In something that more closely represents political propaganda that would come from Vladimir Putin or one of the dreaded and reviled leaders of the Axis of Evil nations, Stephen Harper's office launched a series of videos back in January 2014 called "24 Seven", a weekly roundup of what Harper and his Conservative cronies have been up to. The videos, each of which begins with rather regal sounding music that could almost pass for a military march (the Maple Leaf Forever), which seem more suitable for a leader in the mold of Kim Jong Un who is doing his best to convince his subjects that he really is one of them, are the Harper government's latest attempt at using social media to communicate directly with Canadians rather than going through what is an increasingly hostile media, mainstream and otherwise.
Here is the first episode, chronicling the Harper week that was from January 2 to 8, 2014:
You will notice that the video provided seemed to skip over the rude interruption provided courtesy of two protestors who managed to gain access to the stage and embarrass the Prime Minister's multi-million dollar per year security team. On the upside, the video does show Harper's tweet to all of those Canadians that celebrate Orthodox Christmas. Lucky people! And, if you just can't help yourself, the second episode even shows Stephen putting on his gloves while standing behind his desk. He really is one of us! He does get cold! We also get a floor shot where he looks almost gigantic and some very informal shots that "will be deleted".
You'll notice that the video on YouTube has been viewed by a massive 11,073 viewers, hardly what one would term resounding public penetration. The January 9 to 15 webisode was viewed by 7793 viewers and the March 13 to 19 webisode was viewed by 1487 and the March 27 to April 2 webisode getting 148 views thus far. These figures do not include the number of views that the weekly videos receive on the PMO website that you can find here. According to data received by New Democrat MP Guy Caron, the series premiere received 24,000 clicks, dropping to an average of 15,000 for subsequent instalments as you can see on this chart supplied by Paul Calandra which tracks visits up to and including January 30th, 2014:
Please note that between January 30th and today (April 3), views of the first video on YouTube grew by an insubstantial 901 viewers.
The Official Opposition wants to know how much Canadian taxpayers are paying for production of these weekly videos, who approves the final edit of the videos and whether the production costs were openly tendered as would normally be required. The Harper government has admitted that four people are involved in the weekly propaganda blitz as part of their regular web publishing duties; the Director of Special Projects, a Senior Multimedia Monitoring Analyst, a Project Coordinator and an Analyst. The Privy Council Office has also admitted that there was not a call for tender because the production takes place internally.
Rather than watching the Harper government's take on itself, I much prefer this take on the 24 Seven videos:
Apparently, as Canadians have seen with the Harper government's generous and judicious use of Canadians' tax dollars to create tens of millions of dollars worth of Economic Action Plan backdrops, signage, fake cheques and television and website advertising, enough is never enough when it comes to propagandizing the sweaty masses that vote without thinking first.
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