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The unfettered bias of Terry Milewski, Robert Fife, Bruce Cheadle and Bruce Campion-Smith

The pack journalism of the Parliamentary Press Gallery was on display like never before this past weekend. We got to see the extent to which they're willing to go to inject their personal political biases into the election campaign and to pass off their own opinions as news.

But, sadly for them, we also got to see how the days of the mainstream media are numbered.

It all began at a Conservative Party election rally in Mississauga where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was answering questions from reporters. Harper-hater Terry Milewski of the CBC got to the microphone with a list of carefully prepared ambush questions which he, himself, confessed were the talking points of Harper's critics.

The next day, press gallery reporters for CBC, CTV, CP, the Toronto Star and even Postmedia spread stories across the country that the audience, prompted by Harper aides, drowned out Milewski's questions to protect the Prime Minister.

The stories are lies.

The reporters knew it.

And, thanks to the new media, the public can, too.

* It begins with Milewski at the mic. Contrary to the meme being spread by the press gallery that Harper's media access is scripted and controlled with reporters limited to 4 questions, Milewski, following other reporters, asked three questions himself and wanted answers in English and French for each.

His "question" consisted of three mini-speeches. He spoke for almost two minutes.

To understand how the press gallery spins the story you have to hear Milewski's condescending, contemptuous, insulting questions for yourself. Here, then, is a transcript, with a few choice phrases highlighted.

Terry Milewski:

"Thank you. Good morning, sir. "

"You have been portraying yourself in this campaign throughout as tough on crime and a friend to victims. And I'd like to put to you, if you don't mind, um, some items which suggest to your critics otherwise, and to have your comments on these in both languages, if you could."

"First, your candidate in Scarborough, we all know, was an enthusiastic cheerleader for a terrorist group, the Tamil Tigers. Now one of your own ministers, Peter Kent, has repudiated him. You haven't. Why not? Why is Mr. Paranchothy still your candidate?"

"And, second, you promised in your 2006 platform Stand Up For Canada to create a national Security Commissioner. You broke that promise and you continue to break it even when a judge that you appointed, John Major, urged you to keep it, said it was essential, would require no new bureaucracy. So the second question is why you broke your promise on such a basic issue of public safety."

"And finally your campaign has now issued what seems to be a completely preposterous statement on the decision of your candidate in Vancouver South, Wai Young, uh, to, uh, meet with and receive the endorsement of a well-known member, founder member, of the Babar Khalsa terrorist group who paid over $100,000 to the bombmaker in Air India. And, sir, the point here is that Malik was front page news for five straight years in the biggest criminal case in Canada history in her town and Wai Young now (says she?) didn't know who she was, who he was, went to his meeting, heard him endorse her, didn't know who she was."

"Isn't that a slap in the face to the Air India victims's families and why is Wei Young still your candidate?"

* Harper then answered the questions.

All three of them.

The questions that were asked without interruption from the audience.

Stephen Harper:

" First of all, 3 of these things...First of all our candidate in Scarborough has been very clear on his rejection of the Tamil Tigers.Very clear on that. That is the position of this party and this party is the one that listed the Tamil Tigers organization.
" In terms of the national Security Commissioner...we looked at that some years ago and concluded that the current arrangement where we have a national security adviser coordinating a number of agencies within the Privy Council office is the way we wanted to go. I think that is the most effective way to go and we've looked at the various options."

" Finally, in terms of our candidate in Vancouver South...she was invited to attend a school, she attended, in good faith, uh, she has been very clear, she and her campaign have no links and do not welcome in any way Mr. Malik into this party. We're absolutely clear about that."

* Barely had he stopped speaking when Milewski began to argue with the P.M.

"Do you actually believe, sir..."

And the applause started. The audience just realized the Prime Minister had finished his answer. They clapped politely, then louder, then joined in a standing ovation and ended with chanting Harper's name a few times. It lasted about a minute.

And then, Prime Minister Harper.... answered Milewski's 3 questions again---in French.

Far from silencing Milewski, Stephen Harper gave six answers to three questions from one reporter.

* How did the Parliamentary Press Gallery report the exchange?

