Will PM re­think ap­proach to media?

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

The im­age of Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton’s un­der­lings ex­tend­ing a long rope through a 4th of July pa­rade to keep re­porters away had the U.S. press corps and con­ser­va­tive pun­dits squawk­ing. But have they heard the one about the vel­vet rope on the tun­dra?

Last Au­gust, the small band of Cana­dian jour­nal­ists trav­el­ling with Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper on his an­nual Arc­tic tour had the sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence of stand­ing be­hind bank-style stan­chions in Baf­fin Is­land’s re­mote York Sound.

Nine years af­ter the Con­ser­va­tives took power, not much has changed in Harper’s gen­eral ap­proach to man­ag­ing the media — be the party in mi­nor­ity or ma­jor­ity sta­tus.

But will the think­ing shift in an elec­tion that is per­ceived to be much closer, a pre-cam­paign that is stretch­ing out for months?

Yaroslav Baran, a for­mer Con­ser­va­tive cam­paign com­mu­ni­ca­tions aide, said the modus operandi all de­pends on the par­tic­u­lar alchemy of a cam­paign.

An un­der­dog might seek out media at­ten­tion as much as pos­si­ble to gain more vis­i­bil­ity. Fron­trun­ners will tra­di­tion­ally do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to limit the po­ten­tial for mis­takes, to pro­tect their lead.

Baran says the trick is avoid­ing the ex­tremes.

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