The state broadcaster is at it again with it’s disgraceful propaganda. CBC’s “The National” — pathetically in third place in the TV ratings for a Canadian nightly news broadcast, despite being given a $1.2 billion advantage over its competitors courtesy of taxpayers — disgustingly neglected to report on the conviction of former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff on Friday.
(The only time Wynne and the OLP seem to make the CBC’s nightly news is when they’re championing some socialist agenda like the minimum wage or their aides are acquitted on charges.)
It’s not every day a former premier’s top aide is criminally convicted over the deletion of public records revealing the Ontario Liberal Party canceled two gas plants, estimated to cost upwards of $1.1 billion overall to taxpayers, all in the self-interest of saving a few Liberal seats. But the CBC doesn’t have time for THAT! No, Friday was such a wild news day that they just couldn’t possibly fit a report on something that is so like 2012 news. Not that the OLP’s gas plant scandal was ever considered much of a story even then by the CBC. No, you see, Liberals can burn money with impunity as far as CBC is concerned, just so long as CBC is still overfed at the taxpayer trough. CBC, back around the same time as the gas plant scandal, instead focused on Nigel Wright cutting a $90,000 check for Senator Mike Duffy so he would pay back taxpayers for sketchy expense claimes. The only time CBC suddenly cares about Canadians money being blown is when a Conservative is caught, like Bev Oda and the infamous $16 glass of OJ. CBC really couldn’t care less about taxpayer money being wasted and the crippling debt that’s being incurred and the billions wasted in servicing the debt. They only feign outrage over wasted taxpayer money when Conservatives are in power and are the culprits because they know conservative voters don’t like to tolerate waste.
How else can you explain the CBC’s “The National” ignoring the verdict in the gas plant scandal, which, again, cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars?
Oh, sorry, I forgot, it was because Friday was an insane news day.
CBC needed to spend five minutes on Dear Leader at a reserve still in dire straights despite his by and large empty promises in the last two years. If CBC really cared about the welfare of people on the reserves they would still be hounding Trudeau over scrapping financial transparency of the chiefs and reserve band councils. But no, everything is all about keeping up appearances for the CBC. How else could you explain CBC turning a Gucci-sunglass-wearing, luxury SUV-driving Chief Theresa Spence, whose people were homeless while she lined her and her boyfriend’s own pockets, into the next Mahatma Gandhi?
CBC also needed to spend nine minutes on a feature of two American women’s opinions on Trump’s first year. Yes, a whole nine minutes was needed for this, including a 15-second pause when one woman tries to think of one thing Trump did that was good. Groundbreaking journalism to be sure.
CBC just couldn’t afford to spare any time from a story on an Olympic speed skating coach that had alleged sexual relationships with American speed skaters in the past when he worked for the US team. Still waiting for CBC to address similar allegations made against CBC idol Peter Mansbridge.
CBC needed another four-and-a-half minutes were need to talk about the US government shutdown, as if this doesn’t ever happen or is affecting Canadians. Of course the CBC had nothing, even on its website, about the story blowing up late Thursday night on a classified memo, which Republicans in Washington are demanding be released to the public, allegedly showing the FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign were made on the “unverified” and dubious Trump dossier, which looks like collusion of top officials at the Obama Department of Justice, CIA and within the Obama administration itself to help the Clinton campaign and intervene the election process. Forget all the trumped up charges over the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians, the real smoking guns in apparent election meddling are in the Democrats’ hands. Not according to the CBC though.
CBC spent another four-and-a-half minutes on the alleged Toronto serial killer, yet somehow totally missed the revelation that Bruce McArthur was connected on social media with several of the men who disappeared in the gay village in the past seven years. Sloppy journalism to be sure.
CBC also spent five-minutes on the acquittal of three train workers in the Lac-Mégantic disaster. An important story for sure, but you’d think they could’ve reported it in three minutes and spent two minutes on the conviction at the gas plant trial?
Finally, “The National” also needed to include an airplane landing in strong winds, a bear eating cake, more union-organized Tim Hortons protests inflamed by the CBC a couple weeks ago with selective reporting and two minutes spent between the three hosts — Rosemary Barton, Adrienne Arsenault and Ian Hanomansing — discussing archive footage of Hanomansing back in the eighties.
Here’s a reminder of how CBC hammered Bev Oda over her “extravagant expenses” on a trip. Where was CBC’s “The National”‘s report on the news Friday (although admittedly first reported by the CBC, but not given prominence or making the flagship program) that the Health Minister’s Twitter account costs $100,000 per year to run? There could be countless stories on extravagant spending from this drunk-on-spending and big deficit Trudeau government.
Sadly the average Canadian still thinks CBC is a trusted news source they want to see get $1.2 billion from the federal government. This needs to change. The state broadcaster does not have the interest of properly informing Canadians on the shenanigans our politicians are up to, but instead feeds citizens carefully-selected pablum and agitprop, focusing on emotions and feelings instead facts and finances, that confirm their institutionalized socialist biases. May the CBC’s “The National”‘s ratings continue to tank.
The last few hundred thousand viewers still watching CBC’s The National (it gets crushed by CTV’s National News which easily gets triple the audience), in its new unpopular and painfully slow format (four hosts?!), as their primary source of news wouldn’t know anything about Liberal MP Geng Tan acting as an intermediary on a government trip to China for a Canadian-Chinese businessman now accused of fraud (you also won’t find anything on the Geng Tan story on CBC’s website). Joshua Boyle being arrested on 15 charges a few weeks after being granted a private meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the PM’s office barelyregistered in its programming. The Ethics Commissioner clearing Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau of wrongdoing — no surprise, really, since she had told him the letter of the law allowed him to hold on to his shares when he decided on that poor course of action back in 2015 after misleading the public into thinking he was putting his assets into a blind trust — the CBC treated it as if it were practically a full vindication. No follow-up questions on why he misled the public or how he benefited greatly. Instead CBC took Morneau at his word, like they did when he told them he was putting his assets into a blind trust, that he was donating all the money to charity, and no skepticism was applied on how he would still benefit from the profit of his shares earned while in public office because he can use the donation as a tax write-off.
According to CBC and ilk, what’s more important for Canadian audiences is to have endless coverage of every controversial thing President Trump says or does. Apparently CBC’s The National needed to devote six minutes on Trump’s alleged “shit-hole” comment and another three minutes on his cancelled London trip for Friday’s broadcast. A whopping 12 minutes was devoted to a sit-down interview with the Fire and Fury author, several days after the story first broke, in which Rosemary Barton lobbed softball question after softball question to Michael Wolff, eagerly lapping up his every word (even a progressive friend of mine, who bought the book as soon as it was released, doesn’t believe a lot of the tall tales told within). Despite many journalists and publications questioning Wolff’s spotty record on reporting the facts, when his book was released CBC’s Paul Hunter’s four-minute initial report completely glossed over this and instead personally vouched for Wolff’s integrity after several glaring errors had already been pointed out in the media about his book: “His columns at the time were like this book, rich in detail, full of anecdotes, whispered quotes, casual observations about what was actually going on around us. I just reread them in light of this new book and feel now as I did fifteen years ago when I first read them — to an experience I went through — to which I can attest, he nailed it. Bang on, I wouldn’t change a word.” Sounds a whole lot like gossip and yellow journalism to me. I’ll take the late, great David Carr’s word over a CBC leftist journalist desperately wanting to believe any negative story fed to them about Trump. There are already plenty of real controversies as it is with Trump, there’s no need to seize onto tall tales that will undermine your own credibility in presenting Wolff’s shaky gossip as the gospel. But CBC is always looking for the next Trump-bashing authoritative expert to put on The National to give its audience another long lecture denouncing Trump on its program. The National also bizarrely spent twelve minutes of a program interviewing comedienne Samantha Bee on Trump and #MeToo and eight minutes for another expert to claim Trump is undermining democracy (with scant proof provided).
