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J.J. McCullough

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Media Bites: How Little Thinking Can Trudeau Get Away With?

Posted: 11/26/2012 4:50 am

If nothing else, tweeted National Post columnist Andrew Coyne on Saturday, partisans of all stripes "are at least agreed one one thing: the media are either obsessed with or covering up the Justin Trudeau story."

The "Justin Trudeau story" is of course the recent Sun News revelation that everyone's favourite pretender to the Liberal tiara had some rather disparaging things to say about Albertans back in 2010 (namely, that Canada "doesn't work" when they're in charge) coupled with some equally entitled sentiments about Quebeckers like himself (namely, that Canada "belongs to us").

Pretty damning, eh? Or not. As Andy noted, thanks to the partisan Madonna-Whore complex that passes for insightful Canadian political analysis these days, one's perception of even the basic newsworthiness of a story like this is now almost entirely determined by preexisting ideological hang-ups.

And no prizes for guessing which side the conservative punditry is taking.

"Bigotry" plain and simple, splutters Erza Levant on his (let's say) popular TV program. Insightful student of the human mind that he is, Ezra knows that Alberta-bashing comes easily to Justin, "because anti-western sentiment is every Liberal's mother tongue." In fact, forget birth languages, it's "in Trudeau's own family genes!"

"You can't grow up as the son of Pierre Trudeau" -- that Salmon Arm-fingerin', National Energy Policy-imposin', zero-seats-winnin' such-and-such -- and "not absorb through osmosis his key values" of Albertan-hate, diagnoses Ezzy. Or, in other words, some people are genetically predisposed to have bad political views that make them think some people are genetically predisposed to have bad political views.

Tragic really, agrees the Post's Rex Murphy, with one ill-conceived "slur," J-Tru has now plunked himself "squarely in the tradition he wanted to overwrite: that of his father's unhappy, voteless and sometimes contemptuous dealings with Western Canada."

Indeed, concurs fellow Postinista Kelly McParland, if Justin was just some dopey premier's brother that'd be one thing, but this guy's the sole candidate to lead a party that "has all but committed to crown him as its next saviour." And it's too late to return the damaged goods.

Meanwhile, the nation's liberal pundits are getting hand cramps from how hard they're trying to wave the controversy away.

"We're all getting excited about not much" sniffed Globe superstar Jeffrey Simpson when finally pressed to say something during a recent apperance on CTV's Power Play. "Yeah," nods  of Maclean's. So Justin was regionally "pandering" -- so what? I seem to recall a certain Albertan politician who could regionally pander with the best of 'em, snipes the Vancouver Sun's Barbara Yaffe.

'Course, in the end, regardless of your allegiances, it's hard to deny Ezra's parting quip that when it comes to Justin's idle musings we've all probably "spent more time thinking about his comments than he ever has."

The question is how little thinking a future prime minister deserves to get away with.

Blog continues below slideshow...

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  • TheMajor

    Trudeau really stepped into it in Alberta eh? Quebec leader????

  • Paul McLeod

    No one outside of Alberta cares that Trudeau dissed Alberta. But the appearance of favoritism for Quebec, that hits a nerve.

  • Karen Robson

    Trudeau said something bad about Alberta. Since when are cowboys so sensitive?

  • Karen Robson

    I'm from Alberta. Trudeau is right.

  • Darren Kirkham

    If anti-Alberta Justin Trudeau is elected, Western Canada should separate.

  • Kelly Robson

    Anti-Alberta Trudeau interview reminds Canadians why the Liberals were voted out

  • Dave Limacher

    Is Justin Trudeau still popular in Alberta today?

  • Zoey Duncan

    Part of me is offended by Trudeau’s anti-Alberta comments. Part of me wonders who are these nasty Albertans giving rest of us a bad name.

  • Տҝ∆₩ナ

    Justin Trudeau just keeps bashing #alberta. If you live in Western Canada and vote for Trudeau,hit yourself with a frying pan. #yeg #yyc

  • Chris_T

    Hey to break it to the tories but if they attack justin trudeau as "anti alberta" it may work for him

  • Peter Mansbridge

    Justin Trudeau found out what it's really like to play in the big leagues today. And Andrew Chantal and Bruce are eager to talk about it.

  • Steve Murray

    If I were Trudeau I would get out in front of this thing and challenge anyone to a boxing match.

  • Susan Delacourt

    I've watched a lot of TV on Trudeau's comments tonight but with rare exceptions, only non-Liberals speaking. What's that about? #cdnpoli

  • Art Middleton

    btw, it's comments like those from Justin Trudeau that convince me Alberta is better off as it's own country.

  • Sean Dicks

    @petermansbridge all the dirty secrets will come out now. It's not even election time! Are the Cons threatened?

  • David Akin

    Long history of English reporters ignoring what happens across the river, my guess. MT @aaronwherry: How did Trudeau comments escape notice

  • Angela

    I said it earlier and I'll say again. Justin Trudeau makes Thomas Mulcair appear sane. #cdnpoli #shinypony #tcot

  • Keith Torrie

    To those upset by Trudeau's Alberta comments remember we have a Prime Minister who said Atlantic Canada has a "culture of defeat". #cdnpoli

  • Wade Prue

    Hold the phones everyone; a Liberal spoke out against western focused political interests. Honestly, I am stunned. http://t.co/VnTCtcJP

  • Rosalind Robertson

    Let us all learn a valuable PR lesson: Tape never dies. #justintrudeau http://t.co/hwGkTe6a

  • Manny Montenegrino

    Cause most LPC agree with western bigotry sentiments MT @SusanDelacourt: .only non-Liberals speaking Trudeau's comments. What's that about?

