Bob Rae: lesson on squishing your enemies

Bob Rae has spent the year or so (at least) "studying" the problems of post-secondary education in Ontario. The usual problems: poor funding, rising tuition fees, pathetic student supports. His solution is higher tuition fees. How do I know this? His report was "leaked" to the Globe and Mail for its Saturday edition. Bob has learned how to spin, it seems.

Bob Rae has spent the year or so (at least) “studying” the problems of post-secondary education in Ontario. The usual problems: poor funding, rising tuition fees, pathetic student supports. His solution is higher tuition fees. How do I know this? His report was “leaked” to the Globe and Mail for its Saturday edition. Bob has learned how to spin, it seems.

Recipie for spinning something narsty:

  1. Tell the world you’re going to announce monday
  2. Have an aide ‘leak’ the story (or the executive summary or whatever information you want out) to a sympathetic reporter. The higher up the media food chain the better
  3. Do it on Friday in the late afternoon or evening
  4. All the people who would rubbish your report would have gone home and, even if the reporter cared to hear what they had to say, they wouldn’t be able to get a hold of them. And even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to say much since they wouldn’t have seen the report yet.
  5. The media will have all weekend to get their junior reporters (relegated to evenings and weekends) to do write-throughs on the ‘leaked’ story
  6. By Monday, the official release will just be the cocktail party for your ideas, which will have been all over the media since Friday.
  7. Opponents will have a hard time getting their views aired since the report is already “old news”.

The sympathetic, or at least intellectually lazy or indifferent reporter is an important consideration. Otherwise, you won’t get gems like: [Rae’s report] will suggest that universities and colleges be allowed to deregulate tuition fees but within strict limits, to ensure the system remains accessible to students from all income backgrounds.

Deregulate within strict limits? That this could appear in the Globe and Mail without even a hint of irony (to say nothing of a counter argument) is depressing.

Good job Bob. Send your CV to Stephen Harper. He could use a good spin doctor these days and would love to have you in his corner.