Say, CBC, if you want to give celebrities and experts extended periods of time to discuss a foreign leader’s lies and faults, why don’t you do the same for PM Trudeau by having on Theo Fleury and Brett Wilson.
Trudeau’s town hall tour is all about how he got away with breaking the law. He’s mocking all Canadians. You see the problem with big egos is that they don’t have the capacity to listen. He actually thinks he’s doing a good job!!!! Unbelievable.
I’m not sure if CBC is aware of this, and most of the rest of the mainstream Canadian media at that, but Canadians can now use this thing called the internet to access way better and more informative coverage of American politics from American news outlets. A Canadian journalist’s job is to report on Canadian news, other than the odd Washington correspondent, no matter how unexciting it may be in comparison to President Trump’s shit show. If the majority of the media weren’t so busy tripping over themselves in excusing away Trudeau and his ministers’ bungling of government files and the PM’s poor judgement in accepting a free trip to the Aga Khan’s island or meeting Boyle despite his checkered past, on top of the breathless Trump coverage, they might find some pretty compelling stories of our own. Digging up more dirt on these controversies and others, e.g. the Canada 150 slush fund (I’m in the midst of auditing it), would provide them with plenty of compelling stories Canadians would be far more interested in learning about from Canadian journalists.
Judging from the front page of *Canada's* largest circulation daily, one would almost think Toronto is in another country… pic.twitter.com/VDxbeRaRt9
(Hey self-described conservative writer writing for the $1.5-million-government-subsidized Maclean’s and husband to the Liberal Environment Minister, try reading Terry Glavin’s — one of a handful of intrepid Canadian journalists actually holding this Trudeau government to account — reports on how Trudeau seems to be selling us out to China and maybe do a column on how the PM is a “Manchurian Idiot.” I won’t hold my breath. I guess the best way to not get called out for your conflict of interest with the Liberals, but to still help their cause, is to deflect and distract from your wife’s government’s screw-ups by writing endless columns about Trump’s antics. Below are more of his insight on Trump and American politics from Ottawa. Feel free to quickly scroll past all the chaff.)
After last night bookmakers are now giving 50/50 odds Trump leaves early. It's time to ask: What happens if he does? https://t.co/uR4Y3uEglR
I could also show you many of Gilmore’s colleagues similarly spilling pools and pools of ink on Trump instead of on pressing issues in our own country, but I think you get the point. What are some of those pressing issues not being covered you may ask? Well how about illegal migrants still walking across our border for one? The coverage for that has completely dropped off and I’ve seen no reporters keeping up the pressure on the PM on how he’s done nothing to stop it or to increase bureaucrats at the Immigration and Refugee Board, which I pointed out early last year, that Maclean’s has finally picked up on by reporting how they’re now flooded with applicants they can’t process in a timely fashion. Or how about CBC looks into how Vice-Admiral Mark Norman appears to have been thrown under the bus by the Trudeau government and potentially its former reporter, now working for the Minister of Defence, for simply doing his job? Or how about investigating how the Canadian Heritage continues to spend billions of dollars on dud after dud in arts and culture programming? Or how about looking into who is actually running the country and report about them (CBC et al reported way more on former Trump advisor Stephen Bannon than they have ever done on Trudeau’s top advisors) since Trudeau sees his role as PM as more ceremonial in nature than hands-on.
Sadly, what little air that’s still left in the room, once Trump coverage has sucked out most of it, ends up being sliced up between a bit of the happenings of the day and the rest on whatever the latest PR stunts Trudeau’s handlers at the Prime Minister’s Office have concocted. Right now Trudeau is on his second town-hall tour meant to distract from the aforementioned screw-ups and scandals by having Trudeau putting on a show by using his gift of gab to change the channel. Although disgruntled attendees inevitably pose unwanted questions regarding these screw-ups and scandals, Trudeau usually can rely on a green crowd (many of these town halls are strategically held on university campuses which ensures the crowd is filled with naive and impressionable youth willing to believe their “cool” PM over some nobody in the audience) to back him up when he deflects and obfuscates the truth when answering. He can also rely on his friends at the CBC et al to only keep the most dramatic moments in their reports, like seasoned politician Trudeau dismantling an outmatched angry heckler, and make that their story. When CBC’s The National took time last week to report on the town halls it was mainly to admire Trudeau’s ability to fend of hecklers and win the crowd over (your guess is as good as mine as to how this helps inform the public). The National now has accompanying articles on the CBC website, and one of the useless articles was entitled “Trudeau turns to Seinfeld tactics to tame town hall hecklers.” The first news segment even took time to reminisce on last year’s town halls (again, who cares?) and had spin doctor/CBC poll analyst Eric Grenier claim it didn’t hurt him in the polls (I’ll be revealing more on Canada’s crappy polling industry and Grenier’s shaky methodology in the near future). The second news segment from last week on the town halls was a real masterpiece in CBC doing propaganda for their paymaster. The whole segment was about how Trudeau deals with hecklers (I’m old enough to remember when these disruptors used to be called activists and protesters when Harper was PM) and “wins the crowd over” (segment starts at 24:50 if you want to see the gross admiration of Trudeau’s PR).
Trudeau charming much of the media into reporting puff pieces, meanwhile letting him get away with murder by letting the public coffers be robbed blind, reminds me of the Broadway show Chicago (which I saw for the first time in NYC last month). In the musical a lawyer named Billy Flynn “razzle dazzles” newspaper reporter Mary Sunshine into writing glowing stories about his client, a murderess and adulterer aspiring to be a vaudevillian star.
Last night’s The National was the last show in the old format, and you can’t say they didn’t go out with a bang in having a blockbuster news day.
The lead story was the horrific massacre in Texas. The story was well done and very informative for how little time they had to prepare the story. (Have to give credit where credit is due.) I don’t really want to discuss this horrible tragedy anymore than that for now.
The National then moved on to the main event, the Paradise Papers that they–in tandem with journalists from around the world–had been working on for months. The CBC spent 29 minutes on the Bronfmans and Koblers apparent offshore trust and their connection to the Liberal Party of Canada and PM Justin Trudeau. Here’s The Toronto Star piece in case you missed it. (The Star report, although very thorough, conveniently left out the bombshell factoid that the Bronfman family apparently pressured the CRA into letting them move $2 billion of their family fortune out of Canada tax-free. Kudos to The National for bringing it up.) I’d say most of this reporting was fair, however, The National broke up the reporting on the Canadian angle to the Paradise Papers into two parts, with the first part as a four-minute news report and analysis, then reports on Trump’s top advisor’ and the Queen’s connections to the tax haven followed before the latter 25-minute feature story on the Bronfmans and Koblers (worth watching) was aired.
