On a bleak Monday in late November, 2005, the leaders of Canada’s opposition parties, each hoping to profit from an election they knew to be untimely and wasteful, effected the fall of the country’s minority Liberal government.
The news brought a sense of triumph and renewed hope to the ruling classes in the neighbouring United States, as well.
Having quite recently tried (but having failed) to overthrow an over-sexed president who was mildly un-cooperative with their invisible Money Party, the leaders of corporate media in America rejoiced to see that a coup could succeed in a country quite a lot like their own. Knowing that the real will to overthrow the government came not from the Canadian people, but from Canada’s media, they sent for the country’s most powerful press baron and asked him to offer a back-room, mano a mano session in Washington. The Americans billed it as “Canada’s Media Coup d’État: How We Did It.”
Canadian Dimension, disguised as a cigarette girl, managed to infiltrate that meeting. We are reporting the events without attaching names, because 1) we know you don’t need a program to recognize the players, and 2) media lords, whether right or wrong, automatically sue their critics, and we don’t have any money.
The media mogul gave his corporate confrères “12 Tips on Getting Rid of an Undesirable Government and Replacing It with Your Own”:
Remember that your goal is to replace true political debate with elections, which give the voters the illusion they are actually involved in the running of the country.
Make sure you are the loudest voice – preferably the only voice – in the land, and strive to convince the public that your interests and national interests are one and the same.
If your real interests are unpopular – say, deep integration with a much richer country, or selling a public-health system to private foreign buyers – temporarily disappear those objectives.
Be sure to fund big-name think tanks, as well as your
Party of Choice. Refer to the think tanks often, thus creating an image of intellectual consensus in your favour.
If your Party of Choice is the creation of powerful persons who have fallen from grace – who are under arrest for allegations of fraud, for example – never mention such persons in connection with politics.
If your Party of Choice has intimate connections with the historically unpopular president of another country, don’t mention him either.
If prominent people in your Party of Choice have publicly and blatantly broken solemn promises, continue to present them as ethical people who can be trusted.
Tell your readers, viewers, listeners and what-have-you what they want – repeatedly. Then poll them, and present their opinions as evidence of public support for your agenda.
Select a scandal of mundane proportions, confuse and exaggerate the facts, overplay an inflated inquiry, and demand a change of governing party, rather than a solution.
Repeat Number 9, Number 9, Number 9 – just like the Beatles.
Cover the ensuing campaign like the usual circus: focus on nomination races, rogue personalities, pretty faces, gaffes, promises and photo-ops. Avoid historical context at all costs.
Trivialize new parties, especially those gaining momentum, and exclude them from political debate lest they introduce new expectations.
The media baron concluded his presentation by reminding his friends that the prefix “anti” is the most useful word in the English language, suitable to discredit dissenters of almost any persuasion. He urged them to relax and enjoy the many phoney elections to come, because, after all, who would notice and report their deeply counter-democratic manipulations? The cigarette girl, maybe?
This article appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Canadian Dimension (Politics and Religion).