I have to thank Eric Reguly, he of the glib and male variety, as the inspiration for this title, for it was Eric who set the tone for the debate on income trusts, with his article in the aptly named ROB magazine of March 2005 entitled ”Capitalism for slobs."
It was Eric who also called for income trust lobbyists to be entombed in concrete and thrown into the lake. That’s Eric’s idea of a debate...with dead people.
Meanwhile Terry Corcoran’s idea of a debate is to vaporize certain people who disagree with him....more dead people to win debates with. And these are Canada’s two leading newspapers?
Actually it is quite sad, as well as most revealing.
My original approach to the media was not to attack them, but rather to educate them. This involved many one-on-one meetings of a typical duration of one hour in length or lengthy conversations over the phone followed up with various reports and the like. After all, the facts in support of income trusts are extensive, and all from credible sources.
Meanwhile the concept of tax leakage has the validity of the manufactured concept that it is. Believing in tax leakage in 2008 is the equivalent of re-enacting the Salem Witch Trials or practicing Fiscal Policy Creationism.
About a year ago it dawned on me that probably 80% of the blame for the income trust fiasco resides with journalists. It didn’t have to be this way. However it is the assumed role of journalists in society to challenge the veracity of government pronouncements. Politicians are predisposed to lying, in one form or another. It’s endemic to our political system. Citizens look to journalists to protect them from these lies and to ferret out truth from fiction.
And yet how much “push back” is evident in this comment of November 21, 2006 from a Globe and Mail reporter?
“To paraphrase Maggie Thatcher, we also met with Flaherty, and the gentleman is not for turning. The government isn't going to change. & judging from my e-mails and work by analysts such as your former partner Diane Urquhardt (sic), there's a lot of retired folks who are not loving trusts these days.”
Evidently this guy had given up before even starting. There will be no Olympic Gold medal in journalism for this guy. That’s for sure.
Legitimately displeased with the performance of journalists, I have made my displeasure known as well as the detailed reasons for my displeasure.
Over the weekend some of you may have received an email from Dan Miles. Jim Flaherty’s Director of Communications, that read:
“Now trying to tarnish the reputations of me, journalists, MPs, economists, investment advisors.... Anyone who disagrees with you.... Is not healthy. Please everyone out there, let's help our pal Brent.....”
This is quite the concept, except I have no control over any one’s reputation except my own. The interesting part of this comment is the notion that I am trying to tarnish the reputation of journalists, or anyone else for that matter. Investment advisors? Surely he’s not referring to Diane Urquhart? That’s a whole subject unto itself.
If a person were to stop and think about this for a moment, it is Dan Miles who is actually doing more in contributing to these people’s potentially diminished reputations, than I ever could hope to, assuming that was even my goal. After all, it is not I who is spoon-feeding journalists with false information, cooked up analyses or cherry picked data. I am not the one setting these people up. That is the role that has been assumed by Dan Miles. Evidently, he is paid to do that as detailed in his interview with the CBC of February 2, 2007, in which he stated:
“I think that the biggest thing that the communications on the government's side can bring to the table and what they try to focus on is anticipation. You have to be able to anticipate the question, and then you have to be able to anticipate the issue and then you can go from there to try to craft a message to try and get you message out… "put out the fire" so to speak.
I've had in the time that I've worked in government I've seen the challenges posed by trying to communicate a bad policy.
Basically what you are trying to do for journalist is to make it easy, and make your lead their lead. That is a crucial part of what we do.
To be good at what we do, we have to make it as easy as possible for journalist. They shouldn't have to be reaming through reading pages and pages and paragraphs of material to try and find what we are trying to tell them.”
Then you develop an event. And this depends on the gravity and importance of the policy, as there are a number of factors that determine what your event is going to be. And then if it is deemed that is to be of great significant then obviously you are going to develop an event [BCE’s faux announced conversion?] and what is the picture of that event going to be? This is crucially important because at the end of the day it is going to be the picture that is painted that will be in the minds of Canadians.”
Enough about Dan the media manipulator. Meanwhile my goal has been to help journalists. This has proven to have been a somewhat futile exercise, as many journalists are demonstrating that they are not up to the task of being helped.
Part of my current approach is “tough love”. Contrast that to Dan Miles approach which is best characterized as “tough luck”. How many of you journalists out there who have relied on Dan Miles for spoon fed “leads” and “developed events” that have been served up in a way that has been made “as easy as possible for a journalist”, actually believe that Dan Miles will be there for you when you take your inevitable fall?
Do you people actually believe that Canadians aren’t going to get to the bottom of the fraud known as tax leakage? Perhaps that’s where Canadians-at-large differ from journalists-at-large, since these people they didn’t accumulate $35 billion in savings by performing jobs that were “as easy as possible”. These people worked for this money. They aren’t going to let some tin pot incompetent Prime Minister steal it from them, and certainly not through a process known as “journalism for slobs.”, as best exemplified by this comment by a Toronto Star reporter:
“I didn't explore the possibility that [Flaherty] was lying. Perhaps I should have.”
To which Dan’s response would likely be: “tough luck”, since journalists’ reputations appear to be the furthest thing from Dan’s scheming mind of deliberate deception and total obfuscation.
Don’t say you weren’t adequately forewarned. Enjoy your reputations while they last. Remember, I am the enemy, as I represent the truth that needs to be quashed.....or vaporized....maybe concrete?
Monday, August 18, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 7:43 AM