In my last post, I voiced the opinion that the whole non-story of ‘what Prime Minister Steven Harper ‘ought to have done’ when, during a Roman Catholic funeral mass, a priest approached him where he was sitting in the front pew of the church and stuck a Communion Wafer into the surprised Prime Minister’s hand’ might have actually increased the PM’s popularity.
Since that post, several people from outside of Canada (some Roman Catholic themselves) expressed a surprise that this would ever become a news event, much less one which dominated headlines for over a week. Following is my reply (and can be seen in the comments) as to how and why this non-story got the press coverage it did:
The whole ‘broo-ha-ha’ – in my never-humble-opinion – started because the RC church was trying to deflect attention from yet another child molestation scandal within The Church. The news of the scandal broke the same day as the RC clerics started screeching ‘damn the sinner – he offended our religion!!!!’ against the PM. I think they wanted to minimize the news coverage of the pedophilia arrests charges laid against some RC priests just then.
The ‘MSM’ news these days has very clear ‘slots’: this ‘slot’ for ‘human interest’, that one for ‘scandal’, a little bit on ‘business’, and so on. If The Church succeeded in making the ‘PM snubs Roman Catholics’ THE scandal of the day, then there would be minimal coverage of their own scandal. The ‘main slot’ would already be filled… AND – they succeeded!
The news-people do not like this PM – he does not treat them as ‘insiders with special privileges’…. so, they are offended that he thinks they are not better than other people – which they DO think they are!
After all, they have ‘access to power’!!!! At least, they HAD access to power….. until this ‘newcomer’ PM refused to treat them as royalty. Who did he think he was? They were here longer than he – they KNEW ‘the ropes’! And he refused to bow down to them?!?!? Let them ‘take him under their wing’ and ‘show him how to get things done’?!?!? In exchange for ‘inside info’, of course… (and free spots at expensive dinners, and other ‘perks’ they became accustomed to by the previous corrupt government, in exchange for not writing up the worst of the scandals….)
How dare he!!!
As a result, the vast majority (with exceptions, of course) of journalists – especially political ones – feel slighted by him and do their best to snub him back, put him down, make even positive things he does – even the ones they themselves like – surrounded by so many ‘backhanded compliments’ that despite the positive story, they make him look bad. Or, they try to!
The political opposition – well, they would really, really like something to attack him for. But… for all his faults (and he has those, of course), deep down, Steven Harper is a very honest man and he expects honest behaviour from his ministers. So, there is actually very little that he can be attacked for by the opposition politicians!
His opponents have believed that Steven Harper’s support came from the ‘religious right’. So, they thought any story which could be spun that he is ‘not sensitive’ to religion or religious people would erode his main support base.
I think that they miscalculated!
Most religious people – including Roman Catholics – shared YOUR reaction. The attack has backfired on BOTH the RC church AND the PM’s opponents!
Still, this was not really ‘about’ the Communion Host: it was cheap politicking! And that, I suspect, is ‘universal’….