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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:25 am    Post subject: Doug Ford campaign to not have a media bus Reply with quote

( in a surprise move Doug Ford will not have a media bus following his campaign around , although there still being invited to his events and a live stream will be provided online )

Doug Ford scrapping media bus for campaign suggests Tories want him out of the hot seat: experts

Ford’s campaign events will be broadcast online and his itinerary will be released for media interested in covering them in person.

Doug Ford’s team said Wednesday the former Toronto city councillor will not have a media bus following him as he criss-crosses the province ahead of the June election.

By Paola LoriggioThe Canadian Press

Thu., April 5, 2018

Ontario’s newly minted Progressive Conservative leader will not bring journalists with him on the campaign trail this spring, a rare move experts say suggests the Tories are keen to keep the unpredictable populist politician out of the hot seat as he takes on two more seasoned rivals.

Doug Ford’s team said Wednesday the former Toronto city councillor will not have a media bus following him as he criss-crosses the province ahead of the June election, an accommodation traditionally offered by Ontario’s party leaders to facilitate coverage while they hold multiple daily events in different cities.

Spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman said Ford’s campaign events will be broadcast online and his itinerary will be released for media interested in covering them in person.

“Most media outlets have shifted to covering events from their office and relying on live feeds. It is in our interest to have as much media coverage as possible and will do everything we can to ensure our events are streamed online to assist in that,” she said in an email.

Experts say the decision suggests a campaign strategy that centres on limiting questions and preventing Ford — a brash politician whose candid remarks often make headlines — from publicly going off-script.

And while this approach may prove effective politically, it’s concerning for democracy, they say.

“He is attempting to bypass the accountability function of the free press by limiting access to his campaign. This will not prevent coverage, but it alters the degree of access and creates a different, more opaque degree of transparency in the campaign,” said Tim Abray, a former journalist and current teaching fellow in political science at Queen’s University.

“This should not be blown off as insignificant,” he said.

Political parties have already done away with media buses in some Western provinces, but that has not been the case in Ontario, where leaders have deployed them — as well as chartered flights to more remote communities — in all recent elections.

News outlets pay thousands of dollars to the parties in order to reserve a seat on their buses and cover the costs of meals and other expenses.

It’s not new for politicians to try to control the narrative around their campaign by restricting media access in various ways, said Tamara Small, a political science professor at the University of Guelph.

The federal Conservatives did so under Stephen Harper by imposing a cap of five questions at news conferences, a rule that prompted a public pushback from journalists at the time, she said.

More recently, the federal Liberals have successfully peppered newspapers across the country with photos taken by the prime minister’s own photographer — a move the Ford camp may try to replicate if fewer news organizations send staff photographers, she said.

“The narrative is that you’re not going to get that photo that’s unattractive,” Small said. “You’re going to get the photo where the lighting is perfect and the right people are in the background and all of that kind of stuff and it tells the story that they want to tell.”

While Ford, nonetheless, needs media attention to grow his profile and attract new votes, he can get it in a much more controlled setting by doing one-on-one interviews with local media or forcing journalists to quote his tweets as U.S. President Donald Trump has done, she said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re trying to make sure that the plan is as clear as possible now so that they can operate as strategically as possible,” she said.

“One of the things that makes Doug Ford very attractive to people is his ability to sort of speak off the cuff and all that kind of stuff but that is also the stuff...that could become problematic,” she said.

The Tories may also be trying to shift the focus from their leader onto other issues such as their policies, as the federal Liberals did in the 1980s in the campaign for a then-unpopular Pierre Elliott Trudeau, said Jonathan Rose, a political science professor at Queen’s University.

“It’ll be interesting to see if Doug Ford maintains that script and doesn’t do as many photo ops as the other leaders,” he said. “The reason why you do that, of course, is to focus on the policy and avoid any kind of problems with Ford going off-script.”

Ford’s campaign would not say whether he will be holding daily events during the campaign, nor would it confirm whether he will deliver a fully costed platform before the election as promised.