The National‘s initial report was adequate. They even gave opposition MPs, including Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, time to speak about the revelation. The only problem I had was how the CBC didn’t go deeper into Trudeau’s relationship with Bronfman. It seems the CBC is pinning all of this on the Bronfmans and their associates instead of focusing on how Trudeau and his father play a role in this. What’s more interesting is how the reporting on Trudeau was juxtaposed with the reporting on Trump and his connection to his top adviser. In that three-minute report the CBC went for the jugular in tying Trump to billionaire Wilbur Ross. In the 25-minute in-depth feature about the Bronfmans and their tax avoidance Trudeau is only presented at the start of the report where they show about a minute of him on the campaign trail gladhanding with supporters and telling adoring Liberal crowds sweet nothings. Very little is mentioned after that about Trudeau’s personal relationship and friendship to Stephen Bronfman. The way CBC presented the story–through images anyway–made it appear as if a smiling and loved-by-everyone Trudeau just met this Bronfman bloke on the campaign trails. Here’s a bunch of the cheery images of Trudeau in the extended segment talking about the supposed heyday of Trudeau mania 2.0 (even though he won only 0.1 per cent more than Harper did in the popular vote). CBC was sure feeling nostalgia for sunnier days.
Now compare that to the images of Trump in the report about his business associates ties to the Paradise Papers.
When the two stories are juxtaposed its as if Trudeau has just been unwittingly brought down by an acquaintance while the ominous U.S. report suggest Trump is linked to billionaire Wilbur Ross’ company’s ties to Russia, too. It’s also interesting that the CBC did not do a similar web of faces of the two generations of Bronfmans, Kolbers, and Trudeaus all closely tied. Below I provided a transcript of the Trump report and then the introduction to the feature on the Bronfmans, the part that talks about Trudeau, so you can see the contrast for yourself.
Heather Hiscox: The more than thirteen-million records in this leak also reveal secrets in Washington, including a top member of Donald Trump’s cabinet. Wilbur Ross is Commerce Secretary. But his deep ties to Trump, and as these documents suggest, his financial ties to Russia are what’s causing a stir tonight. The New York Times and the BBC looked into this part of the story as part of global collaboration. Keith Boag has the details.
Trump: Wilbur mentioned a couple of words: reciprocal trade.
Boag: One thing that separates Wilbur Ross from the other billionaires that Donald Trump has at his cabinet table is that how far back in the President’s history he goes, and how important he was in making Trump what he is today.
David J. Johnston: If it hadn’t been for Wilbur Ross Trump would not be in the White House.
Boag: David J. Johnston has chronicled the ups and downs of Trump’s business career for three decades. Including his failure in Atlantic New Jersey, with the money losing Taj Mahal that almost sank Trump. Ross, Trained as a bankruptcy adviser, engineered a deal for Trump that kept him afloat by establishing that the Trump name had its own value as a brand.
David J. Johnston: Wilbur Ross was a key negotiator in Donald Trump not having to go through bankruptcy and not getting swept into the dustbin of history.
Boag: This year Ross became the United States Secretary of Commerce. He divested most of his business assets, but kept a stake in a shipping company called Navigator, where he was once chairman. One of Navigator’s biggest customers is Russia’s gas and petro-chemical company Sibur. mong Sibur’s owners, President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, and…
(Now introduction of the feature on the Bronfmans.)
Gillian Findlay: Well he is probably the Bronfman that no-one has ever heard of, Heather. He’s always kept a very low-profile as a businessman, a philanthropist, an environmentalist. But in 2013 he became a powerful player in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.
Trudeau: Pleasure to meet you.
Person in the crowd: Hi, Justin.
Gillian Findlay: It was a summer caucus retreat in P.E.I. And for the first time in a long time Liberals were upbeat [cheery music in the background]. A new charismatic leader [cheers], A new hope for power.
Trudeau: Across the country people have told me that we need better. And for the first time in a long time, people are open and hopeful about the Liberal party of Canada.
Findlay: Among the assembled was a man not much use to the campaigning part of politics, but a man the party would now rely on to raise the money it takes to succeed. Trudeau and Bronfman chuckle] Stephen Bronfman had been named to the party’s national board.
Apparently the CBC was incessantly reporting on the redesign of The National all of Monday as if it a breaking story instead of all the incredible news still developing from yesterday. Even Sunday’s broadcast wasted 30 seconds hyping it. Tomorrow I’ll have fun deconstructing the stupid concepts of having four hosts and less stories. I’ll also have the letter to the ombudsman on how the CBC has still refused to report on the explosive, and very likely real, allegations that Hillary Clinton rigged the DNC nomination.
What was wrong with CBC’s The National Thursday night:
The National led with the murder investigation in a rural B.C. area because the remains of one murdered person were identified. An important story, yes, because other women went missing in the area, so this may turn out to have been a serial killer. That being said, a more national news story may be the hundreds of millions being laundered through B.C. casinos. And on Thursday night, a story that didn’t even get reported by The National, the new Governor General Julie Payette’s political comments deriding the religions and those that are skeptical of climate change science was a more important and breaking news story. (When I criticize the placement of news stories like this murder, it should not be misinterpreted as belittling its importance or the sadness of the tragedy, merely that I’m arguing journalists have to make decisions on the newsworthiness of stories, and if you weigh this ongoing story with that of Payette’s unbecoming and unprecedented behviour of a GG then clearly the latter story is more important for the average Canadian, which The National should be catering to.)
The next story was on how 3 million Canadian home fire extinguishers have been recalled. An important story that was reported well.
Sacred First Nation’s land can be developed for a ski resort. The report was fairly balanced with people from both sides of the argument given time.
Then there was a nearly three-minute report on a government consultation into workplace harassment that gave Trudeau 20 seconds to voice his thoughts. The government consultation is anecdotal, so I don’t think the report should’ve been given so much prominence on The National because it isn’t scientific, but it does help with the government’s image as feminists.
The next report worth mentioning was on President Trump’s tweets calling for the death penalty for the NYC terrorist. The report was fair and warranted because Trump’s comments could poison the jury pool and make it difficult for a fair trail to be conducted. However, considering that on Thursday explosive news also broke of allegations from former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile that Hillary Clinton rigged the Democrat nomination process against Bernie Sanders it is amazing that The National didn’t report on this at all. Clinton has long accused Trump of attacking the democratic process, yet here she is likely exposed as being even more guilty of this crime. It isn’t that surprising that The National didn’t cover this though, the Canadian elite have long been close with the Clintons, and much of the foreign money poured into the Clinton Foundation came from wealthy Canadians. Furthermore, like I’ve said before, CBC has always painted a picture of Democrats being from the good U.S. party and the Republicans as a party full of the evil and benighted. in reality there are plenty of villains from both parties. Another explosive story from this week is the continued drip, drip of news that Tony Podesta is next in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which is beginning to reveal that top political aides on both dies of the aisle are influence peddling for Russia. Bet on The National continuing to frame this as only Trump and the Republians, until it’s impossible to ignore the other side to this story once new indictments happen.
