Wednesday, March 30, 2005


My Blahg points to this priceless Paul Wells column at Macleans.ca Inkless Wells - Deflationary spiral -- I had been meaning to blog something about all the election speculation but it didn't seem to be going anywhere, really, and now Wells explains why to anyone who can stay awake long enough to read it:
I wonder whether anyone, at any of several papers, who ordered the latest snap-election wild-goose-chase baloney story splashed across the top of the front page for most of a week feels at all sheepish.
What is so stunning about the debate over the clause that was inserted into a budget enabling bill that would have enabled the Liberals to enact their bottomless Kyoto vengeance against.......znnnnnssssnszzzzz....
Oops. Nodded off. What I was trying to say is, the amazing thing about the week's game of feint and counter-feint over some Kyoto budget thingie....snarfffrfffrrrrrzzzz....
What I was trying to say was that it was all so stunningly pointless. I mean, jaw-droppingly pointless. Organ-bustingly pointless.
For yet another week, the political and chattering classes colluded in an utterly made-up fantasy narrative. Turns out the Liberals didn't mean to force a showdown. Turns out the Cons didn't mean to threaten one. Turns out this minority government's fifth high-stakes, edge-of-your-seat, ooooooooh-golly-what'll-they-do game of brinksmanship was actually about less than the first four.
And yet we cleared the nation's front pages for an endless, breathless account of every meaningless comma. To save our lives, we won't cover what the government is doing. With a gun to our heads, we wouldn't cover what the government could be doing but isn't. We are too busy spinning ourselves into a pathetic tizzy at every spurious hint of another election - an election that would be as thoroughly about nothing as are the weeks when we don't have an election.
Here's how far the gallery's obsession with fantasy goes: on the weekend, Jean Lapierre, who after all is the actual minister of transport in the federal government of the second-largest nation on the face of God's earth, spent several minutes on TV actually discussing transport policy. Airport tax levels, international competition for air routes, carrier bankruptcies, what have you. For a few minutes, it was as though Canada had a government or something.
But at least one big paper ignored all of that, preferring to latch onto Lapierre's momentary burst of angst over the effect of Gomery on the Liberals' electoral fortunes. Out came the banner hed: Minister Fears Snap Election.....snarrrffffffffflllzzzzzzz......
...Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah. Over at the Toronto Star, Graham Fraser took it into his head to cover what the government minister was saying about the government's plans for his ministry. Silly Graham. At least one commentator spanked him for "burying the lede."
Because you see, the lede is never what the government is actually doing. It's what the government might conceivably do, or have done to it. The conspiracy of inanity, englobing government, opposition and gallery, continues. No rogue reporter, with his mulish insistence on writing about the government as though Canada had one, will be permitted to spoil the parade.
Sorry, that's a bit of a rant. Oh well. It was a profoundly depressing week.

Ah, the Canadian parliamentary press gallery -- can't live with 'em, could live without 'em.

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