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Monday, September 15, 2008

Did Garth Turner try to pull a fast one on CPAC?

Angry in the Great White North has got Turner by the toe. Maybe.

"Do the folks at CPAC know that Garth Turner dragged their camera crew to the home of the son of his constituency office manager for a visit to a "typical" constituent?" Asks Steve Janke, who blogs at Angry in the Great White North.

Here's the story: CPAC follows candidates around as they visit homes in their constituency. It's supposed to be "real" and "live" and not scripted. That's how it seemed when Turner knocked on a constituents home in his riding and had a friendly chat with the man living there. But a softball question that gave Turner an opportunity to extol the wonderful virtues of the Green Shift plan, and to say that it means more money back for the rest of us, got at least one guy's spider-sense tingling. That guy sent a note to Janke, and Janke began digging.

The result?:

The "random" constituent looks an awful lot like Michael Shaye, who is the son of Esther Shaye, Garth Turner's top assistant. Here are the pictures Janke posted on his blog (on the left is a screen-shot from the CPAC piece, and on the right is a curling picture):



Writes Janke: "Really, does Garth Turner expect to fool anyone with this?  Maybe he has." Read Janke's "expose" here.


I asked Steve Janke if he thinks the Garth Turner story is a big deal or just a bit of interesting news. Here's his response:

"Look, if I script an encounter and show it to the public, it's a commercial. People know it's a commercial and they judge the information content accordingly. There is a bit about the message being authorized by the official agent the brackets the end of the commercial.

But if I show a commercial as part of a newscast, spliced in without identifying where the facts end and the simulation begins, there's a problem. I've changed the manner by which people judge the content, and probably to my advantage.

It's duplicitous. All my post has done is provide the full context that Garth Turner or CPAC refused or neglected to provide. For those few people who can review the segment after reading my piece, the context is now more complete.

Of course, it is unavoidable that having revealed the context in this way will also alter their perception. That's how it goes."

UPDATE2: CPAC seems to think it's a big deal. And it looks like CPAC is confirming that Janke got it right: It was the son of one of Turner's top assistants. Here's the video, via Stephen Taylor (who is really quick with getting videos up on YouTube). Notice how Turner tries to get out of this discussion, and then blunders his way through the discussion:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on September 15, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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It was on CPAC? Why, I bet at least THREE PEOPLE saw it!!! What an outrage!!!

But seriously, if there is a story here (and I doubt there is one), it is that CPAC screwed up, not Turner.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-15 3:34:25 PM

I don't know, Fact Check. If Janke's right about this (and I don't know that he is), then why would Turner go to all this trouble to ensure a pleasant visit with a constituent for CPAC?

And even if it is small fry, why do something like this? It reflects poorly on Turner, if it's true. And it is interesting.

(Also, I don't think CPAC should take any of the blame. They have no reason to dig into the possible links between a candidate and the guy he chats to at the door. I think it's reasonable for them to assume that the candidate is sincere, and that they're getting a genuine "reality TV" moment.)

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-15 3:44:24 PM

"...why would Turner go to all this trouble to ensure a pleasant visit with a constituent for CPAC?"

Because an unpleasant interview would be picked up by his political opponents and they would make sure everyone in his riding would see it.

"And even if it is small fry, why do something like this?"

That's an odd question. If someone asks you to appear on tv, it makes sense to make the appearance look good. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the constituent they visited said anything he didn't believe nor that it would not be possible for a randomly selected constituent to actually be quite pro-Garth.

As I said before, the issue is what CPAC did - or failed to do. Why did they let Garth decide who they would visit? Didn't someone at CPAC ask themselves if he was just picking a person at random or hand picking? Maybe CPAC asked to just follow him around for a few visits and they would then decide what to run and he said no, but if that is what happened then they should have known it would be a feels-good visit they filmed. And if they did not ask that, they didn't even try to make sure the constituent was randomly chosen.

I think it would have been best for them to have asked to follow him on random visits and agree in advance with him that they would only air a visit to a declared undecided voter who had some serious questions (not puff balls or attacks). A single visit can't tell you much about a candidate anyway. I find it hard to believe anyone decided to support Garth becasue he had such a nice chat with that orange-haried young man. This is an "inside baseball" story, nothing more.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-15 4:15:30 PM

The update was originally a separate post. Here's Fact Check's comment on the second post (that got deleted when I deleted the post):



I would have put this as an UPDATE, not a new thread, but that's me.

"But if I show a commercial as part of a newscast..."

