Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Questions so PM Can Play Ping Pong?

Not taking questions on local matters? Not supporting your own local candidate's "promise" of federal funding? Reprimanding veterans who volunteer their time on your own campaign? Cutting off questions so you can go for a photo op playing ping pong? Is that a way to conduct a job interview or to connect to Canadians?

This is a small local story but very telling. The over-the-top control and national "bubble" campaign is quickly becoming a side story the Conservatives would rather not have, especially in the first week of the campaign when Ignatieff is quickly closing the gap.

Here's the video. The transcript and details follow below. The really interesting bit comes at about the 3:00 mark.

The story was about a local Conservative candidate advocating on local issues and promising to bring federal funding for an overpass to ease traffic congestion. He's made that promise for the last three elections.

So the feisty local reporter, Shachi Kurl of AiChannel News, asked Harper about this local/national issue and whether the Prime Minister supported his own candidate's promise. Harper totally dodged the question naturally.

And that's when the reporting starts to get interesting.

Shachi Kurl (reporting): We would have liked to ask the Prime Minister a little, OK, a lot more about these issues, but local reporters were told by the national campaign 'Sorry, only time for one local question.' Harper had to go. He was off to a photo op... playing ping pong. [...]

Hudson Mack: Shachi Kurl joins us now with more. Shachi, there's been criticism of the Conservatives in the past for running a so-called "bubble" campaign, very tightly controlled. Describe your experience with the Prime Minister today.

SK: Well, Hudson, the event that we showed you just now was in Saanich, but myself and other local based media were told to report to a hotel in Sydney at 8 am. We then sat around for an hour. We weren't told how many events were planned. We weren't told where we were going. Only that we had to go by bus. And when we were finally able to pry a little bit of information out of a local volunteer, a retired veteran no less, I watched as a young staffer reprimanded this man for just a snippet of how the morning went. I'll leave our viewers to draw their own conclusions, Hudson.

The Harper campaign has made it very clear that they think a reporter is biased if they don't kowtow to their talking points. They've made a big deal about "going beyond" the mainstream media "directly to the local media". And this is how they do it? It ain't workin' folks.

{Video by ANewsVanIsland}

h/t RedTory

Please send LVD your political and news videos and clips.

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