  • Brittany Steele

    Aghhhhh Trudeau *palm face* CTV News: Conservatives seize on Trudeau's Alberta remarks as byelection fight heats up http://t.co/7KgYhFRB

  • scott faulconbridge

    Justin Trudeau caught on video with anti Albertan slant. SUN NEWS journalists will take turns masterbating to the video for the next week.

  • Nic Ruszkowski

    So Trudeau controversy asks if Laurier, St-Laurent, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chrétien were better for Canada than Bennett, Clark and Harper...

  • Isaac

    Trudeau should just come out and back the stamps in the grey cup. Problem solved.

  • Shaggy

    #nevervoteliberal Ahhh...the old #Trudeau #Liberal #Quebec arrogance comes out again. Justin's comments on AB in 2010 http://t.co/vBtx30Xy

  • Kristy Kirkup

    The govt now wants #LPC to fire Trudeau from his portfolio as critic for amateur sport, suggests 2010 comments were "anti-Alberta" #cdnpoli

  • Clint Upham

    TOstar headline: "Justin Trudeau faces uproar for alleged anti-Alberta comments" Alleged?! He said it! via @PartyOfSunshine cc: @shephardm

  • colin horgan

    The NDP is jumping on the Trudeau Alberta comments, too. @nathancullen speaks to how great Alberta is #hoc

  • Miss June

    Trudeau anti-alberta bias- hardly believe he has changed his tune since 2010. He was raised by his father after all. http://t.co/7W1QPQF4

  • LeighPatrickSullivan

    Wonder if Harvey Locke knows no good Liberals come from Alberta, according to J Trudeau. #tcot #yyccentre #yyc #abpoli #ShinyPony

  • Darren Kirkham

    Anti Alberta comments "Taken out of context" Justin Trudeau? Proves he is arrogant and delusional. #cdnpoli #abpoli #qcpoli

When we last left our Mideast buddies, they had just finished wrapping up a brief lil' war that saw the brave Israelis crush the pathetic Hamas losers of Gaza -- or at least that's how the Canadian press largely spun it. You didn't have to be a conspirazoid Quebec radio talk show host to note a pretty consistent pro-Israeli slant in the nation's editorial pages during the eight-day conflict, though one could just as easily say there was probably no more consistently damning source of anti-Hamas news than Hamas itself.

In any case, with the conflict now over and the stakes considerably lower, the press cheerleading has quickly devolved to hipster melancholy. "Man, why even bother to have a ceasefire," they mope into their craft beers, "everyone's just gonna wind up shooting each other again anyway."

The Toronto Star editorial board, for instance, is happy the good guys won, but still think it's "hard to see this as a strategic victory" for the Israelis. Palestinian Islamists are "emboldened," Turkey and Egypt are "antagonized," and strategically speaking, "Israel is no further ahead." But you know how you could get ahead, Israelis? By "hammering out the two-state solution" and letting the Palestinians have their own country. Oh, of course, we'll get right on that, replies Israel.

The Globe and Mail board echos a similar tone in their post-war post-mortem, noting that while Hamas is "feeding delusions" by claiming victory (yes, this is a thing), the Israelis will be lucky if "there is not a similar eruption of violence in the next few years." In fact, they lecture pacifist-aggressively, lasting peace will come "only when both sides recognize the futility of recurrent war." Oh, and all this time I thought we were supposed to recognize the awesomeness of recurrent war, respond the Palestinians.

Only the National Post seems chipper as ever, with a weekend editorial offering nothing but praise for a war Prime Minister Netanyahu waged "exactly the right way" and concluded with equal aplomb. Yeah, sucks that Palestinians have to live in a dump like Gaza, they concede, but hey, maybe if they stopped using said dump as a "lawless platform for Jew-killing" the Jews themselves might a tad more sympathetic.

Anyway, biased or not it's hard to deny that Canadian coverage of this recent spat of the Hummus set -- with maps, charts, videos, and correspondants galore -- has been anything less than stellar.

And if you missed any of it, don't worry -- there'll be other chances soon enough.

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  • People look at a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. The Israeli military said its assassination of the Hamas military commander marks the beginning of an operation against Gaza militants. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • People look at a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • People look at a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 file photo, a rocket is launched from the Israeli anti-missile system known as "Iron Dome" in order to intercept a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip in Ashdod, Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, file)

  • Ahmed Jabari

    Palestinian security forces wheel into a hospital the body of Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing, in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Ahmed Jabari

    Palestinian security forces wheel into a hospital the body of Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing, in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Israelis soldiers run to a rocket shelter as a siren sounds signaling an attack coming from the nearby Gaza Strip in Neva settlement, near the Israel-Egypt border, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • Palestinian men react at hospital after the body of Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing, was brought, in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Israeli soldiers and civilians run to a rocket shelter as a siren sounds signaling an attack coming from the nearby Gaza Strip in Neva settlement, near the Israel-Egypt border, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Palestinian witnesses say Israeli airstrikes have hit a series of targets across Gaza City, shortly after the assassination of the top Hamas commander. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • People look at a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • People gather around a wreckage of the car in which was killed Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

  • Palestinian youths look inside a building where the body of Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, was brought to after the car he was riding was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on November 14, 2012. (SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on November 14, 2012. (SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Palestinian man cries as security forces wheel into a hospital the body of Ahmaed Jaabari (unseen), head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, after the car he was riding was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinians extinguish fire from the car of Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinian firefighters extinguish fire from the car of Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinians extinguish fire from the car of Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinian firefighters extinguish fire from the car of Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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