Kim Misik, press secretary to the premier, wrote this morning to say “Premier Redford’s role at Edmonton’s Pride Festival was always to deliver welcoming remarks at the Celebration on the Square. The fact that some media outlets represented the festival and the parade as one interchangeable event is unfortunate, but I think it’s unfair to characterize Premier’s participation as a promise broken or going AWOL.” (Emphasis added.)
The premier’s role yesterday, Ms. Misik argued, “was always to give opening remarks to the thousands of people enjoying the festivities at Sir Winston Churchill Square … some of whom did not watch the parade but gathered for the speeches and entertainment to kick off the week.”
“There was no change in plans,” she stated. “She was invited to participate and was happy to do so. In my opinion, her heartfelt words directed to those who gathered at the square were just as symbolic, if not more so, than waving from a convertible.”
Moreover, she said, my speculation that someone in the premier’s communications brain trust vetoed parade participation is “just plain wrong.”
Well, fair enough, I guess. We have to accept the explanation of the Premier’s Office for this, which anyway has the ring of truth.
It’s easy to understand how the media got it wrong and continued to get it wrong. All it takes is one reporter to say something and what’s left of the mob tends to repeat it ad infinitum. Copy editors in Hamilton won’t catch it, obviously, and any remaining demoralized “deskers” in Edmonton may not much care. Anyway, it makes for a better story if Ms. Redford’s going to be in the parade.
But why didn’t the media correct their stories as soon as the Premier’s communications staff contacted them with the correction? I await a response from someone in the media who says there was no correction proffered by the government.
Oh well, it was Friday afternoon. Maybe the $20-million-a-year Public Affairs Bureau had already gone home for the weekend! Or maybe the media just didn’t care.
The fact remains that media coverage was unanimous up until immediately before the event in stating that Premier Redford would be in the parade, which to this blogger remains an important symbolic distinction from giving welcoming remarks, as positive an action as that was.