How to Earn
Infamy is a group activity that usually requires a group effort. Without a compliant media that fails in its responsibility to inform the public, a group of thugs like the so-called Campbell Government would be unable to pursue its own hidden agenda, contrary to its own campaign platform, behind a screen of happy face slogans. If so-called journalists were half as interested in seeking out/and sharing the facts as they are in purveying the "official" government spin, the "people" very likely would have an entirely different perspective on both what is happening AND how their vote can affect this reality. The practice of simply ignoring certain issues and stories is just as important as the application of the appropriate spin to the stories that manage to get through the filters of the corporate media ownership.
Of course we don't suffer "censorship" like that experienced in the old USSR of Pravda, or in the Myanmar of today. In Canada we enjoy "Freedom of the Press." Of course that particular freedom is of much more value to he who is fortunate enough to own one (or say three dailies in the Lower Mainland - Capitol Region + TeeVee and weeklies.) On Friday, March 7, Vaughn Palmer once again proved why Robin Matthews has dubbed him - "Gordon Campbell's personal representative at the Vancouver Sun". His embarrassing piece titled NDP runs out of steam against health minister's counterpunching , is a textbook tour of how to trivialize, misdirect and turn the issues of the day into a "horse race" narrative that apparently even the dimmest bulbs in the editorial ooze can comprehend.
Shortly before question period in the legislature one afternoon this week, the Hospital Employees' Union put out a press release on the running controversy over nursing homes.
"Retirement Concepts," it began, citing the controversial private operator of a number of publicly funded homes, "set to slash care for seniors at Coquitlam nursing home."
The release immediately caught the attention of Health Minister George Abbott and the staff in his office.
Vaughn then, in loving detail, shares with us how well served we are by our Health Minister "BobbleHead" Abbott while not missing an opportunity to slag the NDP for being held ransom by the "special interest" public sector unions that have less and less of an effect on public health care each time the government has an opportunity to implement this part of its ideology. I imagine everyone else in the province is as glad as I am that the Corporate donors that fuel the Soup Nazi's war chest have no expectation of any favorable policy decisions in return for their generous support (unlike those "greedy" special interest union thugs).
He (Abbott) sees it as critical to the job of managing the issues in health care, putting out the fires that can otherwise flare up into news stories about a system in crisis.
Translated into English, the above means that managing the "spin" is actually much more important than actually, well, you know, managing the health care system.
"Just this afternoon we learned that another Retirement Concepts home, this one in Coquitlam, is set to cut care," Opposition leader Carole James declared as she pitched the second question of the afternoon.
"I congratulate the leader of the Opposition on being sharp enough to pick up the HEU press release," returned Abbott, who rarely misses an opportunity to counterpunch his critics.
Wow, George, I'm so impressed, what a zinger, you can make fun of the Leader of the Opposition for actually reading a press release. What's so funny? Or do you need to have people to do that for you, read press releases that is? Were you by any chance educated in BC? Or maybe Ms. James erred by reading ANY press release NOT CREATED by the 185+ OIC Informaton Masseuses in Gordon Campbell's employ? I call B.S. on you VP.
It may seem perverse that with a ministry as big and as complicated as health, the minister spends a significant portion of his day getting ready for what might come flying at him inside the legislature or outside in media scrums.
Bulletin: Vaughn Palmer wrote something that makes sense, because yes it IS perverse. But then, with a straight face (I assume), he goes on to say:
But Abbott sees the time spent as indispensable. The health care system touches the lives of more voters every day than most other government programs put together, and not always happily.
"I'd like to spend more time on policy and less on issues management," he told columnist Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail in an interview last year.
"But I have to deal with the world as it is, and when a television station or newspaper has a desperate interest in a story that is emerging in the media cycle, we have to be there to tell our side of the story."
I suppose George should feel relieved that our friend Gary Mason (Gyro Winner-2007) hasn't felt the need to share Sunday Morning in Bed with the Abbotts, yet, unless I've missed something.
Notice this part "our side of the story." I know the "official" line is that the Campbell Bunch are doing wonders at "improving" health care. I'm sure that Mr. BobbleHead has to stay awake late into the night to come up with ways to paint what I see everyday on the ground as "improvement." Closing wards, closing whole hospitals, contracting out services at higher costs for lower quality results, chasing professionals and other staff to other jurisdictions for bearable working conditions and/or wages and treating the elderly who built the province like inconvenient wastes of space (no matter that the space they are wasting might be hundreds of miles from their loved ones) are difficult to spin into GOOD things. To constantly claim to be replacing hospital beds and staff with improved home care while virtually eliminating home care for all except those who can afford private care isn't easy to do without some thought about how to "parse" one's statements.
If perhaps the Health Minister actually spent more time "managing" and/or administrating the ACTUAL delivery of health care to the people of BC, rather than waging a campaign to degrade it to the point where the ideologically attractive (to the BC LIEberals) privatization of health care becomes acceptable to the public through attrition, he wouldn't have to spend so much time "putting out the fires that can otherwise flare up into news stories about a system in crisis." When a government is striving to implement an agenda that is hidden from the public, the public to which it is generally unacceptable, managing the spin becomes more important than managing the government. Besides like all right wing nut worshipers at the feet of the god of free boot capitalism and corporate piracy, government doesn't work anyway. And if you don't believe them, they are more than willing to prove it.
Meanwhile, if you need to listen to somebody named Vaughn, listen to the fellow below or his brother Jimmy. Now they have something to say.