Why can’t reporters understand Stephen Harper?

The following is a Letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail yesterday that didn’t get published:

Reporter Joe Friesen has perpetuated the misunderstanding of our Prime Minister in his ‘Stephen Harper’s census’ (Feb 4, 2012). He says that Harper, while playing the demographic card to insist that we cannot afford the current old age security benefits, nevertheless refuses to understand British Columbia’s demographic arguments in favour of a more generous federal contribution to Medicare payments for its older population.

Mr Friesen apparently just doesn’t understand Harper at all. Harper isn’t employing or ignoring the facts of demographics at all. Harper has an agenda of less government and fewer social programs. He has a vision of a Canada unlike what we’ve experienced for generations. His announced intention is to remake Canada in his conservative image.
No amount of facts or ‘evidence’ is driving Harper’s decision making. When the facts are in his favour, he gladly employs them. When not, he ignores them. This is a case of ideology trumping common sense. One thing this is not, contrary to the article, is ‘puzzling’.
This type of misunderstanding of Harper is rampant in the Report on Business and elsewhere in the newspaper world.
Reporters cannot understand why StatsCan would be gutted when it provides necessary information about demographics and such that are crucial to government planning. They couldn’t understand why the Prime Minister, an ‘economist’, would lower the GST (which ended up being partly responsible for our current fiscal deficit, but, also very handily the very excuse to cut government services). Neither made sense and they found it ‘puzzling’ that an intelligent man like Harper would be so evidently ignorant of such things.
Harper’s crime agenda is much more obviously crafted. He is increasing jails and making the justice system more rigid and punitive at a time when crime stats have never been lower (now there’s a good reason to get rid of StatsCan). This is simply and obviously playing to his base. Interesting, though, how conservatives who do not believe in a role for government always end up with enormous bureaucracies to administer ‘justice’ to those who fall out of line.
Most reporters understand the crass nature of Harper’s justice policies. Somehow, though, they are blinded by his economic policies. The fact is, Harper either doesn’t understand economics at all or is simply too ideologically driven to care. I believe it is an unhealthy combination of the two.
Why don’t journalists get this?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: