The George W. Bush School of Media Management

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The George W. Bush School of Media Management

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears to have graduated from it cum laude. This article is from Monday's New York Times:
Since the election of his minority Conservative government in January, Mr. Harper and his staff have repeatedly tried to change how Canada's news outlets deal with its prime minister.

Mr. Harper's office is vetting minor government announcements, members of his cabinet have generally been off limits to reporters, and cameras have been blocked from covering the return of Canadian soldiers' remains from Afghanistan.

... In formal news conferences in Ottawa ... journalists are selected by a member of the (press) gallery's executive committee, which is elected by reporters, to ask questions, more or less on the principle of first come, first served.

Now, Mr. Harper's office wants reporters with questions to put their names on a list and let members of his media relations staff pick and choose.

... last Tuesday, when officials from Mr. Harper's staff asked reporters to sign up before an informal news conference in the House of Commons lobby, about two dozen left. The handful of reporters who stayed did not submit their names and were told that Mr. Harper would not take their questions.
Harper might want to think twice about borrowing press-control strategies from an American president with an approval rating in the low 30's.

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