Ontario premier asks media for “breathing space”

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office has instituted a new media rule: don’t stand so close to me.

His team has asked all media to stand at least five feet away during scrums from now on.

MGuinty told the Canadian Press:

“What I’ve asked of my friends in the gallery is that I have a little bit more breathing space…I’m not talking about curtailing my accessibility to the media. I’m not talking about telling them what kind of question to put to me or about refusing to answer certain types of questions.”

Chris Dornan, associate professor at Carleton’s University’s School of Journalism, said the new rules are about the premier’s television image. He said:

“They likely are thinking in terms of pure optics. He’s still going to field questions from the press. He just doesn’t want the press pressing on him.”

McGuinty’s staff said the changes aim to make question and answer sessions with reporters more “formal and dignified.”