David Akin - October 16th, 2013
This ad — which the Conservative Party of Canada aired on TV during the 2006 election in a successful attempt to unseat Liberal prime minister Paul Martin — still makes me laugh. Beep Beep! See? You’re smiling, aren’t you?
After all, I’m a sophisticated Media Elite and the production values alone on this ad are enough to make one roll one’s eyes, followed by a condescending chuckle. And don’t get me started on the candidate’s hair! Why it looks like it was done in a hair salon in Wadena! (Media Elites will all get that joke; I’m so sorry you won’t).
And, I must say, as a Media Elite, I laughed at a lot of things Paul Wells had to say about today’s throne speech. Not only, in my estimation, was he right in his assessment of today’s Speech from the Throne, he was witty and right. That’s not easy to do, folks. And since I’ve got over feeling jealous that I didn’t write what he did, I’m now happy to quote from this piece: “In April, 2006, after the Harper Conservatives first formed a government, they made a great show of delivering one of the shortest Throne Speeches in modern times: 2,445 words, the equivalent of a mere three Jeffrey Simpson columns.” (Again: Apologies for including a joke intended largely only for Media Elites who still read Simpson.) That’s just the second sentence of Paul’s piece but I’m sure a sly grin had already spread across Paul’s face at that point as he warmed up to his topic. And, of course, I realize I shouldn’t giggle. Simpson and I once got paycheques from the same paymaster. The Media Elite world is a small one. But still. Read more…
David Akin - October 16th, 2013
Sun Media and Sun News Network did not boycott the PM’s speech. While I, along with other reporters, was denied entry to the caucus room where Harper spoke, TV camera operators and one pool reporter were permitted by the PMO to attend and film his speech. Some news organizations found those conditions unacceptable and decided that if all reporters could not attend (as has been the usual practice) then no camera operators from CBC, CTV, Global and other networks would attend, neither would a pool reporter, and they would simply not cover his morning speech.
I firmly believe that every news organization should always do what it believes is best for its viewers and readers but, as we decided our viewers and readers were best served by trying to cover the PM’s speech, our camera operator recorded the speech (and we broadcast it) even though I could not be in the room to watch it. And so, in the end, one camera — ours — and no reporter, not even a pool reporter, saw the speech.
One other reason I preferred to avoid participating in a boycott was because I believed the PMO was looking to pick a fight with the Parliamentary Press Gallery to help with fundraising and to rally the Conservative base. In my view, it’s probably not a helpful thing for a group of journalists to be any party’s fundraising foil. Make no mistake: The PMO picked this fight. But I, for one, would rather find other ways to fight for more access and transparency than provide a politician with an excuse to mobilize a political party’s base.
And sure enough, this evening, the Conservative Party of Canada is out raising money for re-election thanks to the Parliamentary Press Gallery. I’m certain you can expect more letters like this: Read more…
David Akin - August 25th, 2013
Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at a press conference in the foyer of Grosvenor House, London, UK during his Spring 2013 Eurotour. The press were allowed three questions. We were done in 3 minutes and 27 seconds. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)
At a press conference Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave on Friday in northern Quebec, a journalist who is an accredited member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery but who works for the Chinese state-owned China’s People Daily, shoved a member of Harper’s communications staff. He was upset that he was being denied a chance to ask the PM a question. The RCMP were forced to intervene.
I was not there but you can read eyewitness accounts of this episode from reporters who were there, including Sun Media’s Bryn Weese, Postmedia’s Michael Den Tandt, CBC’s James Cudmore , The Toronto Star’s Tonda MacCharles, and The Canadian Press’ Murray Brewster.
As a result of this incident, my social networks have filled up with people talking about how things work between the press and the PMO. And a lot of people — including some who ought to know better — have allowed a lot of myths to fester. So let’s set the record straight starting with this canard advanced on Twitter by former Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish:
David Akin - August 24th, 2013
Lori Welbourne writes a column for the Vancouver Province. To get to the bottom of the debate about banning women from running around topless, Welbourne takes off her top in the video above while interviewing Kelowna’s mayor. Her post at The Province explains more.
Meanwhile, Mayor Walter Gray — Welbourne’s co-star in this video — appears to be getting a little heat for participating.
David Akin - June 22nd, 2013
Calgary Sun front page, Saturday June 22, 2013
Calgary Sun, front page, Friday, June 21, 2013.