The #AngryCon: he learned those attitudes about the media from the party he supports

Posted on August 20, 2015, 1:52 am
9 mins

PHOTOS: A screen shot of the man identified by the Toronto Star as Earl Cowan at the moment he informs a reporter she’s a lying piece of … something. Below: Tory operative Fred DeLorey and Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick.

I have to confess I felt the tiniest bit of empathy for the aged Harper supporter whose squeaky voiced rant at a reporter Tuesday so captivated the Interwebs.

I sympathize partly because I’m an old geezer myself, and when I get really angry about stuff my voice goes all squeaky too.

DeLoreyIt’s hard to do, but experience says it’s more effective just to glare and say nothing – that way you can leave what might happen to the imagination of the person it might happen to. Sometimes that works, anyway.

The other advantage, of course, is that nobody knows you sound like you’ve been breathing helium when you get mad – as did all the people who had viewed the CBC’s video of the man identified by the Toronto Star as Earl Cowan well over a million times by last night. Face it, if the cameras are doing the digital equivalent of rolling, as they always are nowadays, if you don’t keep your own counsel, no matter how mad you are, you’re going to look really foolish, and possibly do some good for the side you don’t support.

Leastways, Twitter now refers to Mr. Cowan as #AngryCon as he experiences his more than 15 minutes of uncomfortable fame, and it’s only a matter of time before someone posts a fake Conservative TV ad on Youtube that tells viewers to “Vote for Stephen Harper, you lying pieces of sh*t!”

So that’s one reason I’m feeling empathetic today. The other is that I have a pretty good idea of how he got to be so mad and, if you’re a Dipper or a Grit, unless you’re a sneaky one like me, you probably don’t.

All major Canadian political parties are engaging heavily with their supporters now that the federal election has been called for Oct. 19 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Whether you’re orange, red or blue, the flow of emailed pitches for teeny-tiny donations, less than the price of a cup of coffee, etc. etc., is unrelenting, and for many of us pretty irritating.

Liberal fund-raising emails tends to promise that the next TV clip featuring Justin Trudeau will finally turn the tide, if only you can chip in a ten-spot so the digital team that’s just waiting for your donation can get it on the air.

Heather_MallickNDP schpeels often tighten the time frame – there’s a budget meeting in just three hours that needs $5 from you right now. Can you chip in $5 or more before the meeting starts? Plus, if you’re really lucky, you might get have dinner with Tom Mulcair!

Tory email fund-raisers, though, often have a darker hue, and quite a few of them are designed to appeal to people like Mr. Cowan seems to be – older folks worried about their futures, unhappy with the changes they see in their country and feeling powerless to do anything about it.

And if there is a repeating theme in this emailed fund-raising campaign by the Party of Stephen Harper it’s that the media and its representatives are sneaky Ottawa elites out to help the Liberals, or lately the NDP, get elected by deception and fraud. In other words, if you’ll forgive me, “lying pieces of sh*t.”

If you don’t believe me, here are a few examples from my secret Conservative “supporter” account:

  • “We can’t count on the Ottawa media elite to report the results fairly – even though we raised the most money.”
  • “It’s the same old Ottawa media elite. We’re seeing more of the same selective reporting that defined their coverage in 2014. The proof is everywhere.”
  • “The Ottawa media elites are all but cheerleading for Justin Trudeau. Instead of talking about our government’s strong economic record, or questioning Trudeau’s total lack of policy, journalists like the Toronto Star’s Heather Mallick gush fawningly over the Liberal leader.”
  • “The Ottawa media elites who attack our Prime Minister, day in and day out … are powerful, and they are influential.”
  • “When we told you the Ottawa media elites were working against us, reporters laughed at us.”
  • “The urban media elite are mobilizing against us.”
  • “The Liberals and their allies in the Ottawa media are trying to build a grand story around Justin Trudeau. They want Canadians to believe he has all the momentum. And they hope that if they repeat it often enough, people will believe it.”
  • “This morning, I picked up a paper to read with my morning coffee. You won’t believe what I found inside. I discovered a 740-word column by the Toronto Star’s Heather Mallick, full of disgusting personal attacks on the Prime Minister. I won’t go into detail, but it included the word ‘sociopathic.’ Not even trying to hide her bias, Mallick ends her column hoping that when it comes to Conservative majority, ‘next year it will be over.’”

The “sociopathic” reference in the last email quoted here refers to Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick’s hilarious – and obviously controversial – comment about Mr. Harper’s “dead sociopathic eyes,” in an August 24, 2014, column that ran under the headline “Why voters like Justin Trudeau” and clearly got the Tories’ goat.

Interestingly, most of the pitches attacking the media are attributed to Jamie Girard, the party’s director of fund-raising, and Fred DeLorey, the director of political operations, with the name of an occasional MP thrown in.

The irony, of course, is that the role played by the media is pretty much the opposite of that portrayed by Messrs. Girard and DeLorey. Indeed, can anyone name a major newspaper other than the Star that has written an editorial in any recent election advising voters to vote for anyone but the Harper Conservatives?

Policy related emails – and lately there have been lots promising to lock criminals up forever and ever, amen – tend to be attributed to Conservative MPs who live in the recipient’s neighbourhood.

Regardless, what I’m saying here is that many Harper supporters were schooled in the hatred for the media exhibited by Mr. Cowan on the now-famous POS video.

