The Emperor's New Snack
The video is pretty clear.
If that was the whole story, I could just acknowledge that our Prime Minister is a) ignorant of the basic rituals of the most common religion in the country he is Prime Minister of and b) does the wrong thing under pressure, and move on. These aren't great qualities in a leader, but whatever. Harper had inexplicably gone up for Communion with something in one hand so it would have been easy enough to clarify that he had to sit down and put down what he was carrying and then consume the host properly. Or that he was unfamiliar with the Catholic ritual since he's not Catholic. Or that he was trying to shake hands with the Priest, not receive communion or whatever the true story is.
But instead, we were treated to the strange spectacle of all the news outlets running stories like this one at CTV where we hear that,
"After the video clip was released, a spokesperson for the PMO said Harper was offered the wafer by a Catholic priest at the funeral, that he accepted it and then consumed it."
...and comments by Harper that,
"I think somebody running a story -- and I don't know where the responsibility lies -- somebody running an unsubstantiated story that I would stick communion bread in my pocket is really absurd, and I think it's a real, frankly, a low point, a low moment in journalism whoever is responsible for this,"
The whole thing was ridiculous. We can see the video. Whose credibility does it benefit for the PM and his office to just lie to our faces as if we were either blind or complete idiots and for the media to just report it as if the video evidence wasn't clear?
Still, I let it slide until I saw this story that people actually lost their jobs for daring to point out the obvious, video supported, but embarassing truth about our PM.
The CBC article says that, "The publisher and editor of the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal are no longer with the paper after it was forced to apologize to Stephen Harper and two of its own reporters over a story about whether the prime minister took communion at the state funeral of former governor general Roméo LeBlanc."
Forced by who?
One of the reasons I generally prefer reading blogs to the corporate media when possible is that when the media is so under control that people lose their job for saying inconvenient things about the PM - even when their comments are supported by video evidence - it's pretty obvious that you can't trust what you're reading (and more to the point, what you're not reading) too much. Yeah, bloggers can be biased and unreliable but they're not (as far as I know) censored so it lets me read the opinions of people who can actually say what they think without fear and then judge for myself.
It looks like Orwell might have been an optimist thinking that in order for the lie to become truth, you actually needed to first modify or destroy the video evidence showing the 'truth' to be a lie.
As an aside, thinking about this story, I couldn't help but recall the incident where the National Post falsely reported that Iran was forcing religious minorities to wear coloured badges identifying their religious status.
At the time Harper did not comment on this as a low point in journalism, instead noting that, "Unfortunately we’ve seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action."
I don't recall ever hearing about anyone losing their job over that one (and the apology was run on page 2, not the front page like it was in this case), but of course fabricating a story that likens a country that is a possible military target to Nazi Germany pales in significance compared to commenting on the clear video evidence that the PM walked away with a little JC in his hand/pocket. Why do I suspect that the modern version of the Emperor's New Clothes ends with a slander suit against the child...