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Press Gallery Grumbling Again

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Argus Apr 14 2006, 07:01 PM

What a coincidence. I turn on my TV, and there's our prime minister, in a sit down interview with one of the local news stations discussing everything from the cost of stronger sentencing to how it feels to have his weight commented on. Seemed pretty open to me.

Nothing says you can't bypass the arrogant national press and talk about things with smaller, regional news people instead.

Translation: "Clearly, this is a government that does things differently. No more Liberal-esque access for puff piece deals with the national media. Nosir: now it's access for puff piece deals with the local media."

More:

Her job is not to "have him in knots". If Harper is ignoring the national press and going more to local and regional media it's because the latter tend to lack the kind of ideological motivation for their stories the national media lives for. The regional media will just ask questions, wanting a good, solid interview. National reporters will be trying to get something nasty, something quotable that will make the headlines and embarrass the government.

"The local media will be so tickled at getting access to the PM, there's no way they'll come up with anything less than a flattering portrayal (or else no more kibbles for them!). That's what I call honest journalism!"

Hicksey Apr 15 2006, 03:17 AM

Harper doesn't play fast and loose with his and his party's reputation. And like him, I'd rather be known for not talking enough than opening my mouth and saying something stupid. Secretive is a lot better than inept. Neither is ideal, and a good balance is better, but given the media's talent for exposing a single zealot and painting the whole party with the same brush I can hardly blame him for taking the road he has.

In other words: "I know there's people in the party I support with views Canadians will find abhorrent, which is why we must ensure these people's views are kept hidden from sight!"

Argus again:

The interviews and bits of interviews I've seen haven't been puff pieces. They've been straightforward questions about government policy. The puff pieces were the ones the press gallery always ran when interviewing Chretien, Martin and their cabinets. Something which never bothered you. The rule between the Liberals and the Press Gallery over the last thirteen years has always been I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine. Reporters didn't dig for information, didn't try to lead cabinet ministers into saying things that would get them into trouble, ignored minor wrongdoing, and were given access to ministers, bureacrats, and parties. They were fat, lazy, and perfectly content.

Translation: "We demand the Conservative government be given the same warm cozy treatment as the Liberals! Indeed, the fact the press corps, during the Liberal reign, didn't dig for information, didn't try to lead cabinet ministers into saying things that would get them into trouble and ignored minor wrongdoing means we must make sure they do not suddenly start to dig for information, lead cabinet ministers into saying things that would get them into trouble, and expose minor wrongdoing!"

Doesn't that just say everything we need to know about those making the noise and the people who are upset that Harper's running a government instead of a never-ending press conference? Why should he make himself available when he's got no new information to divulge? I see no reason he should make himself available for fishing expeditions at the whim of the media.

Translation: "It is the government's job, not the arrogant national press, to tell us what we need to know when they want us to know it. And if the limited information the government chooses to divulge is in the shape of empty repetitions of campaign literature, so much the better!"

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The interviews and bits of interviews I've seen haven't been puff pieces. They've been straightforward questions about government policy. The puff pieces were the ones the press gallery always ran when interviewing Chretien, Martin and their cabinets. Something which never bothered you. The rule between the Liberals and the Press Gallery over the last thirteen years has always been I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine. Reporters didn't dig for information, didn't try to lead cabinet ministers into saying things that would get them into trouble, ignored minor wrongdoing, and were given access to ministers, bureacrats, and parties. They were fat, lazy, and perfectly content.

Translation: "We demand the Conservative government be given the same warm cozy treatment as the Liberals! Indeed, the fact the press corps, during the Liberal reign, didn't dig for information, didn't try to lead cabinet ministers into saying things that would get them into trouble and ignored minor wrongdoing means we must make sure they do not suddenly start to dig for information, lead cabinet ministers into saying things that would get them into trouble, and expose minor wrongdoing!"

It's nice that you're admitting that the press gallery, during the corrupt reign of the Liberals, never bothered to poke its collective nose into things, and pretty much did whatever it was told in exchange for access. So why would you imagine things would change now that the conservatives are in power? You're not suggesting the media is ideologically driven to attack the Tories, are you?

