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Harper's meeting with Murdoch -- the real story

Rupert Murdoch at the 2009 Davos World Economic Forum. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr

Why would big-time global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss how miniscule Canadian media tycoon Pierre-Karl Péladeau could set up a Quebecor Media television knock-off of Murdoch's Fox News channel?

The answer is that he wouldn't -- and didn't. Even Kory Teneycke, who was Harper's chief spokesperson at the time and was at the lunch meeting in New York on March 30, 2009, claims the Quebecor venture was not discussed.



Harper's Fox News luncheon

My guess is it's pretty easy to arrange lunch with the Prime Minister. No doubt Stephen Harper often lunches with labour leaders and advocates for the homeless.

So it should be considered no big deal that, among those the PM has lunched with, is U.S. media billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who has probably done more than any single individual in recent years to push American politics sharply to the right.

It's interesting to imagine, however, why our Prime Minister would want to meet with Murdoch, whose Fox News TV channel has poisoned U.S. political debate and nurtured America's extremist right-wing Tea Party movement.

Lament for civility

One of the most acrimonious and unproductive political seasons in recent memory breaks for summer this week with calls from an influential Conservative for more "raw debate" and an end to stifling political correctness.

Kory Teneycke is former media chief for Stephen Harper. He is now vice-president of a fledgling all-news television network, Sun TV News, and is ready to take his talent for stinging invective to a larger stage -- and, his critics fear, to accelerate the trivialization of our politics.


Image: Flickr/University of Saskatchewan
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