March 27, 2008

Two from the Garth Turner blog .. (man, I detest neocons)

Conservatives Attempting To Influence Media Messages

Sinister Attack On Canadian Democracy: Thought Control

Website has numbers of call-in shows, newspapers and primer on what to say

The Toronto Star
Allan Woods
Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA–The federal Conservatives have created electronic tip sheets to surreptitiously push Conservative “ideals” and the party message in the media.

On various issues and the “supposedly correct way of viewing the world and all things” individuals can log on to the official Tory website to get a list of contacts for local newspapers and call-in shows to push the right-wing agenda.

“Tired of hearing the vested interests of liberal thinkers getting their messages out?” reads the website. “Call in to a show yourself and fight back!”

The Tory program, called “myCampaign,” tells individuals to enter their postal code and an area of interest. A sample query using the Star’s postal code offers six call-in shows with the time slot and telephone number and a list of Conservative “talking points”.

The new strategy also counsels individuals to turn down the radio once they get on the air, speak slowly and be ready for a provocative, interruptive host.

“Stay conversational – do your best to have a conversation with the talk show host instead of just reading your notes on the radio.”

This sort of surreptitious practice has been condemned as sinister and anti-democratic.

“It’s like we’re now living in communist Russia or China”,
one reader states.

Dear idiots


Well, you have to admire one thing about the Harper Conservatives. They don’t quit. But they also think voters are idiots.

This may explain a couple of things. For example, if you’re like me – and my neighbours, and everyone else I run into – you’ve received fistfuls of Harper flyers with pictures of Stephane Dion looking like a dork. On the way from the mailbox to the blue box, they tell you that Liberals will raise the GST, end the child care cheques, spend the country into oblivion and let criminals run amok.

As I detailed a week or two ago, the Conservatives have taken the free mailing and constituent communications privileges of MPs, lumped them together for a whole caucus, and pumped out more than 30,000,000 pieces of direct mail in the last few months alone. They are now burning through more than $3 million a year (taxpayer dough) printing and distributing these standardized pieces of party propaganda, stamping MPs’ names on them, and sending them to landfills everywhere.

Is this legal? No. Er, yes. Well, it might be until someone outside of the system has the guts to challenge what’s become a massive abuse of House of Commons rules.

Fortunately, a few such souls exist – proud Canada Post employees who have to haul this crud around with forklifts and then dauntingly distribute it home, by home by home. In the last few days some of them have said enough, already. They have provided me with documented and verified proof the mail-crazed Tories have exceeded the legal limit for MPs poop-o-grams by a factor of four. In substations where the sitting Liberal or NDP member is allowed to send out, say 7,000 pieces, the Conservative mailers have arrived in quantities of more than 27,000. Every week.

The rules governing who can send what, where, and into ridings held by MPs of other parties are complicated but – trust me on this (when have you not?) – these guidelines are now so much road kill on the Harper Highway to sustained power. Most galling is the fact that every single one of those thirty million pieces cost the Conservative Party of Canada nothing. You paid for the outright lies claiming Liberals will raise taxes, cut programs and ruin the country. Maybe you should sue.

On a related note, Tories think journalists are idiots, too.

How else to explain this? The “My Campaign” section of the Conservative Party web site gives you all the tools you need to trick editors and deceive talk show hosts. Whack in your postal code, and out pops a list of newspapers to send a letter-to-the-editor to, and radio shows to call. You can also dial up a set of talking points to go on-air with, or a sample letter for the dummy who publishes the paper. You, too, can get in the fun of distorting the truth and watching the MSM slop it up.

Like I said, the Harper Conservatives never quit. It’s not like they have, you know, ethics.

posted by Garth Turner on 03.25.08 @ 9:38 pm

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