Updated (twice). Please see below (and belower).
When your attempts at spin control are being reported in the media as "secret meetings with select reporters", I think it's safe to say you haven't created the effect you were looking for and it may be time to rethink your media strategy.
This afternoon Garth Turner reported on his blog (h/t to apply-liberally) that the Conservatives were inviting journalists they deemed to be friendly to a closed press conference so they could put the best possible face on the story that will dominate this week's news cycle: the publication of the 700 page search warrant that served as the impetus for that visit to Conservative Party headquarters by the RCMP and Elections Canada this past week.
About a half hour ago, the following went up at CTV.
Tories on defensive over Elections Canada raid
Conservatives held secret meetings with select reporters Sunday to reveal details about why Elections Canada officers raided their Ottawa headquarters -- and to give their side of the story before court documents are released this week.
They scheduled briefings at an Ottawa hotel, but when word of the meetings leaked out to other media organizations, the party moved the briefings to another hotel next to their party headquarters.
Canada's New Government™, ladies and gentlemen. Playing hide and go seek with the media all over Ottawa.
Impolitical has links and details of additional press coverage. She also has what I think is actually understatement.
News of such selective briefings reinforces the perception of the Harper Conservatives as contemptuous of the press and controlling.
The way they've handled this makes them look more than just controlling. When they're seen
to be working this hard to control the story it makes them look guilty as hell. Apparently the warrant doesn't name any politician or senior party official as being under suspicion. That isn't the impression this circus creates.
I should have known that wherever journalists lurk in hallways waiting for Conservatives who are trying to avoid them, Kady O'Malley would be in the thick of it.