"I want you over there, sir, with the rest of the media"; "Remember, no questions. Do you have a problem with that?"
But the first question came from the Fuhrer, and guess what? The media refused to answer him.
Isn't that priceless?
"Did they tell you this is all oyster shells?" Stephen Harper said to the media, assembled behind a make-shift partition 10 metres away at the Deep Bay Field Research Station. He paused a moment, holding a crushed shell which made up the surface we walked on outside the $8.8-million structure, which should open by January. The dozen reporters present, surprised he'd even acknowledge them, said nothing. His security men, looking the part in dark suits (with bulges) and sunglasses, kept looking our way and beyond, into the trees.He's no Jean Chretien:
... For the media it was an odd dance, since no talking with the PM was permitted, and he allowed but that single comment to acknowledge them, during
the quarter-hour allowed. "Give ya 30 bucks if ya ask a question," one scribe said to another. But it wasn't that easy. He was too far away for that, and engaged with others.
Harper has announced that he may "secretly" visit Thunder Bay. No questions allowed. I think the media should stand in a row and turn their backs to the man. He has not earned their respect, so they need not show it.
This wasn't Jean Chretien, who enjoyed engaging with media. Chretien would come over and talk to us. Sometimes he'd get all choked up about it, or someone else would, he was that intimate. I was working in The Pas, Manitoba, years ago, when Chretien showed up. Forget the suits and hidden guns, the little guy from Shawinigan was on his own. Somewhere in my vastness of papers, there's a photo of myself face to face with old Jean, discussing a point. He was accessible.
And you have to think that Mr. Harper might ultimately be the loser in this game he's playing, setting himself apart from the media rabble. Because while it may be safer in some ways, it also has its risks: being seen as lacking courage is one of them, and failing to address local concerns is another.