I suppose we could just write off the Colin Mayes Press-baiting incident as one of those 'bad-apple wingnuts gone bad' kind of thing. Which is probably what the CPC braintrust would like Canadians to do.
But I think that would be a mistake.
Because when looked at critically this incident seriously makes one wonder if the true tools of the Atwater/Ailes/Rove trade have made their way north.
Specifically, you take a significant weakness and make it look like your greatest strength by smearing someone who is calling you on that weakness by turning them into a bogeyman.
And none of it need be true, as long as it gets into the mighty whirlitzer. Heckfire, you can even pull an insincere mea culpa down the road if need be as long as the smear gets 'out there' and deflects any attempts to inquire into your side's critical weakness and/or true motives.
And, when viewed in that light, it is not difficult to imagine that this is the kind of thing that Mayes attempted when he tried to blame the press for the fact that Stephen Harper and his cabinet colleagues are ducking the press, not just by their own cowardly scurrying but also by their changes in protocol that severely curtail politico-press interactions in the House of Commons.
Yes, that's right. In the House of Commons.
Now, of course, Mayes is backing off and 'retracting' what he said.
To which we call - codswallop!
For the record, here is the text of the 'column' that Mayes sent to media outlets:
I was perturbed by media rhetoric regarding the relationship of Prime Minister Harper toward the media. What the Prime Minister has done is to inform the media that when he has something to say he will say it.
The media has blatantly painted a picture that our government is not open and transparent. We were elected just two months ago to run the affairs of the country for the people, not to accommodate the media.
May I remind the media that they are a vital part of democracy. Their role is to communicate to citizens and by doing so keep elected representatives accountable.
We are asking for more accountability from those that have the public trust and we are asking for ethical leadership.
We have recently witnessed corporate accountants and corporate executives in handcuffs being held accountable for breaking public trust in the investment world.
Our government's first order of business will be to introduce the Federal Accountability Act that will prosecute elected and senior public servants that break the public trust in the political world.
There is another group that has the public trust and that is the media.
Not all media, politicians and business executives are bad. Boy, would the public get accurate and true information if a few reporters were hauled away to jail!
Maybe it is time that we hauled off in handcuffs reporters that fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens.
We know this will never happen because the media would cry ‘censorship', ‘authoritarian state', and all would be aghast, but the truth is we need ethical leadership from the media too!
Note the total ducking of the real issue, which is Mr. Harper's ducking of the media - to which we say 'if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck (literally, more and more, every day), and quacks like a duck it very probably is'. That is the deflector.
Then note the statements which imply that the press has been fabricating and distorting on the issue without providing one, single, solitary scintilla of evidence that that is the case. That is the smear.
Finally, note the call for more false democracy by curtailing true instruments of democracy. That is downright scary (and classic Rovianism in action).