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Rare look inside secret meeting of MSM establishment


 

The second photo here captures the press gallery in the midst of negotiating the questions that would be asked of the President and Prime Minister during Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa earlier this year.

For the record, I am standing on the right side of the picture. And appear to have been in need of a haircut.


 

Rare look inside secret meeting of MSM establishment

  1. I find it ridiculous that this PM limits his media questions to such an extent -and even more ridiculous that you guys let him get away with it.

    • How are the journalists supposed to "not let him get away with it"? No one, regardless of whether he is the PM or not is obligated to answer question, unless under oath. Anyone can stop answering questions at any time, whenever they want. Seriously, what would actually be your strategy for "forcing" the PM to answer your questions?

    • 1. The PM is perfectly justified in limiting the number of questions in this type of case.
      2. How exactly do you propose journalists "not let him get away with it"? How exactly are journalists to force the PM to continue answering questions? Forget the fact that he is the PM, anyone can stop answering questions at any time from anyone? Seriously, what would your strategy be for forcing the PM to answer more questions than he wants to? Threaten not to cover the story at all? Fine, says the PM, no problem, try selling a newspaper with that strategy. Yell at him? – sure now who looks unprofessional? Really, what would you suggest?

      • The journalists could submit questions to the PM or the PMO. (I quite agree with you wrt loaded, hypothetical, or future (can you promise never to raise taxes under any circumstances?)) However, in the case of other questions with factual answers the press does have the option to 1) tell the public that the PM is refusing to answer and 2) speculate why the PM is refusing to answer. So the press does have some power, although frankly they are not very good at using it.

      • Yes, you are right, he can limit the number of question he takes, and he can't be forced to answer them.
        Point 1 – I disagree on the amount to which he limits quetsions. His is a position of making decisions that affect all of our lives. those decisions ought to be able to be scrutinized, and he ought to be able to account for them. Two questions per language every couple of wqeeks cannot hope to come close to answering all the questions about a given policy, or justifying a particular decision.
        Point 2 – They can simply point out more often how they cannot get the PM to take questions. Instead, all they do now is gather all the (limited) information they have and build their story around that. Unexplained facets of the story are ignored for the appearance of a complete story.
        I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I think a PM who is open and accountable for his decisions is fundamental foundation for a functioning democracy . It's a complicated business, running a country: why does he not answer more questions about he goes about doing it?

        • Because this way the media are so starved for information they will take it even from "unnamed" sources. What they need to do is stop doing that, and again ask the question!

  2. While we are discussing what is ridiculous, I think it's poor form for journos to decide beforehand what questions to ask and who gets to ask them. Journos seem to think they are living on commune while, in fact, they should be competing with one another to get stories and quotes. It would go a long to improving Canadian msm if journos weren't under the spell of groupthink.

    • Except that the competition you are envisioning is impossible, in this particular forum at least. If the PM says he will take 3 questions, which he is perfectly justified in doing, then when do the journalists do – jump and yell to get his attention? That's not really competition in any meaningful sense of the word. The PM would basically be randomly, and probably not so randomly, selecting the questionners. Far better to come to some kind of consensus before hand, and perfectly justified in this type of case.

      Also, if you think there is no competition going on in that little huddle of reporters, I suspect you really don't understand much about human psychology.

    • I love how the stupidest comment gets the most replies.

  3. A PM who wasn't afraid to answer for his government's actions wouldn't limit questions to such an extent that rationing was necessary. I think Obama has taken more media questions in nine months than Harper has in 45 months (and that includes a whole election campaing).

    • Well even if that's true, most of Obama's questions are worked out the night before between the White House and the lucky journos who get called upon to speak.

      • Well there is definitnely coordination there too, but he is definitely more amenable to taking questions and accounting for his decisions than is Harper. As a citizen of a democracy, I find it reprehensible.

    • Well, when Obama gets questions like "What has enchanted you most about your first 100 days in the White House" from the most respected newspaper in the world (I swear, a NYT reporter actually asked him this)…not hard to understand why he makes so much more time for the press, is it?

      • They can afford to ask that cuz Obama's going to stick around for the serious ones too. Harper would be like the time apu and Homer visited the Kwiki-Mart guru and Homer blew his three questions. And it's pretty sad that the KwikiMart guru takes more questions than Harper.

  4. I would have gone with rock.

    • Lisa: Look, there's only one way to settle this. Rock-paper-scissors.
      Lisa's brain: Poor predictable Bart. Always takes rock.
      Bart's brain: Good ol' rock. Nuthin' beats that!
      Bart: Rock!
      Lisa: Paper.
      Bart: D'oh!

  5. Excuse me – but the media are suppose to be the voice of the people, which was lost a long time ago. It's mostly opinion – hey, you can opinion from your neighbour.

    The PM answers to the people and the media are suppose to ask for US.

    Boy, have things gone down hill.

  6. The only interesting thing is that Aaron thinks he needs a haircut.

    Kids these days.

    • I was thinking the same … get a ponytail son!

  7. Fortunately, Canada's MSM are highly adaptable, and they were able to find away to combine six questions into one:

    Q I have a question for both of you. Mr. President, during your meetings today, did you discuss the possibility of Canada stepping up its stimulus plans? And secondly, for both of you, what do you think the Canada-U.S. relationship will look like in four years? What will the auto sector look like? Will the border be thicker or thinner? And will you have a carbon market?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: You stuffed about six questions in there. (Laughter.) Were you talking to Jonathan? Is that — (laughter.)

    Q I have more.

  8. Fortunately, Canada's MSM reporters are highly adaptable, and they were able to find away to combine six questions into one:

    Q I have a question for both of you. Mr. President, during your meetings today, did you discuss the possibility of Canada stepping up its stimulus plans? And secondly, for both of you, what do you think the Canada-U.S. relationship will look like in four years? What will the auto sector look like? Will the border be thicker or thinner? And will you have a carbon market?

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: You stuffed about six questions in there. (Laughter.) Were you talking to Jonathan? Is that — (laughter.)

    Q I have more.

  9. Yes, quite bold of the PPG, as you point out:

    Q I have a question for both of you. Mr. President, during your meetings today, did you discuss the possibility of Canada stepping up its stimulus plans? And secondly, for both of you, what do you think the Canada-U.S. relationship will look like in four years? What will the auto sector look like? Will the border be thicker or thinner? And will you have a carbon market?

    • Omar Khadr

  10. It appears to me that the Prime Minister treats all questions from the press as valid and with respect, and gives complete, fulsome answers ('more meat on the bones,' to quote Paul Wells). What frustrates me is that we rarely see the complete press conference, unless we happen to catch it on CPAC. Otherwise it's just a brief clip here and there. This is one of my pet peeves (albeit a minor one). I would like to hear the question and the complete answer… that way I can judge for myself if the question is answered or evaded. I don't like things being filtered for me by someone else. I talked to someone from CBC about this lately, and I could tell he was completely partisan, so he's not going to trust us with the complete goods, he'll decide for us what should and should not be shown. Sheesh!

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