The parliamentary press gallery launched its latest salvo Tuesday in an ongoing cold war with the Harper government over media access and procedures for reporting on federal politics.
Prior to the start of a news conference in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would contribute $40 million in humanitarian and military assistance to the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur, members of the press gallery simultaneously got up and left, moments before the prime minister arrived in the room, in an act of defiance against new news conference rules imposed against the media.
Harper has come under fire from the media in recent months for limiting the parliamentary press gallery from having access to certain events and federal personalities.
The press has always been quick to raise its perception that Stephen Harper doesn't understand media optics, but it appears that the PPG experts couldn't master their own good press.
Walking out on a conference about such a serious subject as the Darfur horror demonstrates a lack of professionalism and a flippant disregard for the very subject about which the PPG and company have been going on for months now.
In the public eye, PPG now looks like a bunch of spoiled children, and PMO looks more professional and forbearing than before.
Worse still, it underscores the very pettiness of PPG's complaints against PMO. Its members are not being censored, fired, sued, prosecuted, fined or jailed for giving the government bad press; they aren't even being prevented from doing their jobs properly. The public will not see how a few slight inconveniences to PPG represent a threat to freedom of the press and democracy; they'll see journalists' inflated egos getting the better of them.
But in the end, PPG will come around. They always do. There's only one Parliament to cover, after all.
Source: Global TV