The National had a feature report on how polar bears’ population is declining because of climate change. The piece had sad piano music to set the tone and implied that global warming is bad because polar bears’ numbers are declining. The problem with this continual unquestioning bias towards climate change coverage as it being all bad, no good, is a dishonest portrayal of the situation. There are benefits to the world warming, but you’d never know it from TheNational‘s portrayal of it as Armageddon. Of course at the end of the segment the host then promoted CBC’s own Bill Nye the Sicence Guy or Niel De Grasse Tyson, Bob McDonald. These science guys acting like high priests all-knowing about everything science the viewer should be wary. Since David Suzuki has lowered his profile after it turned out he’s a huge hypocrite because he has his own massive carbon footprint, CBC has appointed Bob McDonald as its science guru. McDonald and CBC will continue to assist the Liberal government’s unquestioning faith that climate change is going to cause the next apocalypse.
The National finally got to Jason Kenney’s historical win of the UCP leadership–just about a week late. The At Issue panel didn’t have anything too noteworthy to say about it though, other than that Kenney might overshadow federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Huffington Post’s Althia Raj could hardly suppress her disdain for right-wingers. The panel then moved on to the ongoing Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s scandal The National hasn’t bothered to cover half the time. Coyne cut through the spin and made it clear Morneau and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson have a lot of questions to answer. Of course the Julie Payette controversy was swept under the rug.
If you’re fed up with the bias of CBC’s flagship news program make sure to click on the link below and click the thumb down.
Ontarians are getting ready to enter the province’s 42nd election in early June of 2018 and, boy, it’s going to be a zinger. After much speculation earlier this summer, Kathleen Wynne has promised she will continue to carry the torch as leader for the Ontario Liberals in the next election. Wynne currently holds an approval rating of 17 per cent, a few points higher than in recent months but still lower than despised U.S. President Donald Trump, and for good reasons.
Recently, however, it is PC leader Patrick Brown who is being compared to Trump by the Ontario Liberal Party. Why? With a war chest of an estimated $16 million dollars, the attack ads are rolling out from the PCs and it’s clear Wynne and her gang aren’t too thrilled. The latest commercial features newspaper headlines with a narration about Liberal scandals and the untrustworthy behaviour of the Liberal Party of Ontario. In all honesty, nothing said in the ad is exaggerated or untrue. Over the past 14 years the Liberal Party has seen its share of scandals and problems. They are currently in court for two different issues, and have been under five different OPP investigations. If they aren’t happy with their dirty laundry being aired maybe they need to change the way they operate.
One of the things that makes me laugh is that it was just weeks ago that Wynne threatened to sue Patrick Brown after he misspoke and stated she was “standing trial” while she testified at the Sudbury byelection scandal case involving two of her former political operatives. She gave him six weeks to meet her list of demands or she would pursue with legal action. He ignored her threats, and I applaud him for that. In 2014, Wynne had a lawsuit against then PC leader Tim Hudak and PC MPP Lisa MacLeod for statements they made about Wynne’s supposed connection in the infamous gas plant scandal. The suit was dropped after Wynne won the election in 2015 and nothing else came of it. So, why does all this matter going into the next election?
Before the 2016 U.S presidential election, name calling and slander were popular in elections and pigeonholing voters and candidates was not unusual, but today it’s growing rampant. Since the beginning of the U.S election the newest counter-attack seems to be calling your opponent or their supporters names and making comparisons of them to odious people–dead or alive. Trump is the newest and most infamous figure to compare others to as an insult in Canadian politics. (In reality, he’s grown the American economy–jobs and the stock market are booming, and America is being taken seriously by other nations–this must be hard to grasp for left-wing politicians using him for this tactic of smearing by association.)
Last week, Mayor Nenshi of Calgary, who is looking to secure his third term in office, called supporters of his opponents “racists and haters”. The only problem is the “racists and haters” he is referring to are many of the very same people who put him in office the first two times. As you can imagine, Calgary residents were less than impressed with this childish behaviour and stated they don’t like the job he’s done and feel it’s time for change.
While I have to admit that I am a fan of attack ads, I do also believe there is a clear line between attacking the behaviours and actions of a person and attacking the person as an individual. This also applies to the person under attack. Using shaming as a way to divert attention away from yourself is a low move, and trying to guilt and shame people into voting for you is a terrible strategy. But politics is politics, and diversion and vilification and minimization are all tactics of politicians trying to get voters to forget about issues and for them to escape honest scrutiny.
The issue moving forward is that there are people like Wynne or Nenshi running for office who instead of taking responsibility for their actions and admitting their faults would rather turn it around and insult and pigeonhole voters and their opponents. By calling someone who doesn’t support you a racist, misogynist, bigot, or compare your opponent to a notorious person they have nothing in common with, you are doing democracy a disservice. In fact, failing to be able to take responsibility for or acknowledge your actions and accept that most voters genuinely may be sick of your lies and equivocation over your faulty policies probably means you should drop out of the race and quit while you’re behind.
But how do we make sure that these tactics don’t become control mechanisms for failing politicians to use to secure votes by means of psychological manipulation? These same tactics worked for the OLP in the last few elections. How do we ensure that voters are free to decide who they want controlling their money and, more and more commonly, their lives through laws and policies if they fear being labeled or seen as a bad person for doing what’s needed or right? (Like making cuts in the most indebted sub-sovereign jurisdiction in the developed world that spends billions a year servicing our crippling level of debt.) Maybe it will take a few more election cycles until we hit rock bottom and wise up, or maybe people will see through the melodramatic desperation this time around. Either way, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.
Sarah is a 34-year-old Hamiltonian with a background in addictions counseling and criminal psychology. She has spent the past several years participating in local politics, advocating on behalf of taxpayers. Sarah recently ran as a candidate in a Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario riding nomination.
Normally you wouldn’t use the expression “spoiled for choice” to describe Ontarians, but when it comes to reasons to hate their Premier, they’ve got more options than they can count.
And that’s a problem.
One list I saw floating around Twitter this week included actionable items as diverse as school closings, the Hydro One “fire sale”, the gas plant scandal, cuts to health care, and kicking children with autism off the list for IBI therapy.
Add to this laundry list whatever your beef with the Ontario Liberals might be, as well as the beefs of everyone you know and everyone they know, and it quickly becomes too much for the short-term memory of even the most devoted and practiced Wynne-hater to contain.
To systematically walk your average voter through even one of these boondoggles — each of which on their own is a good enough reason to boot Wynne from government — requires time and brain space that most people don’t have to spare.
Kathleen Wynne, like many politicians past and present whose reach exceeded their grasp, has been doing such a lousy job as Premier that she’s actually doing a great job of confounding her critics. They can’t pick one issue she’s screwing up and rally behind it without leaving everyone else with a bone to pick in the blinding dust.
Wynne would blanche at the notion that she and Donald Trump have anything in common (which, of course, is why I’m making the comparison), but while watching the recent Stateside scrimmage over NFL players sitting, standing, or kneeling for the national anthem to protest whatever got stuck in between their cleats that particular day, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the local efforts to move the ball down the field against the Premier which always seem to end in an interception, or wandering out of bounds.
