The Ontario government is now embroiled in a clapping controversy
Staffers in the provincial legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto have apparently adopted a new strategy for dodging questions—clapping loudly while reporters talk.
While the government denied last week when this was happening that it was coordinated, it's pretty clear that it begins in unison and on cue. After a speaker finishes speaking, the staffers begin clapping louder and louder over top of reporters asking questions.
After answering a handful of questions @MacLeodLisa staffers and other PC staff clap on cue to drown out reporters...something we have seen at most @fordnation news conferences. Caught tail end, press gallery colleague @ColinDMello stands up for media & tells them to stop #ONPoli pic.twitter.com/EX5DppxzN6— Travis Dhanraj (@Travisdhanraj) July 31, 2018
Cynthia Mulligan, a CityNews journalist, posted a video to Twitter this morning where she grilled the staff on the clapping strategy.
Tried getting answers from political staffers who “clap out” media after questions are cut off. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/j9GdDjfiry— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) August 9, 2018
In it, one member of the clapping team admits they are being paid to be there. Mulligan then asks "you're being paid for it, by taxpayers, to clap?" She is ignored.
i wonder whether it's time to name, shame, and embarrass the political staffers who debase themselves by behaving in this unprecedentedly unprofessional way at government news conferences. shame on all of you. #onpoli https://t.co/eRwM2G0eHf— Steve Paikin (@spaikin) August 9, 2018
In the video, the staffers can be seen grinning and laughing at Mulligan and the other reporters present as they continue the applause.
Critics and other members of the public are calling the strategy "anti-democratic," and an attack on the press.
Media is a necessity to promote debate, be the voice of those not willing to speak and be ethical medium to facts and truth. One caveat is that THEY be provided the access to the officials entrusted with decision making capabilities. Drowning out reporters is not fair— 🇨🇦Daniel Boucher (@bouchjr) August 9, 2018
The strategy of drowning out genuine media, although apparently uncoordinated, seems to pair well with the PC party's new propaganda "news" channel, Ontario News Now.
WATCH: Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney takes questions about some 40 taxpayer-paid staffers clapping to shut down a government news conference Thursday #onpoli pic.twitter.com/VxLRMSQvsZ— NEWSTALK1010 (@NEWSTALK1010) August 9, 2018
In it, a staff member named Lyndsey Vanstone lists Doug Ford's achievements on camera.
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