PM Stephen Harper really is taking all his cues from the George W. Bush School of Media Manipulation, Bullying and Childish, Petulant Whining, isn't he?
PM fires another salvo at the press
Stephen Harper's dispute with the Parliamentary Press Gallery escalated yesterday when he reluctantly ceded control over which journalists could ask about his proposed federal accountability act -- and then took questions from just two of them.
The skirmish began when the press gallery stated its intention to set up two microphones at a morning news conference in the House of Commons lobby. That arrangement would have allowed reporters to determine who could ask questions and in what order. Mr. Harper's press assistant has made those choices ever since the Tories took office.
Some members of the media say that if the Prime Minister's Office controls who gets to ask questions, they won't call on reporters whose stories they don't like.
But Mr. Harper refused to give up the right to pick the questioners. So the news conference was moved down the hall, to a stifling space about the size of a large bedroom, and 128 reporters crammed inside.
Well, that's mature.
Members of the press refused to put their name on the Prime Minister's list ...
Good for them.
... and, instead, formed their own line behind a microphone. They were initially told that Mr. Harper would allow no questions under those circumstances but, after giving his opening remarks, he relented.
OK, so ... everything under control and life is back to being fair, right? Not fucking likely:
The Prime Minister took two questions from the first journalist at the microphone then pointed to Tim Naumetz, a CanWest reporter who was seated and unaware of the line-up protocol. Mr. Naumetz stood to ask his question but was loudly chastised by the reporters around him.
"That's what the line-up's about," said one who was standing near the mike.
Mr. Harper was not dissuaded. "Go ahead, Tim. If you want a question, you can," he said. The reporters complained again.
"That's fine. I asked Tim to ask me a question. Go ahead Tim, if you want," replied Mr. Harper. The reporters complained a third time.
"Tim, do you want to ask a question or not?"
Mr. Naumetz started to sit down. "Well, I wasn't aware that there was a line," he explained.
Finally the Prime Minister turned to the first reporter behind the microphone but, after she asked three questions, he abruptly left the room.
In unrelated news, the Canadian wankersphere continued crowing about their party's commitment to openness, accountability and transparency.