Recall, if you can, through the mists of time and social media fury, that those gridiron protests were ostensibly started to speak out against police brutality in America. Once the football got awkwardly rolling, however, we had everyone from Auston Matthews to LeBron James to Trump himself weighing in and turning the kneeling protest into whatever they wanted it to be.
Ironically, what the protests needed was a single quarterback to call the plays, especially when Trump, the singular avatar of American anger, was tweeting against them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to stop police brutality or stop Liberal brutality perpetrated against Ontario: disorganization will be the kiss of death in either case.
Hate the 45th President all you like. He was, and is, a symbol and a brand for all those around the world who are tired of the lies and inadequacy of government and who are fed up with being tinkered with and nudged about by technocrats.
Despite this, opposition politicians have taken a knee of their own when it comes to being the face of anti-Wynne discontent, while non-governmental organizations, Facebook groups, and #onpoli are clearing houses for free flowing anti-Wynne anger.
From this swirling miasma, the Liberals can choose from comparisons between Wynne’s appearance and that of Orville Redenbacher, high-minded insults such as “McWynnie The Milch Cow”, or even statements made in a fit of pique by Patrick Brown himself to redirect the discourse and present herself as the victim, or dismiss critics such as Ontario Proud as a “hate movement”.
Thus the government is spoiled for choice as well. When hateful or angry statements are the only real crime, instead of inducements provided to candidates in Sudbury, or the deletion of emails pertaining to the movement of gas plants, and incompetence is easily handwaved away with references to the Mike Harris or Stephen Harper governments, the Wynne government is under no obligation to get even the basics right so long as her critics are getting it so wrong and confused.
Despite the eternal optimism of the opposition that the voters of Ontario will eventually deliver the province into their hands and all they have to do is show up to be the beneficiaries, the hard truth is that only a stone-faced, determined movement, organized to the point of mechanistic efficiency, brooking absolutely no dissent from within and centered around a single idea or symbol or even a word, will stop the Ontario Liberal reign of terror.
But in Ontario. where diversity is our strength, and where opposition parties must continually advertise how modern and inclusive they are lest anyone’s feelings be hurt, singular focus on one goal to the exclusion of all else seems too far of a cry.
There’s a reason why the two most activist Premiers in Ontario’s history — Mike Harris and Bob Rae — are the two most hated Premiers.
There’s a reason why any semblance of “ideology” causes voters to recoil in horror.
And there’s a reason why we have allowed our debt to bloat out of control, our energy sector to become a mess of tangled wires, our health care system to become a crazy quilt of bureaucracies and fiefdoms, and our school system to become an unassailable white elephant despite school closings in rural areas and out-of-control trustee behavior, which should be due to leap back into the news spotlight any moment now.
We would rather trouble heaven with our bootless and fruitless cries than actually organize.
We would rather be spoiled for choice, and act spoiled besides, rather than solve problems.
Deep down, the Wynne government is the government we want and deserve. Big, bland, and broken beyond repair.
For who among us would stand against the storm of millions of Ontarians who fear the loss of what little entitlements they have?
Who would risk their reputation, the thing Ontarians hold more dear than life itself?
Who would match the determination of Kathleen Wynne as she works to uphold the supremacy of the nanny state that she holds so dear, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, even as the walls crumble around her?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals released its annual budget last week and there was no additional funding earmarked for defense.
Not since 1972, when Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliott Trudeau was PM and first cut military spending, has Canada contributed two percent of its GDP to defence. Canada currently spends just under one percent of GDP on defence and is in the lower half of NATO nations in its percentage of GDP spent on defence.
But as President Donald Trump calls for all NATO allies to pay their fair share in defending the West–the agreed upon two percent–it’s unlikely Trudeau’s government’s continued underfunding of Canada’s military will given a pass by the White House.
During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington Trump said, “Many countries owe vast sums of money and it’s unfair.”
He then proceeded to specifically call out Germany shortly after the visit, tweeting: “Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
So far Canada has avoided being singled out by Trump’s wrath. Trudeau’s first White House visit with the the President in February appears to have gone relatively smoothly, and there was no mention of Canada’s failing commitment to NATO.
In other meetings in February between Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan the U.S. Department of Defense readout stated Mattis “thanked Canada for its commitments to NATO and the counter-ISIL campaign.”
However, the same readout also highlighted the need for continued investment in the military. “The secretary and minister also discussed the importance of defense investments and modernization to ensure continued cooperation.”
Defence Minister Sajjan’s press secretary Jordan Owens says Canada is fully committed to NATO. “The two percent of GDP pledge is an aspirational statement which aims to reverse the trend of declining defence expenditures and to make the most effective use of defence funds. We have stopped the cuts to spending, are focused on military outputs…” explained Owen by email.
Sprott School of Business professor and public policy expert Ian Lee believes there could be horse-trading going on between the two countries behind the scenes. Instead of Trump demanding Canada increase its defense expenditures, the president could instead ask for further concessions from Canada in the renegotiations of the NAFTA agreement, like opening market access to American businesses for Canadian government contracts and the agriculture sector currently protected by a supply-management system. The Globe and Mail reported last Friday that Trump’s administration has been circulating a draft letter with 40 agenda items for possible renegotiation.
“Given that Trump says he wants to at the same time renegotiate NAFTA–and he’s certainly been very clear on that–and he’s also talked about other aspect like buy American, hire American … and given our economy is more integrated with the American economy than any other economy, I can potentially see linkages between our underperformance on our two percent commitment and renegotiations with NAFTA. I’m sure both parties would deny it, but I’m not so sure there wouldn’t be linkages there,” explained Lee by phone.
“To be very blunt, we are right next door to the United States–the largest economy in the world and the superpower–and we’re under the protection of the American umbrella. We know that if there was… any kind of incursion into North American space … the Americans would respond,” said Lee.
Trudeau’s most recent budget–which will be the second consecutive budget to run nearly a $30 billion deficit to pay for new infrastructure and innovation projects–has been widely reported as deferring the spending of an $8.5 billion in defense procurement fund until 2030.
However, the defence minister’s press secretary denies the 2017 budget defers the funds. “[W]e will be spending it much earlier to pay for acquisition and maintenance of new equipment over the life of the equipment. Since we cannot begin paying the procurement or maintenance costs on equipment before we receive it, we re-profile the funds – setting them aside for later – to ensure that we have cash on hand when the bills are due. The bulk of the costs re-profiled in this year’s budget were for Fixed Wing Search and Rescue aircraft that we will begin to acquire and pay for in 2019; new ships for our Navy, which we expect to begin receiving and paying for in the late 2020s; and upgrades to Army LAVs,” countered Owens.
On Friday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told his counterparts at an annual foreign ministers meeting that the U.S. wants NATO nations to have a plan by the time Trump meets with the other countries’ leaders in two months’ time.
Trudeau responded in Toronto later in the day: “Canada has always been one of the handful of countries that has always been ready and capable of stepping up on important missions of participating and of punching well above their weight.”
And during budget week Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the Canadian Armed Forces were “appropriately provisioned.”
Trudeau’s Liberal government is expected to release a defence policy review looking at the future of Canadian military expenditures, but the government has given no timeline for its release.