Canadian Press
Cheering Conservative partisans shield Harper from awkward terrorism questions
By: Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press
04/23/2011 8:22 PM | MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Partisan supporters of Prime Minister Stephen Harper — led by Conservative staffers — purposely drowned out media questions Saturday about a controversial endorsement from a man with links to the Air India bombing.
A reporter attempted to ask Harper if he actually believed Young could not know who Malik was when she received his endorsement.
A Conservative staffer near the reporter prompted the crowd of about 500 into sustained, aggressive applause that lasted more than a minute, drowning out the reporter's repeated efforts to get a response from Harper.

The Toronto Star
Party favours: Election ephemera
2011/04/23 14:14:00
Bruce Campion-Smith (Ottawa Bureau chief , the Toronto Star)
Stephen Harper’s relations with journalists hit a new bump Saturday when a crowd of partisan supporters shouted down a reporter as he tried to get an answer from the Conservative leader.

Cheering partisans shield Harper from questions
Updated: Sat Apr. 23 2011 6:07:55 PM News Staff
Conservative Party staff helped a crowd of Ontario supporters to drown out reporters' questions Saturday to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about a controversial endorsement in B.C. from a man with links to the Air India bombing.
When a reporter attempted to follow up with a question about whether Harper actually believed Young did not know one of the most high-profile characters in the Air India saga, Conservative staff rallied the crowd into loud applause. As staffers led cheers of "Harper!" the crowd surged to its feet.

The Globe and Mail
Tory crowd drowns out question about support from man acquitted in Air India
STEVEN CHASE (Parliamentary bureau reporter, The Globe and Mail)
MISSISSAUGA, ONT.— Globe and Mail Update
Published Saturday, Apr. 23, 2011 11:29AM EDT
Last updated Saturday, Apr. 23, 2011 6:33PM EDT
Conservative partisans deliberately drowned out a journalist’s question to Mr. Harper during a Greater Toronto Area campaign stop Saturday as he was being asked about a Vancouver candidate’s endorsement by a man acquitted in the Air India bombing.
* Milewski was interviewed Sunday on Newsworld.
"So the idea that she somehow didn't know who he was seems almost too bizarre to believe. Yesterday, as you know, an attempt to get Mr. Harper to confirm that he actually believed that story was unsuccessful due to the enthusiasm of his supporters who kind of drowned out the question. We asked Harper again, the question he wouldn't answer yesterday."

* Robert Fife, CTV 's Parliamentary Bureau Chief, discussed the incident on CTV Newsnet.
Female Host: Somehow they were encouraging the crowd to essentially drown out those media questions. Is anybody talking about that today?

Fife: When a reported asked 'do you believe, do you believe her?'... when he asked that question, people from the Prime Minister's office were on a stage encouraging people to clap and shout the reporter down. So on a matter of principle we asked Harper about this today.

* The pack was in full howl. The saintly reporter was shouted down and drowned out when all he wanted to do was ask a follow-up question. Oh, those evil Conservatives.

What the press gallery reporters still haven't learned is that their day is long gone.

On Small Dead Animals, this comment popped up on the thread about the Milewski incident:

Here is the video...the media are liars on this story

Video? Yep. And on the CTV website, too. Watch it before they take it down.

You will hear for yourself Milewski's sneering questions and insulting behavior towards the Prime Minister. A perfect example of CBC manhood.

You will see that Stephen Harper answered all of Milewski's questions, twice.

You will see that Milewski wasn't asking a follow up question; he was starting to argue with the P.M. His mind was already made up. The answer from Harper and his camp was , in his opinion, "completely preposterous" and "almost too bizarre to believe."

What, then, did he wish to get from his "follow-up" question.

Obviously, he wanted to goad Harper into a sound bite that could be used by the Liberals, especially Ujjal Dosangh, the source of the Vancouver South complaint in the first place, which Milewski freely admitted ("some items which suggest to your critics otherwise").

Milewski was acting as a foil for the Liberals. The audience realized that.

This wasn't CBC's Liberal election rally. This was a Conservative Party rally, and they let their voices be heard.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery was incensed. So they simply ignored the truth and went with the lie. Poor Terry got shouted down. How can we help the Liberals if we let that sort of thing happen.

But they didn't count on the new media---the internet. The video of the entire exchange was online and available for anyone to see.

The gatekeepers have lost control.

And all their credibility.

Is there anyone left who believes the "national reporters" are impartial reporters who don't inject their personal opinions into their, ahem, "news" reports?

If you find someone, show them the Milewski video. Be sure to issue the "barf alert."

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