Here they are, counted down from number ten to number one, based on the number of reads each blog got on the day it was released in 2021.
I wrote this blog in February to talk about how the typical rules of running news conferences have changed during the pandemic. Questions from reporters have been taken over the phone since the pandemic began. That tipped the balance of power into the government’s favour. It can choose who gets to ask questions and who doesn’t. It can decide if follow-up questions will be allowed. Politicians understand the rules too and it was much easier to give a puffball answer if reporters didn't have the chance to challenge them.
A late entry here. I wrote this blog just three weeks ago, after Premier Jason Kenney got angry at Calgary Sun reporter Rick Bell during a news conference and gave a gruff and condescending response. Although Kenney seemed to be doing a news conference every other day for most of 2021 he kept his cool pretty well. Except for that one time.
Back to back blogs on the Alberta Premier. This was written last April and in the blog I remarked how Kenney was caught between a rock and a hard place over the COVID issue. If he brought in too many restrictions, right wing and rural Albertans wouldn’t be pleased and if he was too light on restrictions, most Albertans in large urban areas would be angry with him. He’s still in a no-win situation.
Another November blog. This one was about how the NHL tried to deal with the fallout from the Kyle Beach story. I didn’t think Commissioner Gary Bettman did a good job, but here we are six weeks later and we hardly hear a thing about the story anymore. Perhaps it has run its course for the time being, so maybe Bettman knows what he’s doing?
Towards the end of summer, with COVID case counts going through the roof in Alberta, Culture Minister Ron Orr was doing a news conference to promote Culture Days in Alberta when a reporter had the nerve to ask him about the pandemic and Jason Kenney’s leadership. An aide stepped in to shut down the news conference. It not only made my Top 10 Blog List, but may have been the worst media relations move of the year as well.
This blog was written in April, just as we were getting over the third wave. I listed the poor mistakes governments had made as they dealt with COVID. There was everything from telling us not to wear masks at the start of the pandemic to what I termed the “Restrictions Rollercoaster.” Of course, when I wrote it, we were still a couple of months away from the biggest mistake of the year – Jason Kenney’s Open For Summer plan in Alberta.
Few celebrity deaths have hit me harder than this past June when Frank Bonner died. Frank played Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati. I got to meet and spend time with him in 1984 when he was in Edmonton at Stage West. I talked to Frank on the day my wife and I got married, and his death came 37 years to the day later.
Another blog related to COVID in Alberta and how poorly the Kenney government handled it during the summer. When former Health Minister Tyler Shandro stepped to the podium for a news conference in early September, he got hammered by the media, as did Dr. Deena Hinshaw. So many people had been clamoring for answers from government officials, but I pointed out when they had no good answers to give to the media, it was like leading lambs into the lion’s den. The government flirted with disaster and then it finally happened. Shandro didn’t last long as Health Minister as a result.
This would have got the award for “Best Clickbait Blog Title of the Year.” That aside, in April I wrote about how both some reporters from traditional media outlets and computer data wizards, along with special interest groups were actually giving more relevant information than the government was about COVID. While the government in Alberta was giving us raw numbers, others were taking those numbers and giving us graphics much easier to understand.
Not only was this blog the most widely read of 2021, it was the most popular blog I’ve written since I started doing a blog about five years ago. The blog was about Jespersen getting fired by 630 CHED, but just a few months later, not only putting together a very successful website podcast, but he also found ways to get back at his political opponents. It was written right after the municipal elections in October and contained a video with a great rant from Jespersen, as he explained why he lost his job and how it feels to see some of his opponents now unemployed.
Taking a Break
This is the last blog for 2021. I'll be back in January with more. I want to use this time to thank you for reading my blog this year, commenting, and engaging with me.
I've been writing a blog for around five years and other than the odd case, everyone has been respectful and added to the discussion, either here on my website or on my social media channels. Once again thank you.
Have a great holiday season and I'll see you in '22.