Beat the Press: Harper's Tough Guy Approach Is Working

As badly as the American press leans leftward, the Canadian press is actually worse in its bias against things conservative. That's ironic since Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, is actually a conservative which has caused a good amount of friction with intolerant liberals up north.

Facing an entire press corps as impartial as Keith Olbermann, Harper has had no choice but to play tough with reporters who despise him, snubbing their little award ceremonies, and denouncing their desire to pontificate at news conferences. "They don't ask questions at my press conferences," he said in May.

The Grits' (Liberal) press arm retaliated, launching a boycott of his news conferences. Being reporters, though, their staying power was rather limited (h/t Small Dead Animals):

With a whimper it was over.

As of today, The Parliamentary Press
Gallery has called off its five-month-old boycott of Prime Minister
Stephen Harper's news conferences.

Officially, its only a
temporary suspension of the boycott to let Harper think about the error
of his ways and to reach a new protocol for holding press conferences.
But the PPG members know the jig's up.

The Press Gallery decided
in April to show Harper who was boss on Parliament Hill. When the PM
insisted that reporters put their names on a list to ask questions at
news conferences, they rebelled. No frickin' way were they going to
submit to a process that let the PM pick and choose, they proclaimed.

What
kind of dictatorship was Harper running anyway. The Press Gallery
represented the people, not the duly elected government. Didn't the
Conservatives know that?

The only problem was that the people didn't give a hoot about the PPG boycott.

And
two weeks ago, the boycott split like a ripe tomato. Four reporters
decided that bringing more details about the softwood lumber deal was
more important to the public than a useless fight about a list. Peter
O'Neil of the Vancouver Sun, Mark Kennedy of the Ottawa Citizen, Joel
Denis Bellavance of La Presse and Randall Palmer of Reuters told the
PMO: Put us on the list.

Stephen Harper phoned each of the reporters and they got exclusive interviews. [see post for links to their stories]

Are you watching this, Tony Snow?

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013