I know it’s almost certainly horribly wrong, not to mention obtuse and unserious and spectacularly point-missing, but somehow, I just can’t not find this latest foray into hardball media management by the PM’s communicator general to be wonderfully amusing in its utter absurdity.
[…]Harper’s spokespeople threatened to cancel the press conference if, at any point in the day, a Canadian reporter shouts out a question without being invited to do so.
White House reporters habitually bark out queries during photo opportunities with the president.
But nobody had better dare pulling such a stunt in Harper’s office.
“If you do (ask a question), the photo op will immediately cease,” Teneycke said.
“And I think the remainder of the day will be . . . I’ll choose my words carefully on this: it would be very ill-advised, given that there’s a press conference later.”
When asked whether such a punishment would also apply to American visitors, Teneycke replied: “I’m not going to get into that.”
It’s hard to come up with a response to such an entirely unnecessary bout of swaggery more succinct than, “Oh, come on.” Really, PMO? Really? What are you going to do, turn this presidential visit around and go home?
Here’s the thing. Knowing my colleagues as well as one can after being a member of the press gallery for — let’s just say more years than I care to admit, I can say with pretty near absolute certainty that the vast majority of us were not, in fact, raised in a barn, or a DC scrum, and are entirely capable of behaving ourselves for the six or so hours that the president will be oot and aboot on Canadian soil.
Given that, I’m fairly sure that, if there were to be a sudden outburst of spontaneous question-shouting — which, as CP notes, is hardly something to which the president is unaccustomed; it is, in fact, standard operating procedure down south — we would almost certainly not be the instigators of any such disorder, orchestrated or otherwise.
But even if we were — or, more likely, that if it broke out, and we joined the American-led chorus — do you really expect us to believe that you would take it upon yourselves to exert some petty, pointless revenge against legitimately accredited media, during what will likely be one of the most widely-watched Canadian political events of the Prime Minister’s tenure in office? That would take face-spiting nose-choppage to a whole new level.
Plus, given the yawnfulness with which our US counterparts seem to be greeting this visit, and its so-brief-it-won’t-even-last-through-a-CNN-newscycle duration, can you imagine the shocked delight with which they would react should the host country choose that, of all moments, to retaliate against the local press? I can just imagine Jon Stewart’s ensuing glee.
Honestly, PMO, for the next few days, we really are all in this madness together. Let’s just try to survive, and keep our national dignity somewhat intact, at least as long as there is company present. After that, we can totally go back to the usual Ralph and Sam routine. Deal?