On Thursday the Public Policy Forum (PPF) released its government-commissioned report, “The Shattered Mirror”, which depicted today’s world as a “post-truth” dystopian nightmare. According to the report’s ominous introduction, “Established news organizations have been left gasping” and “native digital alternatives have failed to develop journalistic mass.”
Then the report–GASP!–asks the reader to “imagine a world without news: how atomized and dysfunctional it would be.”
Of course the premise is absurd in the information age, where information is more accessible than ever before, which Toronto Star columnist Paul Wells pointed out so well in his scathing “Politicians guiding journalism? No, thanks.”But this report–given $200,000 from the Liberal government–cites the supposed rise of fake news “outperforming” real news in Facebook engagement as a main reason the government needs to bail out the legacy media.
However, BuzzFeed‘s coverage of fake news–which Shattered Mirror heavily relies on–didn’t account for the fact that the supposed rise in fake news corresponded with the firing of the human curators of the social media giant’s trending news module, which then allowed fake news to break into the Facebook trending list because the algorithm didn’t discriminate fake from real. The report does take this into account, but dismisses the scandal of Facebook’s human curators removing legitimate conservative news as “conservatives complaining” and welcomes wholeheartedly Facebook’s and Google’s renewed efforts to target fake news sites. The report shows no real reservations towards the tech giants’ censorship, even though Facebook’s partisan censorship scandal was a major revelation last year.
Even more egregious, the report claims a poll from Buzzfeed and Ipsos supposedly “found that large majorities had believed such stories as Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump.” However, as I pointed out in my Loonie Politics piece “Hype over rise in fake news is fake news“, Buzzfeed‘s data shows only an average of 16.8 per cent of respondents had heard of the fake news stories, and 75 percent within that group believed it, or only 12.5 per cent of respondents on average.
Shattered Mirror’s implied conclusion that the vast majority of American’s were duped is flat out wrong, although to be fair to the creators of the report, a cursory glance at the misleading click-bait article–“Most Americans who see fake news believe it, survey shows” probably duped most readers. The data shows only a small minority of the American population, probably about the same portion of the population that believe The Onion or National Enquirer are real, actually fell for these stories. The report’s omission of the total number of respondents (1,809), insults the intelligence of average Americans–especially smearing Trump supporters as largely gullible and stupid, when in fact largely they hadn’t been duped by fake news. On top of this, Shattered Mirror notes how closed “bubbles” of like-minded users form on Facebook, so it is very likely that only 16.8 percent of Americans had ever heard of the fake news, and 75 percent of that low-information group were susceptible to believing in it, because the fake stories were circulated within bubbles of made up largely of uneducated people.
The report uses this fake premise of fake news influencing large majorities of the populace as a major reason why the government should step in to fund the legacy media. The report repeatedly cites Trump’s populist victory, supposedly largely fueled by fake news, as a failure of a weakened and private news industry in America. The report implicitly reasons, if the people don’t listen to the legacy media ordering them to vote for one candidate the media as a whole must be broken, so the Canadian government should come in and prevent this from happening here. Ultimately the report seems to conclude that the government should restore the legacy media’s power over the news narrative: “The 20th-century news media are less and less prominent, except to provide grist for a public conversation they no longer control.” (Civil discourse, yuck.) And then this government-indebted media–according to the report–will be healthy enough again to bite the hand that now feeds them, keeping government institutions’ accountable and politicians’ feet to the fire. Let’s be honest, we all know wild animals become docile when repeatedly fed by humans; the press is no different when fed by the government. To many Canadians, our legacy media have already become far too tame, compromised, and ingratiating with those in power.
Sadly, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says she is “very proud” that her government is at the forefront of wanting to combat fake news internationally and believes in the reports premise that fake news is a sudden phenomenon that the government needs to play a role in quashing.
The report also tries to downplay the successes of digital-only news startups, highlighting how most have failed thus far to be financially successful and haven’t reached as large an audience as the legacy media. But PPF’s report fails to recognize the elephant in the room. Legacy media are giving away their content for free and already have an unfair financial advantage of government subsidization in the forms of government advertising, government subscriptions, tax breaks to their advertisers, the Canada Periodical Fund (hundreds of millions of dollars), postal discounts (tens of millions), the Canada Media Fund ($371.2 million in 2016-17), the $1.2 billion annual subsidy given to the CBC, etc. The report also notes only 9 percent of Canadians pay for their news (have hunch a large portion of this group are disgruntled conservatives funding Rebel Media because the government-funded media doesn’t speak for them).
But when most of the government-funded legacy media is giving their content away for free, subsidized by taxpayers, why would Canadians fork out more money from their own pockets when they are already taxed to death, and so much news is readily available free of additional charge?
If the legacy media were weened off government welfare and forced to compete in the free market, they would quickly develop a more competitive business model (like locking valuable content behind a paywall), or they would die. A drying up of free access to journalism would prompt more Canadians–ideally with extra money in their pockets from lowered taxes–to pay for the news of their own choosing (the horror!). Also, the increased free market competition would promote more hunger for organizations to get regular scoops. With the inevitable death of some of these redundant legacy media organizations, new media would have more room in the market to flourish.
This “non-partisan and independent think-tank” PPF’s Shattered Mirror–that just coincidentally has PM Justin Trudeau hosting its 30th Annual Testimonial Dinner–came up with 12 recommendations to staunch the “bloodbath” of “journalistic carnage” (and journalists thought Trump’s inaugural address was hyperbolic). I’ll only discuss the most important one here (I’ll save the rest for another piece), the report calls for the government to tax Facebook, Google and other foreign media, and then redistribute funds to domesic outlets which legacy media will undoubtedly get the lionshare. Although the government is supposed to be at double arms-length in redistribution of this $300-400 million fund, the deciding on who gets funding will undoubtedly become politicized, like the current process has.
It’s in the Liberal’s interest to have the major media organizations more dependent upon them for survival. Pesky new media like Canadaland, The Rebel, Raving Canuck, Blacklock’s Reporter, Loonie Politics, National Observer, and The Tyee are leaner and meaner organizations that give the political establishment headaches. Necessity is the mother of all invention. These startups must have interesting and original content to attract enough customers in order to survive. On the other hand, legacy media tend to regurgitate press releases and politicians talking points. The new media punch well above their weights, often beating the lethargic legacy media for scoops.
Like Canadaland‘s Jesse Brown said at a symposium: “leave me alone, so I can continue to bother you independently. When you fund my competitors, you are endangering me. Do not fund Postmedia if they are failing.”
The government isn’t likely to listen to the little guy. The Heritage Committee in the coming weeks will release its own proposals for how to proceed, and one would expect them to echo the call for a government bailout for the legacy media, if Minister Joly’s recent rhetoric is any indicator.