This only makes sense as a complaint lodged against a person who has control over the content of a newscast or of presenting it as a newscast. That's CPAC.

"All my post has done is provide the full context that Garth Turner or CPAC refused or neglected to provide."

Well, I agree with that, although I would have said all his has done is provide the full context that CPAC neglected to provide. But it's still not much of a story. Not a two-thread story anyway."

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-15 4:51:33 PM

Nothing ever changes. In the early 80's, when my home town of Brandon was the safest PC seat in the country, the CBC sent a film crew to follow Ed Broadbent on a visit to town. The clip shown on the National showed him mainstreeting and a fellow walking up to him on the street, shaking his hand, and telling him, "You're going to be the next prime minister of Canada!" This attracted a lot of interest from my friends down east who asked me if Brandon was really about to swing NDP. I had to explain that the friendly citizen was the local NDP riding association president. Needless to say, the CBC had left that unsaid.

Posted by: ebt | 2008-09-15 5:26:11 PM


It seams this Steve Wanke guy has far too much time (and possibly something else) on his hands.

He's probably just on some juvenile "crusade" to try to discredit Turner because he's now a Liberal.

Posted by: Anonymous | 2008-09-15 7:39:02 PM

As Dion's GreenShift pointman and communications guru Turner has been conducting his own poll based on his supposed door to door visits.
Turner couldn't afford a spontaneous negative response with a film crew in tow so he staged managed with his campaign managers son being your typical Halton resident.
What's interseting is the lukewarm defense Garth is now giving to GreenShift.
"That's the plan anyways?"
Garth knows the Liberals days are numbered ,Dion will no longer be able to protect him after he's tossed as leader and positioning for Turner's future has started in earnest.
I believe that he's hoping to get re-elected by claiming he's the people's princess then play some footsie with May until he crosses to the Greens blaming everyone but himself and becomes the only MP in Canadian history to sit for 3 parties.She'll make him Finance critic and he'll finally begin to feel his destiny has begun to be fulfilled.
Is this deception by a political minor leaguer important?
I'd say Yes,it shows that the knives have been unsheathed for Dion from within.
And his commincations guru is the first one jabbing.

Posted by: Bocanut | 2008-09-15 8:42:38 PM

Hey,it made the cbc,so this is big news!

Posted by: Sammy | 2008-09-15 9:09:33 PM

OUCH!!! That's going to leave a mark... Expect Garth to be blogging as a private citizen come mid October...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2008-09-15 9:42:10 PM

Anonymous: If that is Janke's goal, then he's succeeding, don't you think?

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-15 9:43:43 PM

Sammy and Richard: It is making news, and Garth is in a bit of trouble over this. Will it cause trouble in his riding? I guess that depends on whether or not his constituents saw that CBC story (or the CPAC story), or get wind of it somehow.

Thanks for your comments.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-15 9:45:56 PM

I hope the people in Garth Turner's riding vote him out of office for this absolute ridiculousness. It just shows how sleazy and manipulative politics has become. I hope there's one less scumbag in Parliament come October.

Posted by: Fred | 2008-09-16 12:38:26 AM


"UPDATE2: CPAC seems to think it's a big deal."

LOL!!! Yes, they do. Could that be because they were made to look like fools because they never bothered to ask just whose address the campaign had come up with? The clip from CPAC is priceless. Their "news" guy is all pissy because he didn't do his job and is desperate to balme Garth. The "you didn't tell us" complaint is silly. As a news organization it was their job to ask, and no, not the guy on the doorstep, but the campaign people who provided the address to visit. What the hell is wrong with them that they did not even bother to ask "how did they come up with this address for us to visit"? Especially after the visit seemed so nice-nice?

I am reminded of a couple of years ago when CNN was covering the Sago Mine explosion in West Virginia. Anderson Cooper heard a rumour that the miners were all found alive and being brought out, so he reported it on air. It turned out to be a misunderstanding of someone who overheard other people talking and got reported as fact. To cover up for his obvious gaff in reporting unconfirmed rumours and getting peoples hopes up without the facts, Cooper then went on the attack trying to blame West Virginia officials for it. He looked like a silly schoolboy trying to blame anyone he could for not doing his homework. The CPAC guy looks exactly the same here.

CPAC fucked up. They want to shift blame and so the obvious place to put it is on Garth. Will it work? Will voters buy it and not vote for Garth as a result? I dunno. But if CPAC had some real journalistic integrity they would not be blaming Garth for their ineptitude and not have allowed his campaign to hand pick the home they visit in the first place.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-16 9:40:20 AM

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