Many feuds are entertaining. Whether we're talking bloody tales of yore featuring the Hatfields vs. the McCoys or contemporary Twitter nastiness between Nicki Minaj and Stephen Tyler, acrimony can be amazingly fun to watch. But these fights are only as interesting as the players are genuinely passionate, which is perhaps why the ongoing feud between the Harper Conservatives and the media has got to be one of the dullest prolonged quarrels ever.
Things heated up to a dull almost-simmer this week when Prime Minister Harper's office restricted access to the Prime Minister's speech to caucus Wednesday to photographers and t.v. camera operators. Nah nah nah boo boo boo, no reporters allowed! This of course did not sit well with media outlets, most of whom responded by boycotting covering the speech altogether. (Sun Media was the exception.) Some reporters did find an alternate venue, though: NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's caucus speech, where their presence was not only permitted, but actually encouraged. (Imagine that!) This led the Conservative party's director of political operations to compose a disingenuously outraged fundraising letter, which whined, "We knew they wouldn't give us fair coverage -- but this is a new low for the Ottawa media elite."
I hate to break it to both sides of this dispute, but the assaults being launched and the injuries being claimed in this vendetta are just too weak and inconsequential for most normal people -- which is to say, anyone not living in the Parliament Hill bubble -- to give a hoot about. Can government secrecy be a serious problem? Absolutely. So can media bias. But what we're seeing here -- the government petulantly not inviting reporters to a dull scripted event, then having reporters get on their moral high horses about how crucial their presence is at this dull scripted event so that they can report on "body language" -- is all just juvenile. At the very least, it's the makings of an extremely lame feud for which most Canadians should have little time.
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