New war in BC: Premier Clark vs. Journalists

Premier Clark started war with CKNW980

BC Premier Christy Clark started new war on BC political and public scene with “jokes” about her former colleagues journalists, those with whom she shared air waves and work space. Speaking at the annual “Beans n’ jeans” event organized by Surrey-Cloverdale MLA and Finance Minister, Kevin Falcon, Premier Clark said to fellow BC Liberals “you probably don’t listen anymore CKNW”, using same words while she mentioned columnist Vaughn Palmer. These comments are coming after months of severe pressure by media on Premier and her party over numerous scandals, bad polling results and questionable decisions made over the last few months. Also this is not the first time that journalists are attacked by highest political office in the province, first attack came just few months ago by Premier’s Director of Communications Sara MacIntyre. But this time Premier didn’t went against journalists in general she openly mocked those who were her family and closest allies over the years when she retired from politics and chose radio as her new profession.

She went against those who worked with her every day in the afternoon when she welcomed listeners to her talk-show over on CKNW980. What’s not surprising is that we didn’t need to wait too long to hear reply from those who worked once with her, and that reply come from one of the most sincere and honest in CKNW team Gord Macdonald.

What Macdonald did is exactly what I was expecting that it will happen. It is well known that journalists are close tight family who will always stand behind one of us, we will always do our best to protect and defend those who even for a one day shared work place, profession and duty to inform public. Journalists are often known as the most loyal profession, people with strongest bonds with their fellow colleague, technicians and those who follow our work through administration, those who listen, read or watch products of our sometimes enormously hard work. Loyalty is something what comes on the first place on the list of our priorities when it comes to the relations to those who’re closest to us in professional way. But what happens if you betray your family, mock your friends and colleagues? You will find yourself on the target range and if I may say you’ll end up on the pillar of shame, you would lose that collegial protection and you would never ever be welcomed into the family. Doesn’t matter who you are today or what you will be in the future you’ll always be the enemy and your every move will be followed with exceptional attention, you might get some positive comments if you do something good, but also your every next negative move will be harshly judged and often opposed or criticized.

Premier Clark as talk-show host on CKNW980 (Photo: CityCaucus / Flickr)

Lot of people asked themselves why Premier Clark would do something like this and why she would even if she was joking mentioned her former radio station in this manner. Well answer is probably hidden in the fact that CKNW980 recently had a lead on the critics side with full range of journalists dissecting moves of the government, reminding listeners on the past and present scandals and discussing negative polls. Smyth, Sara, McComb, Till, Leslie, Bennett and Macdonald are just few of those who stepped up and did what their duty is, they informed public about important informations, enlist their fears and concerns about current state of political situation in the province and express their outrage with scandals or negativities.

In his reply to Premier Clark, Gord Macdonald, mentioned that significant element of loyalty saying the following:

So much for loyalty to you, the CKNW listener.  I guess you, like me, were an idiot for thinking Christy Clark might be a breath of fresh air in Victoria.  I guess you, like me, were an idiot for thinking Christy Clark was bright as a politician.  I guess you, like me, were an idiot for thinking that Christy Clark could get more out of her Cabinet, get more out of her Liberal MLA’s, than Gordon Campbell.  I guess you, like me, were an idiot for thinking she could make our provincial government work better than it did under Gordo and his arrogance in springing the HST on us, and trying to talk his way out of it.

I include you in this listener because right now you are listening to CKNW.  By the way, I would like to thank you for listening, because it allows me to feed my family.  Just like your listening allowed Christy Clark to feed her son when she was a host here.

What we can read for this first part of his comment is simple declaration of astonishment with Premier’s work, “jokes” and behaviour since she left CKNW980 on that still remarkable Friday afternoon, when she addressed listeners as “her family”. On that day while she was getting ready to “think” about her possible bid for leader/premiership lot of people including myself had same idea that she’ll bring something new and something positive to Victoria, but as Gord said we were idiots.

And let’s just go back to that significant element of loyalty and read what Macdonald said about it:

Loyalty.  Funny word, that.   Damned hard to earn, but easy to say, and it appears easy to piss away.  Loyalty.  Now it seems to me that if I she really respected you, the CKNW listener, she would come on air and take on the likes of Smitty or McComb when they criticize.  She would make her  argument and let you, the listener, decide.  But no, not Christy.   Yet again, Christy Clark showed on Saturday she’s willing to say anything to anybody to get their vote.    But speaking as one who clearly misjudged her talents as a politician, a word of warning.   When times get tough, some people stay true to their word.  Others, like Christy, don’t.

Journalists turned politicians never learn one thing when they leave studios and newsrooms, when they stop to be those who are informing public and having that unique right to kick somebodies back everyday over and over pointing mistakes and scandals, their back is becoming the target. In this case Premier Clark never learned that she can’t play games with her former colleagues and “joke” with because she’s not anymore one of them and she must to be ready to be criticized and judged by the public.

If she really wants to improve her party situation she should deliver all of her campaign and promises given since she become premier of BC, she should prevent any other scandals, start inquiries about old ones, and deliver answers about all unanswered questions regarding her role in some old cases as for example BC Rail is. She should also direct her anger towards those in her caucus, party and closest team who didn’t implement tasks given to them by the Cabinet and Assembly, and who betray voters and their confidence. Also instead of “joking” with journalists, her former colleagues, she should direct her energy to defeat strongest and only important enemy and that is BC NDP and Adrian Dix. Any extension of fight with media, especially with media like CKNW, The Vancouver Sun or any other major media would only help BC NDP and Adrian Dix to do what they already do – shifting BC voters sharply to the left and delivering power to BC NDP.

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