For a government obsessed with photo-ops and media control, it’s somewhat surprising to discover the man in charge of government doesn’t watch the finished product.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper revealed he doesn’t tune into Canadian TV news, because he doesn’t like to hear what others say about him.
He made the comments during a Q&A session at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Convention in downtown Toronto.
“I tend to watch American news; I don’t like to watch Canadian news and hear what Allan [Gregg, the pollster/CBC pundit seated in the audience] and everybody else is saying about me”
“My hobby is to watch politics elsewhere.”
Ouch! Make that a “double-ouch” for Canada’s broadcasters pushing the whole, you know, “Save Local TV News,” campaign.
True, the PMO’s disdain for the media is no secret … and maybe the PM doesn’t need to watch TV news – his staff summarize events and issues for him.
Also, you could argue the PM is simply too busy to watch TV – but his aides insist the Harpers enjoy watching “Canadian dramas” (they wouldn’t specify which ones … but could you really see the PM watching Being Erica?) and NHL hockey games.
Puzzled, I then asked what American news channels the PM prefers? CNN? Fox News? MSNBC? Wouldn’t say either.
Now, speaking of the US Networks, its clear President Obama and his administration officials watch lots of TV news and have a much different relationship with the industry. In fact, the White House is currently engaged in a bit of a tiff against Fox News.
Bottom line here: while the PM has confirmed there are no Canadian TV news ratings points to be won at 24 Sussex, his party is happy to spend millions on partisan or government advertisements to air during TV news commercial breaks.