It seems to me that the Tories, when they get in front of the camera, tend to actually speak plain English. The Liberals would either answer softball questions, or else talk in circles around a question without ever answering it - or ever being challenged by the reporter. So I don't see that we now have less information or access than we had before. If anything, we have more.

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The poor Press Gallery just can not live without the Liberals scandle a month type government. They are not used to good government where there are no scandles because it simply does what it said it was going to do. Where is the story in that. Or how about reporting on the good side of things instead of the bad. Again I guess no story in that. I would like to think that Harper and the CPC are going to continue moving forward with the same crdeible bills and ledgislature, in a way that does not rile the people. But I am sure sooner or later they will have to pass something that will have controversy, and then these poor reporters will again have anothe helping served to them.

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We have discussed this in general here but Mark Steyn made this remark about the media:

Now that's the nature of the internet, that all of us who work for the dead tree media have to get used to the fact that if you say, if you make a passing reference about a particular form of, say, Middle Eastern architecture, then within an hour, you've got fifty e-mails mocking you for not knowing anything about Middle Eastern architecture. No one can be the kind of ignorant generalist that people used to be in newspapers, as recently as five years ago. And I think a lot of mainstream media people are just unsuited, effectively, to that kind of scrutiny.
Link

The Internet is having many effects on the media and to state it is all due to Harper is wrong.

I'm not even certain Harper masters the Internet medium any better than Liberal politicians.

For the moment, I tend to agree with BD that Harper is taking a leaf out of Richard Nixon's (and other politicians) media handbook and talking to local journalists. It's easier, and they are less likely to ask tough questions. At the same time, Harper is getting his message out over the heads of the main English media in Toronto and they in turn are frustrated being out of the loop.

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True enough. The national media is always looking for a *sensational* story. Look at the defeat me on childcare stories.

The difference between Harper and Martin. Harper isn't going to freak out when seeing those stories. *If* he gets defeated on the issue so be it. Will he? Probably not.

Did he make the National Press Gallery happy? At least for a news cycle.

The poor Press Gallery just can not live without the Liberals scandle a month type government. They are not used to good government where there are no scandles because it simply does what it said it was going to do. Where is the story in that. Or how about reporting on the good side of things instead of the bad. Again I guess no story in that. I would like to think that Harper and the CPC are going to continue moving forward with the same crdeible bills and ledgislature, in a way that does not rile the people. But I am sure sooner or later they will have to pass something that will have controversy, and then these poor reporters will again have anothe helping served to them.

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It's nice that you're admitting that the press gallery, during the corrupt reign of the Liberals, never bothered to poke its collective nose into things, and pretty much did whatever it was told in exchange for access. So why would you imagine things would change now that the conservatives are in power? You're not suggesting the media is ideologically driven to attack the Tories, are you?

Nope. Whatever idealogical stances the media has, their prime motivation remains their own comfort. They would climb into bed with Harper in a heartbeat, but his zeal for control and petulant attitude towards the press (as well as some no doubt well-founded concerns about how his party would come off if some of its more, ah, colourful characters started running their yaps) has ruffled their feathers and dented their sense of entitlement. Nothing a couple of free dinners and "exclusive" interviews won't fix.

But I do find it amusing that a "principled" conservative like yourself would look at the cosy relationship between the Liberals and national press corps and say "I want me some of that!"

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Well said. There is evidence of that shift already. Look at the dinner for Mulroney and the message the PM sent to the Lowell Green roast last night. (Green hosts a morning talk show on CFRA in Ottawa.) That is the kind of thing that will move a long way towards smoothing a few of the feathers.

Nope. Whatever idealogical stances the media has, their prime motivation remains their own comfort. They would climb into bed with Harper in a heartbeat, but his zeal for control and petulant attitude towards the press (as well as some no doubt well-founded concerns about how his party would come off if some of its more, ah, colourful characters started running their yaps) has ruffled their feathers and dented their sense of entitlement. Nothing a couple of free dinners and "exclusive" interviews won't fix.

