Media discovering Trudeau & his PMO not different from Harper’s

Trudeau in Saskatoon 1030Many in the Canadian mainstream media have been waxing lyrical over Liberal PM Justin Trudeau since he was elected last fall. In fact, sometimes the fawning has been embarrassing and Kardashian.

For example, I can’t remember where I saw it this week, but I read a column by a female reporter in a UK online paper that referred to our PM as Mr. Hotpants. Now, if that is not Kardashian, I don’t know what is.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. The PM is popular with the media, that we know. So, who are pulling his strings? How different is his PMO and former PM Stephen Harper’s?

Remember, Mr. Harper was always described as secretive and a control freak and that his staff went out of their way to keep he and his Cabinet away from Canadian reporters — at least from those in the national media.

Hmmm. So, let’s look at some of what we know about how Mr. Trudeau spent this week.

First there was the Cabinet retreat. As Mark Bonokoski wrote in the Sun earlier this week, when the Cabinet and the PM arrived in Alberta’s Kananaskis for a Cabinet retreat, only a “family” photo op was allowed.

No questions were permitted and certainly no details — although some facts about the agenda did leak out over the two days of the retreat, like a presentation on deliverology.

Then, yesterday, according to journalist David Akin, Mr. Trudeau made an historic visit to Shoal Lake 40, a Native reserve on the border between Ontario and Manitoba.

That reserve has been asking for federal government financial and expert help to deal with their drinking water problem for years and have been under a water advisory for 17 of those years!  So, the fact that the PM was visiting was newsworthy.

Good on Mr. Trudeau for visiting. The problem, however, is that Canadians, who paid the bill for the PM’s travel, are not going to find out the reason for the visit until a U.S. media outlet is ready to share their documentary.

Specifically, Akin says that Kate Purchase, the Director of Communications in the Trudeau PMO, advised all the Canadian media, including APTN, that they could not record the visit in any format because VICE Media, a New York based operation, was using the visit to prepare a documentary.

Meaning, Mr. Trudeau was more concerned about his media image and message control than he was about either the Shoal Lake drinking water problem or communicating to Canadians in real time.

The crux of the matter is that the Canadian media, the same media that constantly decried former PM Harper’s message control, is now seeing that the more these things change, the more they stay the same.

So much for sunny ways. So much for transparency. So much for doing things differently.

One hopes that the lack of media access at these two events at least removes the glossy shine on Mr. Trudeau’s halo.

2 thoughts on “Media discovering Trudeau & his PMO not different from Harper’s

  1. There was a discussion actually not to long ago on CBC if the media is biased or not and it was interesting the comments. Those commenting actually mentioned a big part of it at least in newsprint is the glossy articles on his looks and style get the most hits while more serious ones on policy that oppose his flaws get far fewer readers. Otherwise I fear the real issue is the media wants like any business to be profitable so the focus on what sells and unfortunately I feel as a celebrity obsessed culture we put far more emphasis on image and style than on actual substance. As frustrating as it is for me, it almost feels like many worship Trudeau is some God like father rather than realizing he is just an average person who is only where he is due to his last name not any accomplishment and those types get angry when anyone criticizes him. I remember during the Liberal leadership race how Martha Hall Findlay was booed when she dared to ask a tough question of Trudeau or Marc Garneau was mocked for wanting a one on one debate with him.

    It’s quite frustrating especially amongst my generation (I am only in my mid 30s) how we care more about style than substance. I want to be optimistic things will change in the next four years, but I fear the under 40 generation might have to learn the hard way which I really hope I am wrong on. I am not suggesting the media doesn’t have a Liberal bias, they do in more cases than not, but I feel that the public actually makes it worse and that any news media who took a conservative or even centrist slant wouldn’t be profitable. I guess the one thing that makes me a bit more optimistic is things at the provincial level are at least trending in the right direction with the recent Saskatchewan and Manitoba elections while in Ontario I have a very tough time finding anyone who will admit to voting for Wynne so I am actually quite optimistic the PCs will win the next election in Ontario. Off course I hope the Conservatives do manage to find someone who connects better with people than Harper did and can explain their policies in easy to understand language. Harper was a policy wonk, but really didn’t connect well on a personal level which I think was fine when facing Dion or Ignatieff who also were policy wonks and didn’t connect well, but with Trudeau his personality seemed to hurt the Tories so if we can get a younger more likeable leader maybe policy instead of image, at least I hope will take precedence.


  2. I agree Monkey. My grandchildren are in their 20s and early 30’s but they voted Conservative. They also think the media’s reaction to Trudeau is embarrassing.


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