Thursday, July 20, 2006

Press Gallery Politics?

Just easing back in the saddle after a lovely time of surf, sand, sun and general mellowing-out...

That makes it all the more difficult to relate to the tension and suffering going on in the Mid-East. We are hearing horror stories about the sub-human conditions aboard the first rescue ship out of Lebanon. In fact there is very little else other than castigation about the way Canada has handled the evacuation.

I only wonder how much of this is filtered through a media lens that has an axe to grind. (Excerpt from Gloria Galloway on why PMO wanted crisis kept under wraps):

Jim Whittier, Hamilton, Ont.: It is important to have a critical press. But do you think the recent hissy fit of the Ottawa Press Gallery had anything to do with the vitriol in some of the recent press attacks? From my perspective, this approach seems to be more damaging to the credibility of those reporting it than to the targets of their attacks.

Gloria Galloway: Hi, Jim. It would be foolish of me to deny that there is an ongoing dispute between the Prime Minister's Office and the press gallery. And I think there have been incidents of bad behavior on both sides. I think the job of any Ottawa reporter is to get beyond that and tell the story as we see it, without allowing the relationship to get in the way. To be honest, though, I think it works this way. When people are fair and open with reporters, and when they seem to respect the fact that we have jobs to do and do their best to help us, we are more inclined to overlook occasional minor pratfalls. If there is no good relationship established, then we are less likely to do so.

Is it reasonable to expect immediate evacuation by a country whose military has been gutted by Liberal governments for so many years? Is it reasonable to expect first-class accommodations? Is it reasonable to expect as timely a response as a country near the area of crisis?

Those who have been rescued must feel traumatized, but let's give them a chance to get home and recuperate. Then we can rehash the whole operation and see how things can be improved for the future.


TrustOnlyMulder said...

Let me be the first to welcome you back.

Candace said...

Just imagine the hew & cry if the Sea Kings were sent to the rescue (assuming they actually made it that far). And this just proves yet again why Canada doesn't need its own strategic airlift capability, doesn't it?/sarc

Welcome back, hope you're all rested up.

Red Tory said...

The Americans don't seem to be doing a whole lot better. I wouldn't blame Harper or the previous government for this. It's just an overwhelming situation. Also, it should be noted that there are more Canadians in Lebanon than from any other country.

Mac said...

I think I see PM Harper's plan... Travel to a war-zone with a plane load of jaded journalists, pick up a load of refugees and leave the Press behind. Brilliant!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Mulder! It was great to just kick back and not think about anything more challenging than if I wanted to go swimming or take a nap, but I think the brain cells have recharged now (no comments from the peanut gallery please).

Candace, you are so right. Those same people that are criticizing this operation are often the same ones that protest more military spending.

Red, good point about the larger Canadian population in Lebanon. In fact your whole comment makes so much sense, that I wonder if I have been out in the sun too long?

Lol!! Mac, this is pay-back time!!

Gabby in QC said...

For those who want to know how many foreign nationals are living in Lebanon, in addition to the some 40-50000 Canadians, here are some interesting numbers (from BBC online):

Britain: Some 22,000 Britons were in Lebanon when the bombing began, about 10,000 with dual nationality.
US: The US had 25,000 citizens in Lebanon when the crisis erupted.
France: a total of about 20,000 citizens in the country.
Australia: 25,000 Australians in Lebanon.
Philippines: 34,000 Filipinos in Lebanon.
India: estimated 12,000 Indians in Lebanon.
Sri Lanka: estimated 80,000 Sri Lankans live in Lebanon.
Bangladesh: Up to 10,000 Bangladeshis also live in Lebanon
Denmark: 4,000 brought out.
Sweden: Some 1,300 Swedish expatriates have been driven to Syria.
Spain: more than 500 had been flown to Spain, although more than 100 Spaniards remained in Lebanon.
Italy: 400 citizens to Cyprus ... About 300 Italians have decided to stay.
Poland: has evacuated more than 200 citizens.
Germany: Up to 3,000 sought evacuation.
Austria: about 100 Austrians have left Lebanon so far, with 120 still there.
Morocco: several dozen nationals.
Russia: 357 people fleeing Lebanon have arrived in Moscow ... another 301 are en route.
The governments of 1,600 Ukrainians, 1,000 Romanians, 600 Dutch, 500 Bulgarians, 160 Finns and 90 New Zealanders are also arranging passage out of Lebanon for their citizens.

I understand people being fearful & frustrated because of their war zone experiences, but to blame the Canadian government for conditions on a ship is a bit much. Maybe they would have preferred staying behind to duck bombs in Beirut ...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gabby, thanks for the stats. Very interesting. Obviously, Canada has one of the larger numbers of citizens in Lebanon. I wonder why?

I read this morning that someone connected with the first ship's owner said that there was indeed A/C on the ship, but the passengers kept opening the windows. Well, duh!

Sara said...


I'm jealous but I took it easy too, I burned my tummy. Was in my own backyard so wore a bikini first time in decades and my tummy got burned :(

back to reality though...

msm are yes acting like children but that I am used to lol

I'm meeting with a freakin Liberal today! this is very odd but welcoming and I'll let you know how it goes!

Gabby in QC said...


A few minutes ago, a couple was being interviewed on CTV re: their evacuation experiences. Both were complaining about the conditions on the ground and on the ship. Imagine! Confusing information given to hundreds, if not thousands, of screaming people! Not having any food on board for them! How inconsiderate! And a trip that usually takes 9 hours took 16 hours instead! And to top it all, the Prime Minister did not even go to welcome them!

I'm running out of Kleenex already ...

OK, maybe I'm overdoing the callousness bit - not my natural condition. But it seems some of these returning Canadians are very ungrateful for what their government has been able to do under very difficult circumstances.

I recall a very similar passage on a ferry in Europe years ago - people seasick all over the place, and we were not escaping from a war zone.

P.S. Welcome back.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Sara, and sorry about the sunburn. I have one on my shoulders, so I feel your pain quite literally. Good luck with that Liberal! - Should be interesting.

Gabby, thank you too! I made a comment on another blog that throwing up and being thirsty beats dying in a missile blast... The culture of entitlement knows no geographic boundaries.

Gabby in QC said...

I guess this whole situation has really gotten to me. As I've said in previous posts, I too was an immigrant (now Canadian - one citizenship, and I had the option to keep my original one).

Let me comment on what Gloria Galloway has written, though:

«When people are fair and open with reporters ... and do their best to help us, we are more inclined to overlook occasional minor pratfalls. If there is no good relationship established, then we are less likely to do so."

In other words, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. If you treat me nicely, Political Person, and thus make my job easier, I'll give you some slack, but if you don't, watch out! Oh, and truth and pursuit thereof be damned.

Sara said...


did you ever hit the nail on the head with that one, sheesh

I'm so tired of 2nd class food, my bed was lumpy, clean my sheets bring me drinks dammit,,,


welcome back

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sheesh, Sara! You just broke one of my rules, but I'll let it go this time, because sometimes there just isn't any other way to say it. Right on, both of you!