“We have a plan for the people of Ontario and we will be rolling it out piece by piece over the coming weeks. Stay tuned,” Lantsman said.

In any case, Ford’s decision to scrap the media bus is a “shot across the bow to the media,” but the issue is unlikely to ruffle voters, said Rose.

“Voters don’t care about that and in fact it might play well to Doug Ford’s base that he is not playing nice with the media,” he said. “The U.S. wave of populism that has sort of washed over Ontario since his election may be evidence of that.”


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( some are questioning how much coverage the media really provided of past pc campaigns when on these buses , looking back to 2014 I doubt Hudak got that much coverage . once it was clear he was going to lose because of his unpopularity and job cuts pledge they didn't care much to cover him , does anyone remember any of his other campaign promises that year ? likely no )

Laryssa Waler‏ @LWaler · 57m57 minutes ago

Laryssa Waler Retweeted TorontoStar

Ridiculous headline. I did the last two @OntarioPCParty media buses. Most days we had 2-4 outlets sometimes 1, sometimes none, with many desks asking if they could stream events. Buses limit journos ability to cover the election the way that makes sense for their outlet #onpoli

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one also has to wonder how much coverage is the media really providing of the Ford campaign as things stand now ?

I watched CHCH this morning briefly and was barely any mention of Doug Ford even though he held 2 well attended rally type events in its viewing area this week ( Hamilton and St Catharines )

so is the media really that interested in covering the Doug Ford campaign ? if there currently not even showing up or showing the events on there newscast

visits by trudeau and wynne to this same area have generated significantly move coverage on CHCH

my local ctv channel also tried to do a smear job on Christine Elliott this week as well , trying to claim she was unwanted in Newmarket aurora and that people were actually angry she was running there ( even though the others seeking the pc nom , voluntary decided not to run and others like Lois Brown the former cpc mp have welcomed the move )

they interviewed 2 local people who claimed to be against her but not anyone with opposite opinions , clearly not balanced journalism

( Some in the riding say they’re not buying it.

“Those of us who know better will not be supporting Christine Elliott, I'm sorry,” says Lisa Heckbert.

“Welcomed with open arms to participate in the process. It's opportunistic is exactly what it is. Stinks of corruption,” says Chris Benson.

Newmarket-Aurora’s current Liberal MPP Chris Ballard believes people will vote based on what candidates are doing for the riding. )


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( its also been revealed the pc's have been considering this move for some time , not just since ford was elected leader )

Alan Carter‏Verified account @ACarterglobal · 25m25 minutes ago

For perspective: Last fall @brownbarrie Chief of Staff @avelshi canvassed media outlets about not providing bus to follow Brown during campaign. The PCs considered this move long before election of @fordnation as leader. #onpoli

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( one of the pc spokespeople is reminding the media , there still welcome at any ford event during the campaign if they choose to come )

Melissa Lantsman‏ @MelissaLantsman · 29m29 minutes ago

All media are welcome at every event with @fordnation . This only means less access if media choose not to come and cover campaign events. #onpoli

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a good strategy. This election is his to lose. If he does nothing, people will vote against the Premier and he will win by default.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( looks like the media was able to find the well attended Doug Ford event in Peterborough )

April 6, 2018 11:58 pm Updated: April 7, 2018 12:01 am

Doug Ford makes pre-election campaign stop in Peterborough

By Steve Guthrie
Videographer Global News

The crowd at the Kinsmen Centre on Friday evening was largely made up of seniors with a leavening of younger voters.

Introduced by Peterborough Kawartha Conservative candidate Dave Smith, Ontario PC Party Leader Doug Ford appeared to have been well briefed on the concerns of local residents starting with health care.

“We are going to take care of dental care for seniors, that is an absolutely critical issue. But do you know what’s right beside health care to seniors, I hear it over and over again, is when I talk to the seniors, one of the No. 1 issues is make sure my kids are taken care of, they have a job, make sure my grandchildren have a good education” said Ford.

Ford also touched on the issue of soaring hydro rates. He said people are telling him their electricity bills are so high, they have to choose between keeping the lights on or putting food on the table.

