Today, the media is full of reports criticizing Gordon Campbell's management style. Ex-Mining Minister Bill Bennett spoke bluntly and directly, stating his belief that Campbell has driven good people away, running an undemocratic government like an abusive husband, saying, "Its my way or the highway." Campbell defenders, Global TV News, led their News Hour with Colin Hansen's inaccurate account of how Bennett had resigned at request of Cabinet and Global termed Bennett's remarks "outrageous." Keith Baldrey wrongly reported that Campbell had "refuted" Bennett's charges. The first was an inappropriate editorialization, the second was simply incorrect because Campbell proved nothing.
Rather than a collegial style with the Premier being first among relative equals, Campbell practiced absolutism, with his own tight entourage exercising all real authority. Everyone below, whether a civil servant, an appointee or an elected legislator was expected to fall into line with central policy, without question or reservation.
Campbell shows contempt for democracy by the belief that he is entitled to dominate the elected members of his party. In turn, it shows the weakness of people recruited to stand for election as BC Liberals. The last person wanted by the party was a thoughtful, articulate individual with a mind of her own, or his own.
The professional pundits similarly show contempt for their own profession because little of this style has been reported. Whether it was Campbell's former habit of carousing, his mixing of business and personal life, his temper tantrums, intolerance, favoritism and abuse of power, the writers and broadcasters that cover the Premier regularly ruled those subjects outside the limits of comment.
Not only did the mainstream pundits and political correspondents refuse to talk about Campbell's abusive techniques but they pressed others to keep quiet as well. Junior reporters were told, "Don't go there." Bloggers were criticized for not following rules of reporting the pros thought appropriate.
When Good, Baldry and Palmer spent their weekly hour talking about politics, asking what public services the NDP would cut in the absence of HST, they never discussed lowly Liberal backbenchers being intimidated and forced to toe the leader's policy with no variance allowed. In other words, required to put loyalty to leader ahead of loyalty to voters.
The frequency and intensity of blogger criticism by professional journalists and broadcasters mounted recently. Much of that was to cover their own guilt for incomplete reporting that has held the Campbell Government above substantive criticism. Citizens are owed explanations by mainstream media of why they waited until 2010 to report matters known to many for years.
There is a reason that readership of this site has doubled in the past month. Similar online commentaries also experienced strong growth. More and more people are searching for the rest of the story.
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