They learned these suspicions from the emails about the media they have been receiving from the Conservative fund-raising boiler room.

Rather than making fun of #AngryCon for his pathetic outburst, as much fun as that might be, we really ought to think about the kind of people who would encourage that kind of reaction, and what else they might be prepared to do to hang onto power.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

16 Comments to: The #AngryCon: he learned those attitudes about the media from the party he supports

  1. Elke Babiuk

    August 20th, 2015

    I used to get the same letters. They always ragged on about the media.

    Reply
  2. Eric Cameron

    August 20th, 2015

    When I worked as a newspaper reporter (long ago and far away, Cape Breton Post, “The Island’s Only Daily”, back in the mid-1970s, I had to interview a woman who was touring the country on an anti-abortion campaign. I spent half a day with her, and had an hour-long one-on-one interview. Now I personally totally disagree with her position, and I asked some tough questions. (Right to choose, people. It’s a hard choice in some circumstances, an easy choice in others.). My article appeared the following day. She had already left Cape Breton. I was surprised to receive a letter from her a few days later saying “That is the fairest media coverage I have received across the country. Thank you.” My point is that journalists are trying to report the facts. They are professionals. The Harper aversion to journalists is paranoia. Columnists and TV talking heads, on the other hand? Yeah, they are biased.

    Reply
  3. Coffee Man

    August 20th, 2015

    cup of copy?

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 20th, 2015

      Took a coffee guy to spot this, I guess. Thanks as always to my readers, who also fulfill the essential function of being my editors.

      Reply
      • Lars

        August 20th, 2015

        “Schpeel”, as well, I think – “schpiel” is what I recall.

        The term “Laurentian consensus” has been surfacing lately (not here, have noted it elsewhere). What was the term that you came up for its right-wing Western equivalent again? “Frontier Phalangists”? “Rochy Mountain Radoteurs”? Whatever it was, it deserves more currency.

        Reply
        • David Climenhaga

          August 20th, 2015

          Lars: Schpiel looks better to me, too, but some online dictionary or other gave me the double-e version, so I’ll stick with it. It was the “Laurentian Elite,” coined, I think, by John Ibbotson and Darrell Bricker to serve their masters. I had suggested the Cordilleran Elite in response, although it seems to have been swept aside for the moment by the Cordilleran Consensus.

          Reply
  4. MAGGIE

    August 20th, 2015

    No wonder SUN TV went tits up. The Party has eliminated the middleman and mainlines it to the faithful.

    Reply
  5. ronmac

    August 20th, 2015

    If I was running a campaign I would hire Shakespearean actors posing as a “man-on-the-street” Joe Public to provide impromptu sound bites for the media whenever the occasion rises..

    Instead of something like this: “You lying piece of f*^kin sh*t!”

    To something like this:

    “You told a lie, an odious, damned lie;
    upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.
    I say unto you again, you are a shallow cowardly hind,
    and you lie.
    Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
    a lie that it must bear?
    You would think truth were a fool:
    Drunkenness is your best virtue;
    Only in your sleep you do little harm,
    I have but little more to say, sir/madame,
    of your honesty:”

    This will a) impress the TV public and b) possibly inspire those currently sitting on the fence to vote for your candidate.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 20th, 2015

      Go to. Charm your tongue. No one would believe it!

      Reply
      • Val Jobson

        August 21st, 2015

        Poor old Shakespeare is getting neglected; lately he just shows up in those insurance commercials that don’t want drama.

        Even his villains sound noble when it suits their purpose:

        Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
        Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
        Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
        ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
        But he that filches from me my good name
        Robs me of that which not enriches him,
        And makes me poor indeed.

        http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/who-steals-my-purse-steals-trash

        Reply
  6. Jerrymacgp

    August 20th, 2015

    “liberal media elites”… what a load of [email protected] Never in our history have we seen such a concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few right-wing, big business/corporate interests. It makes the 1980-81 Kent Commission seem positively naive. There isn’t even one mainstream media outlet, with the possible exception of the GTA-centric Toronto Star, with progressive minded ownership or editorial policy. There is Postmedia, which is conservative, and there is the Sun newspaper chain, now also owned by Postmedia, which is more conservative. On TV, we have CTV, owned by Bell, Global, owned by Shaw, and CityTV, owned by Rogers. Then there is Maclean’s, also owned by Rogers, with conservative sympathizer Paul Wells as political editor.

    And then, of course, we have the Holy Mother Corp itself, aka the People’s broadcaster, aka the CBC, only slightly less rabidly conservative in recent years than their commercial peers, i.e. not quite drooling knuckledraggers. Andrew Coyne? Rex Murphy? Puhlees…

    The only Liberal media elites are those in the HarperCons’ wild-eyed paranoid fantasies.

    Reply
    • Elke Babiuk

      August 21st, 2015

      LOL. While I agree with most of what you are saying, CBC in the past has often leaned left which is why I didn’t watch it for years. They are now after the HarperCons constantly to prove their talking points but given they are also dealing with severe cutbacks, that would mean they can’t really do the in-depth reporting that is required. Both Coyne and Murphy have also come out swinging against Harper from time to time which I find refreshing given their right-wing views.

      Harper has always been paranoid from the beginning about the elite lefties in society so his delusions about the media elites are just that – totally delusional, because, as you say, most are very right-wing.

      He is a walking-talking attack AD and not someone who should lead our country.

      Reply

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