“It’s a very simple saying, I always say, it’s about choosing between heating and eating. We’re here in Ontario, no one should be choosing between heating and eating,” said Ford.

Later Friday evening, Ford met with Trent University students at a local restaurant before leaving for Lindsay where he will hold a breakfast meeting on Saturday morning.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( this poor Toronto star reporter just can't get over the fact Ford isn't having a media bus , maybe he should follow ford around the province in his own car instead )

Without reporters to bear witness, how can voters really judge Doug Ford?

That’s one of the reason why reporters piggyback on party leaders during a campaign, not just to grab the gotcha moment, but to provide context and consistency, Martin Regg Cohn writes.

PC Leader Doug Ford with Etobicoke Centre PC candidate Kinga Surma at the opening of her campaign office for the June 7 provincial election on April 7, 2018. Ford’s campaign staff often cut off his news conferences after four or five questions, deploying damage control measures when he loses his way, Martin Regg Cohn writes.

By Martin Regg CohnOntario Politics Columnist

Mon., April 9, 2018

Campaigns matter. They test the major party leaders under stress and duress, forcing them to face voters, supporters and reporters.

A leader’s tour requires dexterity and clarity — and scrutiny. Leaders tour the province day after day to deliver their message — not always on message — and a leader who fails to measure up does not deserve to be premier.

Voters are judges, but how to exercise judgment if you cannot bear witness by attending any campaign events, let alone all of them? That’s why reporters shadow the leaders — to bear witness, hold them to account, question their claims, and report the news.

Against that backdrop, last week’s news that Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has cancelled his party’s chartered media bus for the campaign is as revealing as it is concealing.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a politician falters on the stump and no journalist is around to record it, does it make the news?

That’s one of the reasons why reporters pay their way to join media charters that piggyback on party leaders during a campaign. It’s not just to grab the gotcha moment, but to provide context and consistency.

In Ford’s case, limiting access to journalists is part of an emerging pattern since becoming leader. His staff typically cut off his news conferences after four or five questions, deploying damage control measures when he loses his way.

Ford owes the media nothing, and reporters will doubtless find their own way, hopscotching across the province to keep up. But his attempt to dial down access speaks volumes.

By contrast, it speaks well of Ford’s predecessor as PC leader, Patrick Brown, that he approved carefully laid plans for a media charter similar to what the Liberals and New Democrats are organizing. Instead of a convoy of buses, the NDP’s Andrea Horwath is making the most of a shrunken press corps by sharing one bus, giving reporters even more access.

So what is Ford’s play here? He doesn’t play well with others, especially journalists.

Consider Ford’s past outbursts against three female journalists, calling one a “lazy ass” (while pregnant), another a “little bitch,” and accusing a third of a “jihadist attack.” Is proximity to the press a provocation?

Or consider Ford’s penchant for wandering onto unfamiliar territory, even on home turf. At a weekend meeting with Somali-Canadians in Toronto, he praised a police anti-gang initiative that gained notoriety for the discredited tactic of “carding” visible minorities (triggering a minor uproar at the meeting, video of which has gone vaguely viral).

Explaining why he’d be the only major party leader to skip a Black community debate on Wednesday, he pleaded a busy travel schedule — and then got carried away boasting, shamelessly, about his unrivalled bona fides: “There’s no other politician in this country — no other politician outside of Rob Ford — who has supported the Black community more than I have.”

Doubtless he’d rather not be seen by reporters handing out $20 bills to adult tenants at a Toronto Community Housing Building, as he did while a municipal councillor (he hung up on a Toronto Star reporter who asked about it in 2013).

Or Ford might have to explain why he kept quiet about new allegations that Tory MPP Michael Harris was sexting a Queen’s Park intern seeking employment. Despite boasts of “zero tolerance” and immediate action, Ford still hasn’t explained why he waited nearly three days — and allowed Harris to claim health reasons for not running again — before expelling him from the PC caucus hours after the Star’s Robert Benzie made inquiries Monday morning.