When the Liberals inevitably bailout the terminally-ill legacy media, expect more of this type of journalism from Globe and Mail‘s Simon Houpt:
Sure, this honour is premature: What, after all, has Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly actually achieved? Still, in initiating a wholesale review this year of the federal policies that oversee the country’s $48-billion broadcasting, media and culture sector, the rookie MP is in the promising first moments of what could be a historic performance of political plate-spinning. “Everything is on the table,” she declared in April, simultaneously enthralling and alarming the industry, aspiring creators making videos in their basements, and regular people who think it’s important to be able to watch and read and listen to Canadian stories but also want the government to keep its grubby hands off their Netflix. In a world of peak TV and shrivelling news coverage, does Joly side with those who believe the CRTC, the Broadcasting Act, the CBC, Telefilm, the NFB and other legacy instruments of government cultural policy have outlived their usefulness? Or with those who believe regulations and agencies need to be strengthened to help preserve a space for Canada amid a global flood of content? Stay tuned; it’s going to be a hell of a show. –Simon Houpt
If Shattered Mirror and it’s absurd recommendations are enacted, Canada will get more and more fake state propaganda like the drivel above. The Liberal elites of Canada are absolutely petrified by the populist movements of Brexit and Trump. Both movements shattered the idea that the mainstream media has the power to control how the majority of the populace thinks and votes (okay, maybe not quite in Trump’s case, but maybe after the voter fraud investigation). The Liberal government wants to glue the shards back together again, place the mirror back up on the wall, and be told they’re the fairest of them all. Media entrepreneurs must oppose this and reflect the government and its policies for what they truly are–warts and all.
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Back in the middle of June, Donald Trump’s announcement speech marked the first time there has been such an overblown hairy ado over a coiffure and rape since Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock satirized the frivolity of eighteenth-century high society in 1712.
Trump’s rape comments and wispy locks were both agonizingly and tiredly scrutinized and derided. The late night comics recycled decades-old, trite jokes about his blowsy hair (1). The narrative-incapable press was no more reasoned or insightful in its response to the spectacular spectacle at the gold-gilded Trump Tower. The 24-hour media behemoth’s coverage of the first few days was mostly journalists and pundits attempting to dismiss and muffle his eruptive trumpet-blast entrance into the political arena as the off-key “whomp, whomp, whomp” of a tuba. (Look at these rantings and ravings from this long-winded diatribe of this insufferable, clownish, narcissistic blowhard.) The journalists and pundits cut clips into deconstructive snippets that were completely devoid of context, ignoring his many provocative pronouncements on America’s woes and suggested solutions.
The best the mainstream media could do for narrative was report on trivial matters, like how Neil Young didn’t condone Trump’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World.” It took a few days catalyzing of a social justice warrior’s petition directed at Macy’s (which, in hindsight, completely and catastrophically backfired), demanding the business sever ties with Trump, that the dominant group-think narrative crystallized. Univision, NBC Universal, Macy’s, Nascar, Serta, two star chefs, Perfumania, PGA, ESPN, as well as attention-seeking, low-information celebrities all jumped on the dump Trump bandwagon. All too predictably, the media reported all of these severances as if they were one and the same, even though several of these business relationships were miniscule venue rentals.
Trump, the circus impresario always ready to deliver a knock-out counter punch, responded swiftly and decisively to what he claimed amounted to a loss of “peanuts.” He slapped Univision and the two star chefs with half-a-billion dollar and 10 million dollar breach of contract lawsuits respectively. He dismissed NBC’s decision as simply the bitter reaction of a company that he’d rejected signing a renewal contract with for Celebrity Apprentice–and blasted its hypocrisy in keeping company with the likes of the “lying” Brian Williams and Al Sharpton, the race-baiting charlatan. He rallied thousands of his supporters to boycott Macy’s and cut their Macy’s credit cards. He laughed all the way to the bank when ESPN and Nascar forfeited their deposits for events at his properties. As the business and (supposed) monetary losses rained down on The Donald, the conjecture that he was only running for increased brand recognition began to dissipate.
Meanwhile, he basked in the spotlight as the mainstream media—in its insatiable hunger for controversy and ratings–gave him endless, ubiquitous coverage. The so-called Bozo the Clown candidate began courting and cashing in on controversy. To continue and sustain his deluge of coverage, he dangled his registration and financial papers, and punctually filed them as he taunted his detractors–10 BILLION DOLLARS, not a measly two to four. These actions solidified his sincerity in earnestly running, quashed all hope of the doubters’ speculations, and fed the media beast a few days-worth of gossip gristle. And Trump was only getting started–he had, and still does have, plenty more cards up his sleeve.
As the pile on of dump Trump snowballed, the media reduced Trump’s hour-long speech to a truncated clip of a couple of sentences, which were then misinterpreted and misquoted as Trump exclaiming all Mexicans are rapists and murderers. Once the media dunces had come to their illogical consensus, they swiftly branded Trump a racist and bigot. Then the media mob repeatedly prodded and hounded The Donald for an apologetic self-sacrificial surrender at the PC altar of repentance. He defiantly doubled-, tripled-, and quadrupled-down on his statements because he knew–taking a page from Ann Coulter’s new book, Adios America–that his statements rang true, especially to whom matters in the GOP race, a large swath of the Republican base. The Donald, as will soon be evidenced, is ever the ingenious equivocator. He dangled just enough rope to get the media to pounce, but not quite enough to hang himself.
In order to fully understand the media’s transmutation and the strategic brilliance behind Trump’s comments, let’s split hairs by looking at the full transcript of his supposedly infamous comments.
“The US has become a dumping ground for everyone elses [sic] problems … The people aren’t the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you, they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting, and it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than just Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming from—probably—probably the Middle East. But we don’t know because we have no protection and no competence. We don’t know what is happening and it has got to stop. And it’s got to stop fast.” [my emphasis]
Of course the imprecise ambiguity of his words allows for the lazy and surface-level interpretation that he believes most Mexicans are criminals and rapists. Yet his referencing of the border, the Middle East, Latin and South America all clarify his subject as just the illegals entering through America’s southern border. His decision to only give passing reference to the good Samaritans (nope, sorry, not citizens) illegally entering the country once again suggests he’s implying that he thinks they’re all criminals and rapists. However, when one looks at Trump’s use of “assume,” “probably,” and “we don’t know,” one can see that he is highlighting the fact that America is clueless as to whom is coming across her border.
But when dealing with negative criticism of immigrants, the touchy American media always revert to the worn-out racism card. They always frame the leveler of the criticism as a bigot. The Donald, intimate with the dullards of the press for decades, was well aware of this motif before he consciously decided to defy it. Though Trump’s statement was (cunningly) crude, anyone who thought it was a gaffe–instead of tongue-in-cheek goading of the press and his GOP rivals–was bamboozled. So many mistaken his calculated truculence for childish petulance.
It was during this time in his endless media tour that journalists kept berating him with skewed and counterfeit statistics on illegal immigrants,. (Why scrutinize statistics when they backup your confirmation bias?) The most memorable interview of this kind was the one with NBC’s Katy Tur. Tur went into the interview with the gusto of a lion tamer. By the end she’d been mauled worse than Roy of Siegfried & Roy and provided new credence to Sigmund Freud.
With a sarcastic smirk and condescending tone she began the interview by rudely questioning the sincerity of his bid for presidency.
Tur: So my first question, why are we here in New York? Why aren’t we out on the campaign trail?
Trump: Oh, I’ve been to Iowa many times. I’ve been to New Hampshire many, many times. Love the people there and we’ve had tremendous success, we’ve had tremendous crowds. No one gets as many standing ovations, And you know I spend a lot of time out. I was in South Carolina recently–and we’re all over. This weekend I’ll be going to be with Clint Eastwood in California with a tremendous group of people. I’m going to Arizona this weekend. I’ll be all over the place.
