Kevin Krueger says government workers embedded in news organizations during Olympics

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      The B.C. government had employees who were "embedded" within the CTV and NBC television networks during the Olympics, according to Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Kevin Krueger.

      "We did creative work for years leading up to the Olympics," Krueger said in the legislature on March 30. "We provided images, and we still are, to NBC and CTV. We provided video. We provided still photography. We provided written stories. We had employees who were embedded in those news organizations. They did a wonderful job."

      Krueger offered up this relevation during debate over his ministry's spending estimates in the coming year.

      (The Straight has previously reported that the government was considering the Olympic broadcasters' needs several years ago when it created the  "Best Place on Earth" advertising campaign.)

      Krueger's  comment about government employees being embedded within news organizations came while NDP tourism critic Spencer Herbert was peppering him with questions about his ministry's "You gotta be here" advertising campaign.

      "The fact is, as I've already told the member, that we had a $38.6 million budget for the 'You gotta be here' campaign," Krueger said. "We didn't spend it on advertising British Columbia to British Columbians."

      Herbert noted that the ads appeared on billboards in the Downtown Eastside and other areas, which suggested that this was advertising directed at British Columbians.

      "Can the minister tell me how, after October last year, all of a sudden we decided to spend massive amounts on billboards, massive amounts on bus shelters, massive amounts on television advertising within British Columbia, when the minister committed to me in this very place that we wouldn't be spending any?" Herbert said. "I asked specifically about billboards. The minister said: 'No, we weren't spending any money on billboards.' "

      The following day, Krueger admitted that some of the "You gotta be here" advertising was directed at British Columbians.

      "In recognition of the province's contributions to the Games, in late November VANOC offered the government advertising space free of charge—we had believed that it was yesterday—in various locations of the Lower Mainland, which included billboards, transit shelters, exterior bus and platform posters, Waterfront station, videos on SkyTrain and Canada Line platforms at Canada Place and B.C. Place, and venue posters at B.C. Place, GM Place, and Pacific Coliseum," Krueger said. "The creative production and printing for these were paid out of the 'You gotta be here' campaign budget. VANOC did the installations with their resources."

      He said that in early 2010, radio ads with the "You gotta be here" tag line ran during the Olympics and Paralympics to persuade people to visit Robson Square and the B.C. Pavilion. "Those ads ran February 12 and 13 and then, briefly, during the Paralympics," Krueger added.  "I was unaware of that until after our discussions yesterday."

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      Apr 4, 2010 at 1:26am

      i'd like to hear more about the government employees embedded with the media. spin city. iraq, redux?
      stephen elliott-buckley

      Charlie Smith

      Apr 4, 2010 at 1:30am

      I would love to provide more information, but Kevin Krueger has steadfastly refused to return calls from the Georgia Straight since becoming the minister for tourism, culture and the arts. Perhaps Spencer Herbert will follow up with more questions in the legislature. An FOI request might yield more information, but knowing this government, it will dream up some exemption within the act to prohibit disclosure.

      A. G. (Alex) Tsakumis

      Apr 4, 2010 at 2:00pm

      Clearly, Spencer was engaged in a battle of wits-with an unarmed man...

      The most troubling part of this entire affair is that a govt Minister is actually admitting to having govt hacks "embedded" in the media for and during the Olympics.

      All this proves is that the Campbell govt has absolutely no shame and will stop at nothing to cajole, lead, propagandize and FIX to get a fraudulent message out.

      We are NOT the best place on earth when we deliver the Olympics of the backs of the poor. the sick, the underprivileged--essentially the most needy. Not to mention our high child poverty rates and punitive taxation (Carbon Tax and HST)

      Sean Bickerton

      Apr 4, 2010 at 3:13pm

      Spending $38 million trying to convince British Columbians this is the "Best Place on Earth" while starving the arts of the paltry $20 million annually that helps make it so, is shortsighted at best and a waste or taxpayer money at worst.

      Petey J

      Apr 4, 2010 at 6:35pm

      Whoopty-do oooh

      Whoopty-do oooh

      Apr 4, 2010 at 8:55pm

      News shmooze. Uncritical reporting is less upsetting.


      Apr 5, 2010 at 11:40am

      Kevin Krueger has always been and will continue to be the most disgusting of boot licking,grovelling supporters of the most reprehensible government leader this province has ever known in the form of Gorden Campbell. Why the people of Kamloops have supported him politically is beyond me.


      Apr 5, 2010 at 5:44pm

      Hey whiners, hurry and jump on the anti Olympic train. Apparently the unhappy people thought it had already left town, but it's still here.


      Apr 7, 2010 at 10:28am

      If it were NDP or some other Rabble-appointed person, this article would have never been written.

      Quit being hypocrites, you would have done the same.

      J B Bell

      Apr 7, 2010 at 6:27pm

      Equally shame-worthy is that the media outlets who continue a facade of "impartiality" permit government employees to directly feed them their lines. It's one thing to go along with "embedding" in a war-torn area. There the govt. message is that you can have this news, or you can wander around without protection and get killed. Here the motivation is pure laziness. Oh and of course just making the hotline between govt. and advertisers' corporate interest even more convenient.