My Prediction for the Winner of the CDA's Ross Munro Media Award

The DND-funded Conference of Defence Associations is still looking for nominations for its annual Ross Munro Media Award.

As I noted earlier, a lot of journalists are not so sure they even want an award from a group so close to the government, and whose president recently let fly a bitter attack on journalists for not “explaining” the Afghan mission to the Canadian public – i.e. helping to build support for the war.

But no doubt the defence lobby will find someone in a Canadian newsroom to take the statue – and the $2500 in cash.

Rumour has it that the CDA’s Ross Munro Media Award recipient this year will be Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. She certainly shares the CDA’s war-boosting and anti-public view. Here is what she wrote last year:

It would be so easy for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to cave in to opinion polls, bring the troops home earlier rather than later. Such a decision might even give this Conservative government the majority it covets.

I have no partisan politics. But Harper is to be commended for continuing to do what’s morally right rather than politically expedient, amidst the sophistry that passes for informed criticism, particularly among those who conflate Afghanistan with Iraq.

I have to point out that even the new Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, recently conflated Afghanistan with Iraq, but I am sure that she will be able to square that circle.

Since my op-ed about the conflict between the defence lobby’s awards to Canada’s media and the Parliamentary Press Gallery’s journalistic integrity appeared in the Hill Times, I have heard from a few more journalists about the CDA’s attacks on the media and the public.

One reporter asked Defence Minister MacKay about CDA Institute President John Scott Cowan’s characterization of the public as a bunch of “slack-jawed gum-chewing vagrants” (which Cowan repeated himself in the Hill Times this week).

[I] repeated John Scott Cowan’s remarks [and Peter MacKay] said: “that’s a little much.” Mackay said he would never describe a fellow citizen giving an opinion as “slack jawed or uneducated.”

Another reporter who covers the defence beat, after reading my op-ed, told me,

It doesn’t surprise me that this [anti-public, anti-media] attitude is popping up. You seem to see it more and more every day.

Of course the greatest irony is that though the defence lobby feels hard done by, it is winning practically every time. Military spending has soared past the Cold War levels, defence companies are running away will multi-billion dollar non-competitive contracts, the Liberals flip-flopped and voted with the Conservatives to extend the war by nearly three years to 2011…

It reminds me of Jean Chretien’s quote in 2003 about the defence lobby:

But it’s never enough. I have never seen an army anywhere in the world who returned a government money — anywhere. They all need more and they all have plans for more.

It’s sad, but so true…

Tags: Conference of Defence Associations, Defence lobby, Hill Times, Rosie Dimanno, Steven Staples, Toronto Star