Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Tale of the Tape

While the MSM has been milking the tragicomedy of Belinda and Peter for all it's worth, the blogosphere has been covering the less dramatic but more disturbing story of bribes to Tory MP's to beat the budget vote:

Tim Murphy's cryptic doubletalk with Gurmant Grewal brings the phrase "plausible deniability" to mind. From Politics Watch:

Earlier the Conservatives played to reporters an eight-minute segment of a recording of the conversation between Murphy and Grewal Wednesday morning.

At no time during the tape does Murphy make an explicit offer to Grewal, and he carefully chooses his words and speaks about hypothetical situations.

The tape suggests that Murphy is more interested in Grewal abstaining than having the MP crossover to the Liberal side.

Murphy also says that it is a "bad idea" to "have any kind of commitment that involves an explicit trade."

However, Murphy tells Grewal that there are "other members of your current caucus who are facing the same dilemna that you face," suggesting the Liberals have been talking to other Tories who may be considering crossing the floor or abstaining.

"I don't think it's good if anybody lies, or if anybody is asked the question, 'Well is there a deal?' and you say, 'No.' Well you want that to be the truth," says Murphy.

"And that's what I want. I want the truth to be told."

On the tape, Murphy proposes the concept of Grewal abstaining from the vote and using the following excuse, which sounds eerily familiar.

"That can be done on the basis, those members can do it on the basis, 'Well look, my riding doesn't want an election, doesn't want one now. Thinks it's the wrong time to do it.'"

Murphy explains to Grewal that abstaining is a better option than crossing the floor and could allow for future talks.

"If someone abstains in that environment who has exercised a decision based on principle, (it) still gives him the freedom to have some negotiating room on both sides.

"Then the freedom to have discussions is increased."

Murphy described the next step for an MP who has abstained against the wishes of his party leader.

"A person can say, 'Look, I obviously abstained and created some issues' and then they can say, 'I'm thinking hard about what the right thing for my riding and the contribution I would like to make.'"

Murphy goes on to say, "In advance of that explicit discussions about Senate, not Senate I don't think are very helpful and I don't think can be had in advance of an abstention tomorrow."

He says discussions could be held later.

"You can easily say, if you don't like, you can stay home or stay back where you are or if you do like we can make an arrangement that allows you to move."

Egads! Here we have, buried under a pile of carefully-parsed verbiage (vetted by Justice Department lawyers beforehand, perhaps?) an offer to an opposition MP of a government appointment in exchange for his abstention from a confidence vote.

Yet the MSM takes umbrage at Gurmant Grewal's heinous act of taping a private conversation!

Real journalists would have delighted at having a smoking gun like this dropped in their laps. You know, the kind who will investigate stories of corruption in government, without fear or favour, regardless of whether the government in question is on the side of the angels or the devils as they see it.

But not our MSM. They're as much a part of the political establishment as the politicians they report on. They go to the same cocktail parties and golf clubs. There is not the slightest hint of an adversarial relationship, not even of a gently probing friendly scepticism, in their reportage.

We pay a price for having a media that falsely claims an independence from and an objectivity towards the political establishment that it has tied itself to.

And though the media doesn't realize it, it pays a heavy price too. Tying its credibility to a particular political party's fortunes means that it will go down with the party.

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