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It's nice that you're admitting that the press gallery, during the corrupt reign of the Liberals, never bothered to poke its collective nose into things, and pretty much did whatever it was told in exchange for access. So why would you imagine things would change now that the conservatives are in power? You're not suggesting the media is ideologically driven to attack the Tories, are you?

Nope. Whatever idealogical stances the media has, their prime motivation remains their own comfort. They would climb into bed with Harper in a heartbeat, but his zeal for control and petulant attitude towards the press (as well as some no doubt well-founded concerns about how his party would come off if some of its more, ah, colourful characters started running their yaps) has ruffled their feathers and dented their sense of entitlement. Nothing a couple of free dinners and "exclusive" interviews won't fix.

But I do find it amusing that a "principled" conservative like yourself would look at the cosy relationship between the Liberals and national press corps and say "I want me some of that!"

Your amusement is in your own mind. I never said anything like that. What I did say, or at least, infer, was that a press gallery which go from poodles when dealing with the liberals to pit bulls when they deal with the tories, is not a press gallery the tories should feel any moral or ethical responsibility for dealing with on a respectful or professional basis. If they feel, and I believe they are entitled to feel, that the press gallery will not treat fairly with them, and will do their best to make them look bad, then common sense would seem to suggest the tories should give the press gallery the back of their hands and deal with others. For the press gallery, well, you sow what you reap.

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The latest edition on grumbling....

Oh-ho-ho, Craig Oliver's got his tail tied in a knot this afternoon on MDuffy! Apparently media was just told that Trenton base is off-limits to reporters tomorrow when the slain soldiers arrive home. Of course he's saying what we've heard before..."he should not alienate the media....I know and support the importance of this war...etc..,"

Looks like this is the next round.

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I agree with that decision.

Anyone that thinks the best TV is invading the privacy of mourning families is a disgusting peice of work. This vouyeristic attitude of the media, and their sense of entitlement to it, is a serious problem in our society. It goes beyond having the media asked to respect the privacy of a family in their darkest hour.

We wouldn't have to bar them from the base if they took it upon themselves to put people above the 'if it bleeds it leads' headline of the night.

Media people are truly a disgusting lot. I'm glad I never got into journalism, I'd never be able to live with myself.

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The latest edition on grumbling....

Oh-ho-ho, Craig Oliver's got his tail tied in a knot this afternoon on MDuffy! Apparently media was just told that Trenton base is off-limits to reporters tomorrow when the slain soldiers arrive home. Of course he's saying what we've heard before..."he should not alienate the media....I know and support the importance of this war...etc..,"

Looks like this is the next round.

Yes there are two ways to look at this, as Geoffrey says vouyerism should be avoided, but showing the caskets come off the plane is not vouyerism, smacks too much of Bush's not allowing any coverage of caskets returning.

Since a lot of people only look at the too bit bites in television, then what a good way to keep them from really realizing these soldiers died.

Harper know this is unpopular and he is trying to hide it. Who says he doesn't have hidden agendas.

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I agree with that decision.

Anyone that thinks the best TV is invading the privacy of mourning families is a disgusting peice of work. This vouyeristic attitude of the media, and their sense of entitlement to it, is a serious problem in our society. It goes beyond having the media asked to respect the privacy of a family in their darkest hour.

But you gotta feel for the national media. When they heard four Canadians were killed in Afghanistan they were probalby high-fiving each other, jumping up and down in glee that they'd get another few days to glory in the trajedy of their deaths.

These are the same people who generally sneer at soldiers as disgusting, politically incorrect, uneducated thugs the rest of the time.

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The latest edition on grumbling....

Oh-ho-ho, Craig Oliver's got his tail tied in a knot this afternoon on MDuffy! Apparently media was just told that Trenton base is off-limits to reporters tomorrow when the slain soldiers arrive home. Of course he's saying what we've heard before..."he should not alienate the media....I know and support the importance of this war...etc..,"

Looks like this is the next round.

Yes there are two ways to look at this, as Geoffrey says vouyerism should be avoided, but showing the caskets come off the plane is not vouyerism, smacks too much of Bush's not allowing any coverage of caskets returning.

