A seemingly spontaneous answer by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describing quantum computing to a reporter has some accusing him of staging the entire moment for political gain.
The now-disputed incident took place last week during a funding announcement at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont. During the event, Trudeau was jokingly asked about quantum computing, and in response the prime minister delivered an explanation that has received widespread praise and coverage around the world.
But not everyone was seemingly blown away by Trudeau’s grasp of complex quantum mechanics.
Canadian blogger and conservative political commentator J.J. McCullough thought the entire moment seemed bit to good to be true and took to his website to let his opinion about the matter be known.
In a post titled “The North Koreanificatoin of Canadian political reporting,” McCullough harshly criticizes the Canadian media’s framing of the entire exchange, and writes that through closer analysis it’s clear Trudeau presented the question about quantum computing to reporters himself:
“So, to summarize, the PM went to a place and learned about a thing. During the speech that followed, he excitedly suggested he wanted to talk about the thing he just learned. A reporter was disinterested in playing along, and tried to ask a more relevant question, but Trudeau ignored him and launched into what was clearly a pre-prepared treatise on the thing.”
The post goes on to accuse the Canadian media of not only presenting Trudeau’s answer without the proper context, but also suggests that the Canadian press is actively shaping its reporting to help cast the Liberal government in a positive light as well.
Central fact of #quantumgate is this—many people (justifiably) think PM Trudeau is not that smart. The Canadian media LEAPT to disprove them— J.J. McCullough (@JJ_McCullough) 18 April 2016
McCullough’s blog post has since been picked up by U.S. media outlet Gawker, and has even inspired #Quantumgate to start trending.
Please use the #quantumgate hashtag so we can keep this story alive and demand accountability from an irresponsible media.— J.J. McCullough (@JJ_McCullough) 18 April 2016
Trudeau only speaks in pre-scripted platitudes. People who confuse memorization skill for intelligence are as witless as he is. #quantumgate— Rick Fuerst (@RickFuerst) 18 April 2016
It would appear at this time, however, Trudeau is sticking to his side of the story about how his interest in science is totally sincere.
Speaking to Gawker, Trudeau’s press secretary said the prime minister’s answer wasn’t staged, and the entire exchange was in fact an impromptu moment based on Trudeau’s interest in science.
“It was not staged. I was there. The question was impromptu, the answer was impromptu as well. … I believe he [requested the question] jokingly, and the reporter who asked him that [did so jokingly] as well. He wasn’t instructing reporters how to ask him questions,” he said
It doesn’t appear, however, that McCullough is completely convinced by that explanation.