Cutting Edge Journalism

From CTV…

Yes, it’s another installment of intrepid video reportage from the campaign trail via CTV’s Election2011 channel on YouTube – that now does not allow comments!

Why on earth CTV (and their Globe & Mail subsidiary) posts these inane turds on their respective YouTube channels continues to mystify me. Can anyone provide an explanation? I’m not sure why, but I keep hoping that something illuminating might possibly appear one of these days, but it certainly hasn’t happened thus far.

Air America RIP

In what’s turned out to be a fairly brutal week for Democrats, the liberal national radio network, Air America Radio shut off its microphones today and announced the company is filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, just a few weeks shy of its sixth anniversary.

Of course, there’s much triumphant crowing from all the right-wing blogs about AAR’s demise, although few have coherently reconciled it with one of their most treasured conspiracy theories; that of the so-called “liberal media” that the likes Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and countless other “conservative” blowhards are always incessantly whining about on their dominant radio and television programs.

Harper Unplugged

No surprise that in a speech Harper delivered to Manning Institute for Building Democracy on Thursday, he would, as usual it seems these days, be lying up a storm. Take this for example, in regards to Obama “raising” taxes on earnings of more than $250,000 a year: “They didn’t tell you the taxes they would raise – we are seeing that in the States now – but they wouldn’t have brought in any tax reductions at all.” Aside from the tortured construction there not making sense (which I suspect is the fault of the reporter misquoting out of context), the assertion is flatly untrue. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to lapse, thereby effectively “raising” taxes (or more accurately allowing them to return to the previous level under Clinton), was clearly and plainly stated as a promise in Obama’s presidential campaign.

I only wish that the so-called “liberal media” would publish the transcript of this speech (and/or allow us to hear the tape that was circulated amongst various media outlets) so we could all see/hear what a duplicitous prick Harper is and find out for ourselves how many other mendacious boners were packed into his address “meant for sympathetic ears” of the faithful.

Update (for obdurate dummies): It seems audio of the speech is available here. Transcripts are apparently on the way in due course, so watch that space.


What… Tell me it’s not so! Barack Obama had been in office now for all of… 34 days already and there’s been NO MIRACLE yet! Wall Street hasn’t suddenly rebounded? The global economic crisis hasn’t been HEALED!!! The GDP isn’t bouncing back to normal…

Clearly this presidency is in immediate peril of becoming an epic failure.

The So-Called Liberal Media

Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rose talk with Bill Moyers about the media culture in Washington.

It’s not about the truth, or even about ideology — it’s about journalists’ desire to maintain their insider status and access to power, so that they can continue to project an elite air of authority. According to Greenwald and Rose, in today’s media culture, you really don’t have to know what you’re talking about, as long as you sound like you do [insert irony here].

More good stuff related to this story on the PBS website.

A Questionable Question

I haven’t been riveted to election coverage over the last few days — I just can’t take it, especially in the current climate of economic “shock and awe” in addition to everything on a personal level being in total disarray… It just all strikes me as infinitely stupid, profoundly insulting, anxiety producing, deeply annoying, intellectually bankrupt, and generally crazy-making. It was thoroughly saddening therefore to take a brief peek at what’s going on and encountered this:

I’m sure it’s well-worn ground already for most bloggers and doubtless many of the legion of faithful Connie-bots, drones, trolls and other miscreants that inhabit Stephen Taylor’s Little Shop of Horrors are all dutifully bugling it up with relish (I can’t even bring myself to confirm that, but it’s a fairly safe assumption). Even so, I felt compelled to throw my two cents in.

I gather this is supposed to make Mr. Dion look bad. Is that the idea? Really? I sort of get that impression from this article in the Globe & Mail and having seen the way it aired on The National on Thursday night as being some terrible, problematic gaffe.

Look, never mind all that silly rubbish about Dion’s supposed “hearing problem” and the moaning grievances arising out of that, i.e., that Tories are “shamelessly trying to embarrass” Dion, etc. Complete nonsense. I’m sure Dion heard the question quite perfectly well. The simple fact of the matter is that it was a poorly constructed question. I guess we can sort of guess what this anchorman from CTV in Halifax was feebly attempting to get at, but it was worded poorly and when asked for clarification and more precision on the predicates of his question, this silly dope just kept repeating it over and over again. That never illuminates things. And then he has the temerity to admit that he lied to Dion and his staff and airs his clowning as a “public service.” Please. How insulting.

I have to say that, if anything, watching this video measurably increased my appreciation of Stéphane Dion — which has never been all that high in some respects. If it was meant to knock him down and cast him in a poor light, it failed completely. Quite to the contrary, it demonstrated that he’s a man of good humour, patience and even more than that… while his English may be strained and rather difficult to listen to at times (he often puts the emphasis on the wrong syllables and all that), but he understands that words have meaning and desperately strains to comprehend what people are trying to communicate to him. In the few town hall meetings in which I’ve seen him interacting with supporters and others in attendance (even if they’re hostile Conservative plants) this sensibility has come across repeatedly.