Doubtless he’d rather not be asked again about a 2013 Globe and Mail story alleging he was a drug dealer selling hashish up until about age 22 in his Etobicoke neighbourhood. Ford denied the accusations and later threatened to sue (the Globe says he never did).

It’s a safe bet that PC campaign headquarters is worried voters might rehash the hash question in the coming election campaign, given that it came up in the recent leadership campaign. Just ask Ford spokesperson Melissa Lantsman, who was supporting rival candidate Caroline Mulroney when he launched his bid for the top job in his mother’s basement:

“Is this the same basement where Doug Ford sold hash out of?” Lantsman tweeted last January.

Was she questioning a questionable past? Lantsman now tells me it was a “tongue in cheek tweet during the height of a leadership race,” when she wasn’t yet supporting her current boss. “Leaderships are tough races, and once they are over we always come together ... I’m proud to serve on Doug Ford’s team.”

But why delete the tweet later if it was just a joke? “Nothing to add,” said Lantsman, whose current job title is “Head of War Room Communications” — a reference to the party’s campaign operation at headquarters.

Whether the tweet was tongue in cheek or too close to the bone, Lantsman’s War Room has grounded the media bus. Be that as it may, the best way to prevent any politician from taking voters for a ride is to remember that campaigns matter.

Martin Regg Cohn is a columnist based in Toronto covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @reggcohn


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( another one is suggesting the media rent there own bus and follow ford around )

Doug Ford’s media bus controversy is much ado about very little

Yes, Ford is trying to avoid press scrutiny that he doesn’t want. That’s what politicians do.

Keeping the Queen’s Park press gallery at a distance won’t eliminate Ford’s gaffe potential. But it may minimize it, writes Thomas Walkom.

By Thomas WalkomNational Affairs Columnist

Mon., April 9, 2018

Critics are ripping into Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford’s decision to campaign during the upcoming provincial election without a media bus in tow.

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne accuses Ford of trying to avoid media scrutiny. Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath says she’s shocked at a decision that “flies in the face of transparency.” They should relax.

Yes, Ford is trying to avoid press scrutiny that he doesn’t want. That’s what politicians do.

And he reckons – perhaps correctly – that if he can discourage reporters from traveling with him in the lead-up to the June 7 election, he will be able to achieve that aim.

Politicians and political reporters have a strange, symbiotic relationship. More often than not, they are at odds with one another. But at the same time, each side needs the other. Politicians who are unable to express themselves through one medium or another effectively don’t exist.

The rise of social media hasn’t changed that basic relationship. It has merely made it more complicated. The idea of Donald Trump without Twitter is inconceivable. But so is the idea of Trump without Fox News (which is where he gets all of his information) and the New York Times (which he loves to rant against).

Nothing expresses the symbiotic relationship between press and politicians better than the campaign bus. It is organized and run by a political party but paid for by the media. Typically, the parties charge between $6,000 and $8,000 for a seat on the bus. But the reporters, whose employers pay for this privilege, get absolutely no control over where the bus goes or how long it stays at any stop.

What they do get are drinks (usually soft) and snacks. They are trundled in to hear the politician make announcements and the occasional speech. Then they are trundled out again.

Sometimes they are allowed to ask questions. But sometimes the politicians’ handlers prefer to keep their principal encased in bubble wrap.

To be a reporter on the campaign bus is like a cross between attending summer camp and being held hostage.

You hear the same speech over and over again. You attend predictably hokey photo opportunities where the politician poses with people wearing hard hats (to emphasize infrastructure) or people wearing lab coats (to emphasize innovation).

You rarely see a politician talking unscripted to a normal human being.

Yet in spite of the handlers’ best efforts, sometimes journalism does break out.

The politician may say something untoward that the press is able to pounce on. Or, when asked to respond to a real event that happened outside the bus, the politician may inadvertently say something newsworthy.

Still, the tradition of the press bus has generally satisfied both sides. The politicians are able to keep pesky reporters in one place and under control. The media companies, although they invariably talk of pioneering new and more relevant ways to cover elections, are reluctant to give up the traditional focus on party leaders.

