Sometimes he’d get all choked up about it, or someone else would, he was that intimate.

If Bird remembers the days of Chretien, surely he’s enough of a press vet to know the difference between a photo op and a media avail?

UPDATE (2/25/2011): Brad Bird sends me an email and I’ve received his permission to publish it below.

CBC vandalizes Wikipedia too

One of the stories raging in the Canadian blogosphere today is the Toronto Star’s Wikipedia edit of Rob Ford’s Wikipedia page linking readers to a parody site of the candidate for mayor of Toronto. BCF has the run-down.

I decided to check up on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to see what sorts of edits their staff have made.

First, the IP address 159.33.10.92 belongs to the CBC.

Someone at the CBC has edited an article on George Soros to make the following changes to the text:

It seems that the CBC employee doubts the “official” story.

Further, what does a CBCer think of CTV’s Ben Mulroney, son of Fifth Estate star (and former PM) Brian Mulroney?

Ouch.

Follow-up on Winnipeg Free Press vs. Vic Toews

A few days ago, I wrote an article outlining a smear by the Winnipeg Free Press against Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. The WFP went after Toews for “not disclos[ing] $18,000 in annual pension payments as required by law in a conflict-of-interest declaration for the public registry he personally signed.”

A letter from the Ethics Commissioner states, “In the spring of 2006, Minister Toews disclosed to our Office his pension rights under the Government of Manitoba Civil Service Superannuation plan.”

So why has the Winnipeg Free Press not retracted their article? The disclosure was made and the rules were followed as they existed as are being followed as they read this current day according to Toews’ staff.

Toews’ office has asked the WFP to correct and retract the article which they have not done.

Here is a letter from that office to the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press that was forwarded to me.

Hi [Editor of WFP — name withheld] –

The fact of this matter remains that the Winnipeg Free Press decided to run a misleading and false article this past Friday. This is unacceptable. The WFP’s refusal to acknowledge this troubling reality is an affront to the ethical standard of journalism deserved by its readership.

Alleging the Minister failed to disclose is in direct conflict with the lead statement by the Ethics Commissioner stating otherwise (“In the spring of 2006, Minister Toews disclosed to our Office his pension rights under the Government of Manitoba Civil Service Superannuation plan”). It is also clear from the Ethics Commissioner’s statement that the administrative oversight was that of the Ethics Commissioner – not Minister Toews (“Due to an administrative oversight on the part of our Office, the documents sent to Minister Toews for his review did not reflect the information he had provided to our Office with respect to the receipt of pension income from September 2007 onward, although they did make reference to pension rights from the Government of Manitoba”).

I’ll note that these are both facts communicated by our Office (“As confirmed by the Office of the Ethics Commissioner, Minister Toews disclosed the existence of Government of Manitoba pension income in 2006”) and the Ethics Commissioner (“Margot Booth, manager of communications for the ethics commissioner’s office, said she could not comment specifically on Toews’ situation other than to say a misunderstanding or administrative error could explain why information was missing on the public registry”) by deadline on Thursday.

Despite this, the WFP decided to allege: “Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has not disclosed $18,000 in annual pension payments as required by law in a conflict-of-interest declaration for the public registry he personally signed”). http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/mps-pension-not-listed-on-registry-98586379.html?viewAllComments=y

I will not be amending my comments. They are accurate. We have always been clear that Minister Toews has disclosed all property to the Ethics Commissioner, including a pension related to prior employment outside of politics, as required. These disclosures were first made in 2006 and this disclosure has been acknowledged by the Ethics Commissioner.

Best,
Chris [McCluskey]
[Communications, Public Safety]