During Jody Wilson-Raybould’s bombshell testimony yesterday in which she all but crucified the Prime Minister for his alleged role in political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case, the former Justice Minister implied that the prime minister’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, said that she would have positive “op-eds” written about Wilson-Raybould if she would make the right decision.
Has there ever been a more clear-cut argument presented that there is, in fact, state-run propaganda than this scenario here?
The absolute bravado of Mrs. Telford to confidently tell Mrs. Wilson-Raybould's Chief of Staff that it is within their powers to influence the public with op-eds is both frightening and revolting.
According to the transcript, Telford said that “If Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write op-eds saying that what she’s doing is proper.”
Just who are these people that Mrs. Telford claims she could "line up" to change the public perception? Well, the obvious suspect in the matter would be the CBC, the taxpayer funded news broadcaster that has presented news to Canadians since its inception in 1936.
That's not all conjecture, either. In 1978, then-journalist and now-MP Peter Kent agreed to step down as anchorman of The National after he submitted an intervention to the CRTC recommending that the Corporation's license not be renewed until management created procedures and protocols to prevent political interference in the CBC's editorial decision-making.
Essentially, stepping away from his job until CBC could guarantee less meddling in their editorial process.
There are several different kinds of propaganda, all of which can be found on a variety of platforms, but for the sake of simplicity, they are all collected nicely on Wikipedia. What kind is this? Surely it's one of the most blatant, and thus the most unacceptable.
Immediately noticeable near the top of the list is agenda-setting. Agenda-setting theory is described as the ability of news media to influence the importance placed on topics of the published agenda.
According to studies conducted by the gentlemen who first coined this term back in the late 60's to early 70's, the media has a vital role in deciding what the public finds important. The media can choose to expose certain topics, and can work those topics to correlate with their view on things such as politics, economy and culture.
In McCombs and Shaw's 1968 "Chapel Hill study," there was a a demonstrable and strong correlation between what 100 residents of Chapel Hill, North Carolina thought were the most important election issues and what the local news media and national news media reported were the most important issues.
In this hypothetical case, we would have had an attorney general making a decision that may have initially been seen as wrong and even illegal by the public, and then with the help of taxpayer funded news sources, an attempt to sway the public to agree with the decision made by Wilson-Raybould.
Essentially, it would have been a deliberate attempt to sway the public perception in favor of the Trudeau government's decision to break the law.
The absolute state of media.
In that same conversation with Mrs. Wilson-Raybould, Gerald Butts, the PM's then Principal Secretary, was quoted as allegedly saying: “Jess [Wilson-Raybould’s Chief of Staff], there is no solution here that does not involve some interference.”
Does this not all ring a bit similar to the infamy that surrounds Operation Mockingbird?
For those unaware, Operation Mockingbird was an alleged large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early 1950s and attempted to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes.
What Operation Mockingbird set out to do was to influence the news reel in favor of controversial policies that the Truman and later Eisenhower governments may have been trying to implement.
Operation Mockingbird recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network. Based on the alleged statements made by Katie Telford, is this not dissimilar?
So based on this knowledge, we can walk away confidently with two core assumptions, as outlined by McCombs and Shaw.
- The press and the media do not reflect reality; they filter and shape it; and
- media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues.
Writing numerous op-eds to change the public opinion falls under both of those. We can only speculate as to what the op-eds could have said. We don't know the angle, the spin, or the verbiage that would have been used to attempt to convince the public.
Now, the Trudeau government is in damage control. The Prime Minister is surely being briefed by political strategists on how he can attempt to stop the bleeding that is taking place and that is destroying his reputation to those who are paying attention to the ongoing scandal.
One potential angle that the Prime Minister could take in the fall out of this fiasco is that he was trying to protect the jobs of hard working people in his native province of Quebec. He represented Quebec as the MP for Papineau after all, and has not been shy to voice his opinions on how Canada "belongs to Quebecers."
The Prime Minister could still also be the chief beneficiary of the CBC.
There will undoubtedly be articles that scrutinize the PM for the ongoing scandal, especially after Wilson-Raybould's testimony yesterday. But be wary.
It's not unimaginable that the CBC could still potentially function as a tool for the federal government used to alleviate perceived guilt from Trudeau, perhaps taking the PM's side in his stance to protect jobs, and painting an image that the SNC-Lavalin scandal is nothing but a bit of a kerfuffle, and that the entire scenario is being "overblown" or "disproportionately covered."
"Big Lie" propaganda
Another sort of propaganda that you may encounter within the muck and mire of the SNC-Lavalin is directly from the PM himself, and this one is not anything new to politics.
The "Big Lie" is a propaganda technique that had its name coined in German, as the "große Lüge". The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously".
Early on in Trudeau's handling of the SNC-Lavalin, Trudeau repeatedly claimed that the allegations surrounding him were false. Flatly and boldly, Trudeau said that no one had approached Mrs. Wilson Raybould, and that he had no further statements.
Cult of Personality
And lastly, Trudeau is a classic cult of personality, one of the most sinister types of propaganda.
According to Wikipedia, "a cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. The hero personality then advocates the positions that the propagandist desires to promote. For example, modern propagandists hire popular personalities to promote their ideas and/or products."
Ding ding ding! We have a dead ringer, an absolute winner.
Just a few days ago, while Trudeau was smack-dab in the middle of the worse scandal to hit his government, our PM decided to appear on TSN's coverage of the NHL Trade Deadline, and gave a couple of his opinions on the state of the NHL.
Trudeau's constant pandering to the media has given many Canadians the perception that he's a great representative on the world stage, and a great ambassador for Canada, when that is absolutely not the case.
Whether it's being referred to as a "little potato" during his trip to China, a country that Trudeau stated publicly he admires for their "basic dictatorship," or absolutely embarrassing everyone in a week long cringe-fest that was his visit to India, Trudeau has proven time and time again that he's a child in a man's job, unable to boldly navigate Canada in the right direction, and desperately attempting to pull the wool over every Canadian's eyes.
Is there any solution to this problem? Probably not.
CPC leader Andrew Scheer once mentioned that he would axe the CBC news division, but it hasn't really been brought up since, and doesn't appear to be a part of his platform.
We as Canadians need to remain vigilant, stay attentive, and be very careful about who we trust to tell us what's right from what's wrong.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.