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Elizabeth May: It’s going well, I think


 

From Anne Kingston’s dynamite profile of the party and its leader in this peculiar post-election moment,  which adorns our current print issue:

May admits it has been a learning experience, but blames the press for misquoting her: “The media tends to spin and distort what I said,” she says. She also expressed frustration with her own party post-election, after an email her daughter, Victoria Cate, sent to several candidates in Ontario and Quebec was posted on emaygoway.ca. The 17-year-old, who campaigned with her mother, asked candidates for their input on how a Harper victory could be prevented: “If you are at all willing to consider measures that could be taken to ensure that our Prime Minister is not a man who believes Kyoto is a socialist plot, I would be grateful for your thoughts and your suggestions,” she wrote, noting: “I feel we have a moral obligation not only to advance the best solutions and ideas, but also to espouse the values of meaningful progress over political gains.” The language seems to suggest candidates either drop out or concentrate on working against the Tories to avoid splitting votes.

Jacoby-Hawkins, who received the note, was surprised by it. It came amid talk of two Green candidates in Quebec throwing their support behind Liberals. After a short email exchange with Victoria May, he continued his strategy to target “small c” conservative voters unhappy with Harper. In an email to candidates and organizers May vented her anger that the email had been posted on the Internet: “Using my daughter’s emails against me is so low I wonder what party I am in,” she wrote. After learning that Maclean’s had inquired about her daughter’s email, May sent a lawyer’s letter threatening legal action should any story suggest that she had ghostwritten it. She says the email was written without her knowledge or permission and refuses to discuss it. “It’s none of your business,” she said to Maclean’s. “My daughter is not part of your story.”


 

Elizabeth May: It’s going well, I think

  1. It must be frustrating that her ‘post-partisan’ – dare I say marverick – style didn’t get the positive spin she was probably hoping for. I think there are two possible reasons for this. One, there’s a legitimate argument to be made that she’s more hyper-partisan than post-partisan, at least in terms of the approach she takes in opposing the current government. Two, in terms of temperament, she’s a lot more like Harper than she would ever dare admit.

  2. So much DRAMA!!!!!!!!

  3. I’m thinking of starting an organisation called “Let’s Pick Fights with People who Buy Pixels by the Terabyte.”

    And I’m serious. Practically every public figure who has not be sufficiently respectful of corporate values has been given a rough time by the media, and it’s time to hit back. The fights might not end up helping the careers of the public figures, but it certainly helps to reveal to the rest of us the petulant, cynical personalities of our gatekeepers in the news media who are possessed, surprisingly, of rather fragile egos.

  4. May admits it has been a learning experience, but blames the press for misquoting her: “The media tends to spin and distort what I said,” she says.

    Cripes, I don’t know what more she could have been hoping for. May and the Greens got by far the most positive coverage during the election cycle, according to McGill’s Media Observatory findings (they’re up at my place, if anyone requires verification).

    I’d love, just once, to hear a politician say “you know what media, bang up job!” or “Wow, the media really nailed me, and rightly so! Who says they’re not losing sleep over war crimes? Boy, I sure am gaffe prone, aint I?”

  5. My, my, it really was amateur hour, wasn’t it? And what’s with the lawsuit theme? “Ah’m gonna suuue yew, Ah reckin, less’n yew meedja boahs stap messin’ wi’ mah Lizzih.”

    Ti-Guy, such an organisation as you suggest might be satisfying but I don’t think it would help anti-corporate candidates win. As Obama has shown, in order to run against the establishment you need to be more slick, more focused, more covertly ruthless — you need to play the established game and win.

  6. May and the Greens got by far the most positive coverage during the election cycle, according to McGill’s Media Observatory findings (they’re up at my place, if anyone requires verification).

    Individuals, during the campaign are not making judgements of politicians based on a scientific synthesis of media coverage that occurs after the election is over. With sensationalist media, voters are being bludgeoned with reports of minor gaffes with very little discussion of how substantive they are in relation to issues of governance.

  7. I appreciate a leader who, in losing, blames everyone else in the party, and then exclaims that for the good of those ingrates, she will make the sacrifice to be leader again, as only her personal popularity keeps the boat afloat.
    That’s the kind of arrogance we need in Ottawa!

  8. May has been blaming everyone but herself.

    The media this time around gave the Greens fair coverage. But according to May, ALL of the quotes allegedly taken from her mouth were distortions of what she really said.

    Yea, right. Well, on that second show of The Agenda, viewers witnessed May hearing a Truth that no one else did, including host Steve Paiken. Given that no one else was buying it, May let said truth quietly fade away, as evident in a subsequent blog post.