Since a lot of people only look at the too bit bites in television, then what a good way to keep them from really realizing these soldiers died.

Harper know this is unpopular and he is trying to hide it. Who says he doesn't have hidden agendas.

So what's wrong if the Tories had taken a page out of Bush's? That's really what had the media in a knit....it's not really about the dead and this event. This tragedy just happened to be a convenient way to USE and say that Harper is the other "evil twin" of "evil" Bush!

Besides, why do we need to see flag-draped coffins everytime some poor soldier gets killed? So they can be politicized and used by just about anyone who had something to gain by these deaths?

Why does it have to be made into a circus???

What's the difference between the grief of a mother/wife of any other person to the grief of the parents/spouse of a soldier? Are they not all human???

The best way to honour these soldiers is to let them keep their dignity in death!

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Since a lot of people only look at the too bit bites in television, then what a good way to keep them from really realizing these soldiers died.

Do we need to see coffins as proof before we believe that these soldiers died?

Why do you have the need to see the coffins? Don't we know and understand what "dead" means?

What good or benefit does it do other than to satisfy the morbid curiosity of some...and the agenda of those who wish to politicize or use the tragedy for some other reasons?

Do you do a tally how many died? Only with shown coffins counted as "really dead?"

These men are fighting in war. Death comes with war.

SUPPORT THEM by:

keeping their morale up...and that includes trying to be brave and solidly united and standing behind them as a nation and facing the reality of war as best we could...to the point of keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of grief!

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So what's wrong if the Tories had taken a page out of Bush's? That's really what had the media in a knit....it's not really about the dead and this event. This tragedy just happened to be a convenient way to USE and say that Harper is the other "evil twin" of "evil" Bush!

Besides, why do we need to see flag-draped coffins everytime some poor soldier gets killed? So they can be politicized and used by just about anyone who had something to gain by these deaths?

Why does it have to be made into a circus???

Because the opposition parties want to make the government look bad, that's why.

Harper's idea that he can ignore the press and take his case directly to the people doesn't seem to be working and he needs to establish contact with them immediately if he's going to survive.

This issue, though, is a tempest in a teapot. It's the same kind of micro-event driven politics that the opposition parties always use to set the agenda.

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Your amusement is in your own mind. I never said anything like that. What I did say, or at least, infer, was that a press gallery which go from poodles when dealing with the liberals to pit bulls when they deal with the tories, is not a press gallery the tories should feel any moral or ethical responsibility for dealing with on a respectful or professional basis. If they feel, and I believe they are entitled to feel, that the press gallery will not treat fairly with them, and will do their best to make them look bad, then common sense would seem to suggest the tories should give the press gallery the back of their hands and deal with others. For the press gallery, well, you sow what you reap.

It quite logically follows though, that you and the CPC would be perfectly happy if the press was as cozy and compliant with them as they were for the Grits. It's quite clear that that is your idea of professional and ethical journalism.

But you gotta feel for the national media. When they heard four Canadians were killed in Afghanistan they were probalby high-fiving each other, jumping up and down in glee that they'd get another few days to glory in the trajedy of their deaths.

These are the same people who generally sneer at soldiers as disgusting, politically incorrect, uneducated thugs the rest of the time.

I hear they drink babies' blood too. :rolleyes:

'sfunny, I've not seen any coverage in the national press of the Afghanistan mission and the troops that wasn't at the least respectful (Christie Blatchford's G&M series a while back read like a bunch of notes from a lovestruck schoolgirl). Like the party itself, it seem steh CPC's supporters have a mighty persecution complex.

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There is the rub. Harper isn't ignoring the media, he is just choosing to deal with the media differently.

It is snobbishness on the part of the National Press Gallery that the PM is choosing to deal with local media on many issues that has the NPG up in arms.

The people are still getting their information.

So no, he doesn't need to *establish contact* with anybody. Nobody cares about the issue other than the NPG.

Because the opposition parties want to make the government look bad, that's why.

Harper's idea that he can ignore the press and take his case directly to the people doesn't seem to be working and he needs to establish contact with them immediately if he's going to survive.