Tur: You were one of the only candidates that didn’t campaign during the Fourth of July. Pretty much all of them were up in New Hampshire and you were not there. You passed. No campaign events really this week. No campaign events planned for next week that we know of so far. You’re not campaigning that much, how can anyone take you seriously if you’re not out there showing your face.
Trump: Because I’m out there doing television with you, and I am out there a lot and I’ve watched [the other candidates] out there walking the streets and it didn’t mean anything. I was actually getting more news coverage than anybody else by far because I’m the one that brought up the whole situation and the whole mess with immigration, and what the Mexican government is doing to us. So you know I didn’t have to be, and I would’ve been had they wanted me to. And I just decided that it probably wasn’t necessary. I’m going up actually next week. I’ll be in Iowa many times over the next number of months.
Could he be any more candid for the camera? He doesn’t need to be constantly slogging it on the ground to events with hundreds of people when he’s transmitted into millions of American homes every single day. AWashington Post article,“How Donald Trump plays the press, in his own words”, cited long quotes from Trump’s Art of the Deal, which are enlightening in explaining Trump’s campaign tactics. In his bestselling book he explains how you must feed the mainstream media controversy in order to get coverage:
…the press is … always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.
He definitely has a “little outrageous” down to a T. And when you’re as “bold” as Trump has been the past two months, you don’t just get written and talked about endlessly, but you routinely get 10-45 minute interview slots on prime time to drive home your message, “Make America Great Again!” This free exposure also explains why WSJ just reported Trump “has rejected paid television advertising as unnecessary.”
Trump realizes he doesn’t need to squander his own money on ads when he’s already dominating headlines everywhere. Trump also explained the beauty of free publicity in his bestseller.
If I take a full-page ad in the New York Times to publicize a project, it might cost $40,000, and in any case, people tend to be skeptical about advertising. But if the New York Times writes even a moderately positive one-column story about one of my deals, it doesn’t cost me anything, and it’s worth a lot more than $40,000.
The Funny thing is that even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business.
Why blow money on advertising when you can get way more valuable exposure for zilch? Maybe this is the type of mindset and frugality a 19 trillion-dollars-in-debt America needs.
But back to observing Trump’s masterful handling of the press in action. Once he had brushed aside Tur’s questioning of his campaign’s authenticity, she began citing her friendly statistics on the benevolent, undocumented illegals.
Tur: We have a lower incarceration rate for Mexican immigrants and illegal immigrants than we do for any U.S. born citizens.
Trump: It’s a wrong statistic. Go check your numbers. It’s totally wrong.
Tur: It’s PEW research.
Trump: It sounds good, it’s a wrong statistic. Check your numbers.
After he brusquely brushed aside her false statistics, she made a desperate attempt at making a racist, direct correlation between El Paso’s high Hispanic population and the fact that the city has the lowest crime rate in the county. (She was basically claiming El Paso as proof that Hispanics are inherently less crime-prone than other people and other races. See America, let the Hispanic illegals in by the busloads, they’ll only help in diluting the national crime rate. To add to the hilarity, El Paso’s extremely low crime rate is also cited by defenders of the 2nd amendment because the city has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the country.) 15 minutes later, Tur was back at it with the faulty stats.
Tur: Immigration is down, why is this such a big topic for you right now?
Trump: Immigration is a very big topic. Take a look at all the time that is being committed. Go take a look–
Tur: The research says that crime does not match what you’re saying–
Trump: Depends on whose research–
Tur: The PEW research, which is independent–
Trump: Don’t be naive, you’re a very naive person.
Tur: The PEW research says that–there–for–immigrants on the whole create–are…
Trump: Come on, try getting it out. Try getting it out.
Tur: I’ll get it out.
Trump: I don’t know if you’re going to put this on television, but you don’t even know what you’re talking about. Try getting it out. Go ahead.
Tur: Immigrants commit less crimes than US citizens. There are less immigrants in our jails than–
Trump: You know what, number one, I disagree with it. Number two, whether it’s true or not, illegal immigrants…are causing tremendous crime.
Days before Trump bulldozed the young Katy Tur, the young Katie Steinle was shot dead in cold blood, in broad daylight, by a convicted criminal and illegal who had been deported five times. What looked like a fortuitous and timely tragedy for Trump, was in all probability a statistical inevitability. Yet, this extremely tragic murder no more proved undocumented illegals are all killers than Tur’s utopian El Paso proved their saintliness, but it did do wonders for the public’s perception.
To heed The Donald’s Art of the Deal again: “Most reporters, I find, have very little interest in exploring the substance of a detailed proposal for a development. They look instead for the sensational angle.”
Trump, a man with no shame, began bringing the murder up whenever talking, and the instinctual media lapped it up. On a weekend in the middle of July, in the heat of summer, Trump soared on his private jet to California, Nevada, and Arizona. At all three events, Trump railed against the “porous” southern border. While in LA, he held a press conference where several family members of Americans murdered by illegals were given time to speak at the podium. He topped off the weekend by giving a speech to over 15,000 Americans in Phoenix.
Shortly after that weekend, in what was most definitely a fortuitous event, El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord, had escaped prison and threatened Trump via Twitter over his immigrant comments. An international manhunt had begun, and somehow Trump had managed to again make the story about him. Next it was reported Trump had contacted the FBI for protection. Nearing the end of July, Trump was in Laredo, Texas, visiting the border–exultant in a presidential-like motorcade.
As the media feeding frenzy intensified, Trump surged and blew past Jeb Bush in the polls. This would’ve come as no surprise to Trump. Roger Stone, Trump’s former campaign manager who just recently quit or was fired, alluded in an interview that from the outset of Trump’s campaign it was clear to them that a tough stance on illegal immigration was a winning issue.
All they needed was the perfect sales pitch. Trump reread his bestseller:
The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.
I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration–and a very effective form of promotion.
Lights! Camera! Action!
“I would build a great wall–and nobody builds like I do, believe me, and I’d build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
The most notable of the late night comics’ worn-out, played-out routines came from the sanctimonious Jon Stewart, who once projected an aura of witty intellect with his prematurely grey do. It’s the curious case of Jon Stewart that he’s now reached the age of maturity for fading hair and wisdom, yet, despite his 52 years, his so-called wit has shriveled to juvenile immaturity—e.g. his recent mock orgasm over Trump’s announcement speech. His stature as a biting satirist has shrunk over the Obama years as he’s fawned over the current president. Stewart’s palpable giddiness during Obama’s last appearance on The Daily Show, his clandestine briefings at the Oval Office, and Obama’s facetious executive order that Stewart remain host of the show all confirmed him as a huckster for the liberal agenda, not a freethinking satirist exposing hypocrisy on both sides of the political aisle. Stewart knew his audience well—the highly coveted, liberal youth of 18- to 34-year-olds—and he pandered and played to its cliched, simplistic worldview for 16 grueling years. If Stewart reflected on his relationship with his audience and writers, one could picture him paraphrasing Matthew McConaughey’s perverted high-school-girl-preying character in Dazed and Confused: “That’s what I love about about these green college grads, I get older, they stay the same age.”