Saturday, July 11, 2009

How to deal with the media

Every time the Canadian media catches the Conservative Party in some embarrassing situation, Tory loyalists immediately lament the biased nature of political journalism

It’s a familiar chorus: “The media hates us”; “They want to make us look bad”; “Why can’t reporters focus on important issues such as does Michael Ignatieff know all the words to O Canada.”

But what’s the point of complaining? The media is what it is. Reporters will always want to take shots at politicians (especially conservative politicians).

So deal with it.

And one strategy for dealing with a hostile media is really, really simple-- Stop giving reporters free ammunition.

In other words, the Conservatives should stop making it so easy for the media to cast the party in a bad light.

That means when the Prime Minister is taking part in an unfamiliar religious ritual, brief him beforehand on the proper protocol; that means when dealing with a controversial issue such as funding the Gay Pride Parade, have a consistent clear message; that means when you are to appear at a G-8 photo op, show up on time; that means doing simple things like checking your facts before attacking a political opponent.

It's called “professionalism.”


Marie said...

Gerry - you suggest that all conservatives must be 100% perfect, all of the time?

No human error allowed otherwise they will be bullied and ripped to shreds by the media who are rabidly anti conservative?

Are you perfect all of the time?
Are the so called reporters?
Are Liberals? NDP?

Or is this self rightous "attack Conservatives for all things all the time" really just hateful bullying under the "guise" of journalism or fair political discourse.

No wonder it is hard to recruit good people, but human imperfect people like us all - to stand for election.

DavidA said...

Amen to that brother.

Anonymous said...

It was a lose/lose situation.
If he didn't eat the wafer he was inconsiderate of other religions and if he did eat it he would have been branded a hypocrit to his own. This was simply a manufactured scandal.

Anonymous said...

If you think the English media is biased, you should hear the French media. Radio Canada's number one political reporter can't help smirking all through her litany of the week from hell for the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, media management is part of the PMO's job. The Director of Communications gets over 100K. So does the Press secretary.

The question is: are either of them worth their salary?

I think Gerry is suggesting that they demonstrably are not.

Of course, why would anybody but incompetent hacks want to work for a man who treats his staff like toilet paper?

Anonymous said...

I have worked in media relations in the past for provincial politicians.

This was before the days of internet and the 24 hour news cycle.

We knew that no matter what the story there were some media who were always negative and hostile and would screw the message.

In those days they demanded to be wined and dined. They demanded special attention. They were yellow as heck and the ones who got ahead were those who could bribe or cajole leaks and secret envelopes from government staffers.
Good news did not get them bylines. Bad news or gossip did.

Problem is - those same hungry young reporters who chewed their way into top spots by cohersion and dirty tricks are the ones now calling the shots.

Same dirty tricks only now 24 hours a day and viral on blogs.

Gerry - Trudeau and Chretien had much better media relations - they treated them with disdain except for a few who they bribed with good stories or to squash bad ones. This way they got their Liberal loving favourites nicely promoted.
Oh - and stacking the boards of CBC, etc. helped plus backroom power brokers like PowerCorp own most of Quebec's power media.

That's how you win the media war, Gerry. You control the media.
A nice story would be how many of today's big shot talking heads and media have friends, relatives, wives, sons, daughters, husbands and good friends who have benefitted from Liberal largesse and nice jobs over the years.
How many are now senators or were Liberal communications hacks who parachuted nicely into top jobs.

It is payback time, Gerry, and no amount of "professionalis" cuts through the corruption in our media.
Nice thought though.

Anonymous said...

Gerry - yo are a perfect examploe. When you were with the "conservative leaning" NCC I think you had a very hard time. In fact, the media crucified you. You tried to be a media hound and instead got trashed.
NOW ever since you are knownb to have a hate on for Stephen Harper and regularily trash him and the government you are asked to be a guest on media shows aws a "conservative" who is bashing conservatives.
You admitted yhou have never been a member of this conservative party but, close enough.
The LibLogs quote you regularily.
How else do you think you would get invited on Liberal media?

Joe said...

Might I suggest that the first thing Conservatives must do is STOP APOLOGIZING!!!!!!

The Conservative point of view is not only equal to the Progressive point of view it is superior to the Progressive point of view.

Take the negative story and jam it down the progressive throat. Use logic, wit, wisdom and what ever else is needed. DO NOT COWER before your intellectual inferiors.

kursk said...

Harper was just under 2:00 'late'


He was also only 25 seconds behind the POTUS.

I did not catch the howls of outrage from the media on that front.

Gordie_Canuk said...

Wafergate was a waste of time, and Harper should be cut some slack on it. Harper and/or the priest goofed, it happens...appologize and move on.

Gay pride funding, that is uglier. I can't imagine the Cons have a big GLBT constituency, and all this did was tick of the socially conservative or religious right base. The handling of this affair lost Harper points with those Canadians who consider themselves moderates.

The attack on Ignatieff is another black demonstrates Harper's hyper partisan nature, with all the talk about being bi-partisan just fluff for the masses...and the masses aren't all so stupid they don't see through it.

For the sake of Conservatives be glad this is the summer and not the heat of an election campaign.

But know that in reality all the parties are already hard at work on the stump...and many are in fact paying attention.