This issue, though, is a tempest in a teapot. It's the same kind of micro-event driven politics that the opposition parties always use to set the agenda.

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So no, he doesn't need to *establish contact* with anybody. Nobody cares about the issue other than the NPG.

I wouldn't be too sure. There are lots of politically unaware people who will not understand what the issue is, and will simply react negatively. We'll see...

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Your amusement is in your own mind. I never said anything like that. What I did say, or at least, infer, was that a press gallery which go from poodles when dealing with the liberals to pit bulls when they deal with the tories, is not a press gallery the tories should feel any moral or ethical responsibility for dealing with on a respectful or professional basis. If they feel, and I believe they are entitled to feel, that the press gallery will not treat fairly with them, and will do their best to make them look bad, then common sense would seem to suggest the tories should give the press gallery the back of their hands and deal with others. For the press gallery, well, you sow what you reap.

It quite logically follows though, that you and the CPC would be perfectly happy if the press was as cozy and compliant with them as they were for the Grits. It's quite clear that that is your idea of professional and ethical journalism.

Not necessarily. I would be quite happy if the press treated all parties with equal respect, though, good or bad. I would be happiest if they did their best to inform the public without throwing in their own biases and prejudices, and without trying to create stories because of ideological beliefs.

But you gotta feel for the national media. When they heard four Canadians were killed in Afghanistan they were probalby high-fiving each other, jumping up and down in glee that they'd get another few days to glory in the trajedy of their deaths.

These are the same people who generally sneer at soldiers as disgusting, politically incorrect, uneducated thugs the rest of the time.

I hear they drink babies' blood too. :rolleyes:

'sfunny, I've not seen any coverage in the national press of the Afghanistan mission and the troops that wasn't at the least respectful (Christie Blatchford's G&M series a while back read like a bunch of notes from a lovestruck schoolgirl). Like the party itself, it seem steh CPC's supporters have a mighty persecution complex.

You aren't going to read such things stated openly. You are, however, going to hear it privately, and read it between the lines whenever any controversy about the military erupts. We certainly heard it enough during the fuss over the Airbourn.

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Your amusement is in your own mind. I never said anything like that. What I did say, or at least, infer, was that a press gallery which go from poodles when dealing with the liberals to pit bulls when they deal with the tories, is not a press gallery the tories should feel any moral or ethical responsibility for dealing with on a respectful or professional basis. If they feel, and I believe they are entitled to feel, that the press gallery will not treat fairly with them, and will do their best to make them look bad, then common sense would seem to suggest the tories should give the press gallery the back of their hands and deal with others. For the press gallery, well, you sow what you reap.

It quite logically follows though, that you and the CPC would be perfectly happy if the press was as cozy and compliant with them as they were for the Grits. It's quite clear that that is your idea of professional and ethical journalism.

Not necessarily. I would be quite happy if the press treated all parties with equal respect, though, good or bad. I would be happiest if they did their best to inform the public without throwing in their own biases and prejudices, and without trying to create stories because of ideological beliefs.

But you gotta feel for the national media. When they heard four Canadians were killed in Afghanistan they were probalby high-fiving each other, jumping up and down in glee that they'd get another few days to glory in the trajedy of their deaths.

These are the same people who generally sneer at soldiers as disgusting, politically incorrect, uneducated thugs the rest of the time.

I hear they drink babies' blood too. :rolleyes:

'sfunny, I've not seen any coverage in the national press of the Afghanistan mission and the troops that wasn't at the least respectful (Christie Blatchford's G&M series a while back read like a bunch of notes from a lovestruck schoolgirl). Like the party itself, it seem steh CPC's supporters have a mighty persecution complex.

You aren't going to read such things stated openly. You are, however, going to hear it privately, and read it between the lines whenever any controversy about the military erupts. We certainly heard it enough during the fuss over the Airbourn.

If that's really the case they're a bunch of real sickos.

I wonder how much they'd like it if we filmed every casket of their loved ones lowered into the ground and celebrated their deaths?

Not likely very much.