Ford’s decision to eschew the campaign press bus has thrown this comfortable consensus into confusion. My guess is that he has two motives.

The first is a desire to minimize gaffes. Ford prides himself on being plainspoken. But sometimes, when speech is too plain, it risks giving offence. Trump can get away with being offensive and a bully. I’m not sure Ford can.

Keeping the Queen’s Park press gallery at a distance won’t eliminate Ford’s gaffe potential. But it may minimize it.

The second motive is a desire to bypass media that Ford deems hostile. This is easier said than done.

I suspect that only those who are already die-hard Ford supporters will have the energy to sit through innumerable YouTube videos of their man speaking. Most Ontarians will continue to get their impression of Ford from mediated accounts – either traditional or social.

As for the now-cancelled Tory campaign bus, there is an alternative. The major media companies with reporters at Queen’s Park could combine forces to rent their own bus to tail Ford.

It would probably be cheaper than relying on the political parties to provide this potentially useful service.

Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


'Taking matters into his own hands': Doug Ford's media strategy includes his own reporter

PC leader going straight to the public in his bid to unseat Kathleen Wynne in the upcoming June election

Mike Wise · CBC News · Posted: May 03, 2018 9:41 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago

Videos featuring Doug Ford being interviewed by Lyndsey Vanstone are popular posts on his team's Facebook page. (Facebook)

When Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford announced he was backing away from plans to allow new development in Ontario's Greenbelt, Lyndsey Vanstone captured the moment with her Ford Nation Live television crew.

It is easy for her to get access to Ford: after all, she is his executive assistant and former press secretary.

As Ford campaigns around the province ahead of the June 7 election, Vanstone is there to cover his every move in a series of partisan, TV-news-style videos that are racking up hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook.

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Social media marketing consultant Patrick Gladney thinks it is a shrewd strategy.

"For a politician who has had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the media in the past and may not feel he's had a fair and balanced view, he's taking matters into his own hands and speaking to the electorate directly," he said.

Vanstone, executive assistant to Doug Ford, appears in the videos, which offer the campaign's view of events. (Facebook)

In about a dozen videos produced for the Ontario PC Party Facebook page over the past few weeks, Vanstone, microphone in hand, enthusiastically shares the campaign's messages.

She praises the party's promise to cut electricity rates as an "honest and responsible hydro plan."

She refers to Ford as the "soon-to-be premier" who is promising "brighter days ahead."

Ford's communications director, Melissa Lantsman, defends the strategy, saying the party will use "every opportunity to connect with voters, including online videos, to highlight the plan Doug Ford has for the people of Ontario."

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Lantsman says the strategy is nothing new, pointing to the 2007 campaign, when the Ontario Liberals had former TV anchor Ben Chin do a series of YouTube videos under the banner Liberal TV.

Stephen Harper also had an in-house media team, 24/Seven, which produced flattering features about the then-prime minister and his Conservative government.

Both sets of videos had views in the thousands, but more than a decade later, the Ford Nation Live videos are generating considerable engagement online.

The most popular video, about Ford's promise to fire the head of Hydro One, has almost a million views and more than 3,000 shares since it was first produced.

The party is also promoting views of that video through a series of targeted advertisements on Facebook. CBC News has been able to track that campaign in a Facebook Political Ad database being crowdsourced and compiled by ProPublica, CBC and other news organizations.

Ontario PC ads are showing up in the ProPublica political ad database. (ProPublica)

The database shows that the PCs appear to be targeting at least two demographics with that ad: men and women over the age of 65, and married men aged 35-64.

"I think this is something that all political campaigns should be doing," said Gladney. "If you're not doing this, you're not taking advantage of all the tools you have as a politician to speak to the public."

Social media allows "brands" to act as publishers in their own right, said Gladney, pointing out that this puts the onus on consumers — or in this case, voters — to determine the credibility of online content.

But the Ford Nation videos, he said, are likely being targeted primarily to decided voters.

"It is his base … the electorate most likely to agree with what he has to say, and share what he has to say with their personal networks."

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Doug Ford campaign to not have a media bus

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