    Oh, and where does May get the notion that she has 95% support in the party? I know several members of the GPC. None of them were asked!

  9. Ti-Guy, such an organisation as you suggest might be satisfying but I don’t think it would help anti-corporate candidates win.

    If you think Obama is an anti-corporate candidate, well…that’s a little naive. It’s too early to tell just how effective he’ll be in challenging corporate power. I’m in agreement that public figures have to be mindful of how the media will treat them if they really do intend to take necessary actions that require power and influence. But with Obama, that remains to be seen. Ronald Reagan was a darling of the media. So was Clinton, until late in his tenure. So was Bush up until 2006. Where did that get us?

    The truth and the consequences of particular regimes never comes out until much later. With the availability of tools to report on events in real time, it’s important that the rest of us insist on accuracy and relevant context in real time.

  10. With sensationalist media, voters are being bludgeoned with reports of minor gaffes with very little discussion of how substantive they are in relation to issues of governance.

    I don’t see how this is in any way responding to my comment. Probably because the media doesn’t want me to know how this is in any way responding to my comment.

  11. Couldn’t agree more, Ti-Guy. On verra. But I think overt confrontations with the establishment will be rare and not practically effective — just bones to keep the base motivated. The real change will be subtle and unspectacular. As vs. the Elizabeth May approach, where it’s all gratuitous grandstanding.

  12. “She says the email was written without her knowledge or permission and refuses to discuss it. “It’s none of your business,” she said to Maclean’s. “My daughter is not part of your story.””

    Based on Elizabeth May’s reaction does that make the email Victoria’s Secret?

    Who knew you could get Elizabeth May and Victoria’s Secret into the same sentence (snark off)

  13. I don’t know what you’re talking about Olaf. But in any case, unless you’re an information professional of some kind, I’d stop referring to this year’s Media Observatory Study. I haven’t had time to assess it in depth, but when I came across this

    “This is the third instalment of our
    federal election content analysis,
    extending our previous efforts in 2004
    and 2006. While analysis of past campaigns
    was performed manually by
    human coders actively reading the
    newspapers, the 2008 analysis relies
    entirely on a new automated content
    analytic procedure.

    The automated method relies on
    dictionaries of categorical keywords,
    which are currently available only in
    English. As a consequence, our 2008
    study covers only English-language
    press

    …I started having grave doubts. Fully-automated procedure, using an automated concordance to assess tone and relevance? French-language (and non-official language) media excluded? Audiovisual media excluded?

    I have serious problems with this study.

  14. I’m amazed at how many of you see this as ‘May versus the establishment’… silly on so many levels.

  15. ’m amazed at how many of you see this as ‘May versus the establishment’

    Who’s asserted this, exactly? Only Jack Mitchell mentionned establishment, specifically with regard to Obama (who is of course, part of the ‘establishment.’)

    There’s establishment and then there’s anti-corporate. And I’m just really kvetching about the media, as usual.

  16. Emmett: “I’m amazed at how many of you see this as ‘May versus the establishment’… silly on so many levels.”

    Yeah, well, I didn’t have a particular establishment in mind, and of course there establishments and establishments . . . I mean, she’s adopted the all-purpose hectoring tone of an anti-establishmentarian, so whether or not she’s actually against the right (or wrong) establishment is a bit moot. Still, if you specify the silliness I can get back to you.

  17. Ms. May had lots of positive coverage up to the point that media types actually started to pay attention to what she was saying – the leftie, anti-corporate side of her rhetoric – whereupon the coverage became patronizing and dismissive. Because all such rhetoric is patronized and dismissed. Her local riding campaign, given impossible odds and lack of money, was actually quite good.

    What I found odd – but not really – was that any wandering around leftie neighbourhoods , rabble, straight goods, tyee, did not show any real support for her either. That focus was on the more right wing, pro-corporate side of the Green program.

    If she is determined to run again as a Green, it really should be elsewhere. If she’s determined to run in Central Nova her best chance – very slim – is as a Liberal. Would her candidacy as a Liberal be welcomed by the “new” Liberals??

  18. So…

    …an email to Green Party candidates that gets public is nobody’s business, with the added spice of a threat to release the sharks.

    and

    …a Liberal gathering of riding honchos has the most public of in camera meetings.

    and

    …the Tories don’t want anyone to see what real party members think as they make the sausage that is national party policy.

    Friendly amendment to Paul’s title, while retaining every drop of our beloved Welsian understated snark: Canadian democracy: It’s going well, I think.

    Remind me again why taxpayer dollars subsidize these bozos so heavily?

  19. “The media tends to spin and distort what I said,” [Elizabeth May] says.

    How long before she claims she was misquoted?

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