But they sure do enjoy reporting every death in Afghanistan. There's some nights where it looks like Mansbridge is trying to suppress a smile while doing so.

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The Government is leaving it up to the families to decide. If the families want media coverage they can make the funerals open to the media.

Craig Oliver tried to make the case that it was "bigger than the families" at this point? And the soldiers are now "part of the Canadian family". wtf?

If the families want privacy, they can have it. If they want media to cover the funerals so family members who can't attend can watch they can. Sounds like a pretty fair compromise to me.

If that's really the case they're a bunch of real sickos.

I wonder how much they'd like it if we filmed every casket of their loved ones lowered into the ground and celebrated their deaths?

Not likely very much.

But they sure do enjoy reporting every death in Afghanistan. There's some nights where it looks like Mansbridge is trying to suppress a smile while doing so.

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If the families approve, then fine. Otherwise the media have no business having a camera or microphone within a country mile of them.

If that was my son, I'd tell them to pound salt. They wouldn't be using my son to forward their agenda.

The Government is leaving it up to the families to decide. If the families want media coverage they can make the funerals open to the media.

Craig Oliver tried to make the case that it was "bigger than the families" at this point? And the soldiers are now "part of the Canadian family". wtf?

If the families want privacy, they can have it. If they want media to cover the funerals so family members who can't attend can watch they can. Sounds like a pretty fair compromise to me.

If that's really the case they're a bunch of real sickos.

I wonder how much they'd like it if we filmed every casket of their loved ones lowered into the ground and celebrated their deaths?

Not likely very much.

But they sure do enjoy reporting every death in Afghanistan. There's some nights where it looks like Mansbridge is trying to suppress a smile while doing so.

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An editorial from the Post pretty much sums up the feelings of a lot of people about the NPGs whining. So much for solidarity. Continue the fight Julie Van Dusen!

Here are the highlights of the editorial.

The media in Canada are no longer simply reporting on the story, they have become the story. For weeks, Canadian media consumers have been spoon-fed an endless series of lamentations from some members of the Ottawa press corps over media access.

...

Get over it, guys: the world does not revolve around your need to file 800 words for tomorrow's edition.

Canadians may well be wondering how it is that the working conditions for reporters in Ottawa have suddenly become one of the nation's most pressing concerns. The answer is, of course, they are not, and all will return to normal once Belinda Stronach or Don Cherry or someone else does something goofy in coming days, so these people have something to write or talk on-camera about.

Until then, expect more whining.

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Not necessarily. I would be quite happy if the press treated all parties with equal respect, though, good or bad. I would be happiest if they did their best to inform the public without throwing in their own biases and prejudices, and without trying to create stories because of ideological beliefs.

And if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass hopping. There's no such thing as an unbiased press, never has been, never will be. That said, there's plenty of CPC-friendly press out there, and, as I mentioned before, Harper could easily bring most of the malcontents onside if he really wanted. His curent policies only feed the antipathy.

You aren't going to read such things stated openly. You are, however, going to hear it privately, and read it between the lines whenever any controversy about the military erupts. We certainly heard it enough during the fuss over the Airbourn.

Gee, a bunch of guts can't even beat a kid to death anymore without some bleeding heart taking umbrage. What a world.

IMV, this whole notion of an anti-CPC, anti-military, elitist media is based on a notion that the press is a monolith. Peersonally, I think the press has a good range of opinions (even the centre left G&M runs flattering portrayels of the military, as well as publishing right-wing commentary by the likes of Mark Steyn, Margaret Wente and the excrable Daniel Pipes).

An editorial from the Post pretty much sums up the feelings of a lot of people about the NPGs whining...

Case in point. The Post is part of the hated national press, is it not?

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IMV, this whole notion of an anti-CPC, anti-military, elitist media is based on a notion that the press is a monolith. Peersonally, I think the press has a good range of opinions (even the centre left G&M runs flattering portrayels of the military, as well as publishing right-wing commentary by the likes of Mark Steyn, Margaret Wente and the excrable Daniel Pipes).

Every newspaper, left or right, has their token columnist of opposing viewpoint. What would be impressive would be a paper or news show with as much left as right.

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