Perhaps as Andrew Coyne rather insightfully, but contemptuously, said on The National’s “At Issue” panel tonight, this election is all about “EMPATHY”… But you know, maybe that’s not such an altogether bad thing. Mr “Steady As She Goes” Harper recklessly and selfishly called a “vapid” election (to quote the aforementioned hack) for nothing more than to gain a majority on the leading edge of an economic crisis in a desperate attempt to avoid being branded with the old adage that “Tory Times are Tough Times” and really doesn’t have much of a plan going forward.

“Business as usual”? How’s that all working out these days?

My Friends…

Here’s another inviting pic from the Stephen Harper government’s “realistic” platform, almost half of which consists of pictures of Stephen Harper and the remainder of which is “business as usual” policies on international trade, a bit of this and that, and some lame backtracking on nasty partisan positions aimed at targeting specific cultural groups.

CTV’s Newsnet (the dreaded “liberal media” in case you forgot) gave us the glory of Harper speaking to a crowd of “enthusiastic supporters” this afternoon in Hamilton. “Harper! Harper! Harper!” they chanted on cue. Exactly why they exerted themselves in this way is a complete mystery.

Bloody Staples

It would be natural to think that the Liberals’ proposed “Green Shift” plan that purports to cut taxes on income, investment and innovation, and shift those taxes to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and so on, would have a significant negative impact on Alberta, given the fundamental role played by fossil fuels its economy. And it will — there’s absolutely no doubt about that. The question is what the nature and extent of that impact will be.

David Staples, a “serious” journalist with the Edmonton Journal (who also writes extensively on popular culture), has a short piece (and by short we mean 250 words short) on the CanWest wires today with the alarming headline “Green Shift would bleed Alberta, experts say.” Um, okay. So, we look through the piece to see who the “experts” are making this claim and what do we find? Well, nothing at all really.

Staples starts off by citing some dubious and highly inflammatory remarks made by Liberal MP Ken Boschcoff several months ago that Green Shift is a way to transfer money out of Alberta into the rest of Canada and then moves on to University of Calgary professor David Keith, who shoots down the idea of a wealth transfer out of Alberta and says that some negotiations with the province would be needed. And that’s it. Period. No “experts” saying what’s claimed in the headline at all. Nothing, Nadda, Zip, Zero, Zilch! To put it quite bluntly, this little article is complete, unmitigated, phoned-in BULLSHIT.

Oh, and here’s a kicker, Environment Minister John Baird said earlier in the week that the “Green Shift” might actually be welcomed by the oilsands industry. Of course, he was attempting to make the case that it would create a “pay-and-pollute” system (as opposed to the Conservative “plan”), but still… this is the Conservatives saying that the doom and gloom for Alberta economic scenario they’ve been painting may not actually be true.

Update: Apparently, the print version that appeared in the Edmonton Journal is more extensive than what was posted over the wires by CanWest. Thanks to Gayle in the comments for pointing out the more complete article which is available here. Notwithstanding the headline, it presents a considerably more balanced assessment of how the Liberals’ “Green Shift” carbon tax might impact the Alberta economy.

Update2: Garth has a very good Q&A summary regarding the “Green Shift” on his blog today. What a pity the Liberals didn’t put something like this together ahead of the game to preemptively address these sorts of questions. Oh well. Live and learn, I guess.


I gather that Bob Hepburn isn’t much enamoured with Stéphane Dion.

Dion likely was the wrong person to lead the Liberals in the first place. In the 2006 Liberal leadership race against Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff, his geeky demeanour, his leather backpack, his tortured English seemed so fresh, so non-traditional that it was in many ways appealing. He had good policies on the environment; he appealed to many young Liberals.

But he squandered his chance to become a true leader of the party.

Now, after 20 months of non-stop attack by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with his take-no-prisoners approach to politics, Dion is no longer so appealing.

He has not risen in stature. He remains cool, aloof, an academic who seems to believe he’s the smartest person in every room he enters and that he really doesn’t need anyone’s advice.

Ultimately, Dion must take the blame for the miserable campaign.

As opposition leader, his first job was to get his party ready for an election. That meant recruiting the best campaign organizers for a 21st-century election, rebuilding party finances, luring top candidates, soothing the warring internal factions, making himself media savvy.

He has done none of that.

Why does Stephen Harper need an expensive war-room in Ottawa launching relentless attacks against the Liberal leader when there’s the nasty scribes of the Toronto Star’s editorial room doing the same thing for free? Every single day. Go liberal media!

Meanwhile, over at Macleans, Chris Selley (Megapundit) has this to say about the new “team” approach the Liberals have taken over the last several days:

It “sounds obtuse” to send Stéphane Dion out on parade with his would-be successors in tow, Lawrence Martin writes in The Globe and Mail, but having Bob Rae around seems to have “enliven[ed]” Dion, and in any case it’s “probably the only way for the besieged professor to get out from under his nimbus of vulnerability.” Indeed it is, and it doesn’t sound the least bit obtuse to us, either. If you had Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findley and Marc Garneau (we’ll pretend Martin didn’t mention Justin Trudeau among the luminaries), wouldn’t you want to publicly contrast that team against Harper’s gang of nobodies, hacks, mimbos and Common Sense Revolution refugees?

Heh. What a superlative description of Harper’s cabinet there at the end.