Whoring with the Ottawa press gallery.

You used to be able to take a story to the Press Gallery bar. It was right there on Wellington across from the Houses of Parliament. The drink prices were reasonable. You met on the media’s turf. The conversations were relaxed and casual. It was a convivial relationship back then.

It is no longer convivial. Today, a public relations person willing to buy the drinks and with a story to tell is suspect. The atmosphere in Ottawa is more confrontational. The government and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are now in the propaganda business. The media can buy into it or bug out. Compromise is impossible.

Look at the incident with the Chinese reporter at the end of that “news event” travesty across the Arctic with the Hair, the hairdresser and the PMO. The tame and cowed news media had been told that they would be allowed five questions at the end of the Prime Minister’s non-news conference. It was agreed among the media that they would let the Chinese reporter ask his question as they were also curious about the possible answer.

They did not count on the discrimination and lack of common sense by the Prime Minister’s propagandists. They not only denied the Chinese reporter his question but sent a woman to tell him to get out of line where he was waiting patiently to ask his question. Current media chief in the PMO Andrew MacDougall still has a lot to learn about international media. Canadian reporters might be whores but they also have no concept of ‘face.’ To this Chinese gentleman, the loss of face in this situation was the equivalent of emasculating him. He had every right to be damn mad.

And the RCM Police should have stayed out of it. They had no right to manhandle the reporter away from what was left of the non-news conference. They had the good sense to let the gentleman go once he had calmed down but the damage was already done. They had aided and abetted totalitarianism with a person who knew all about that type of system. RCM Police who we used to work with showed better judgement.

And goodbye, Mr. MacDougall. Your replacement at the PMO will probably be just as ignorant as you. Treat the Canadian media people as whores if you wish. We should warn your replacement though that people sometimes find ways of evening the score with those who mistreat them.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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