Saturday, September 5, 2009

Michael Bryant victim? Navigator Ltd. runs the spin cycle on high

Even if I were hypnotized I wouldn't believe Bryant isn't a douchebag!

Anyone want to chip in a few bucks to hire a PR firm to put out the real truth? I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to round up a few (hundred thousand) pissed off citizens of Ontario that have found themselves on the short end of the wienie in the past 6 or more years… Why didn't we think of hiring a PR firm in 2004 whilst being thrown under the bus by Bryant himself? It is listed as one of the many things Navigator Ltd. does.

I am not sure what it costs to hire a “big shot” firm like Navigator Ltd. to run the spin cycle to makes things appear different than they are. I'm sure since we raised in excess of $750,000.00 (just from the dog owning community) for our court case, they may at least give us the gentle spin cycle for less?

One serious question comes to my mind while pondering spin city..

If Bryant is innocent, why does he need to hire a PR firm to make him “look” like he isn't a douchebag? Is this some sick twist on reverse onus?

…..I look like an asshole, walk like an asshole, talk like an asshole, I must be an asshole. I better hire a PR firm to make me not look like an asshole! Bryant says himself, if you are an asshole, you know you are an asshole!…..

The opening page of the Navigator Ltd. website states:

And although the specifics of our clients’ challenges are unique, there is one constant: the need to win in the arena of public opinion.

They are upfront about what it is they do.

Jamie Watt – Chair of the firm and senior partner

A highly regarded speaker, Jaime is a regular panelist on Canada's premier political affairs television programme, Politics with Don Newman. He also  appears on CBC, Global, CTV, and TVO and in the National Post and The Globe and Mail as a commentator on public affairs issues.

Robin Sears – Senior Partner

For a global executive search firm, Robin managed regional and global practices in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Toronto. He was the first Asia president of the pioneering digital search firm, Futurestep, for two of those years. He is a  senior writer for Policy Options magazine, Canada's leading policy journal, and a regular guest on CBC Newsworld's Politics.

From their webpage “What we do”

We start with the facts. Not as we might see them, or as our gut might tell us, but rather as the marketplace informs us, through focused research that drives to the heart of the issue. We employ research that is not afraid to ask tough questions, and sometimes deliver tough answers.

We then pass that information through the prism of our years of experience, to deliver an analysis that will illuminate the issue in new ways. Clients have praised us for our ability to take an issue that has been looked at, sometimes for years, and radically shift perspective to reveal new insights. These fresh insights are what our strategies are built on.

For example, the press release for Bryant's resignation was released by Dan Robertson at Navigator Ltd. Called a “leak” it delivers the message that Bryant quit his job (which he loved) and of course the REAL message they want to put in your thoughts is that; (he claims he is innocent of the very serious accusations made against him).

In an excerpt from an article by Rick Salutin (Globe and Mail) called “The problem with PR: let's speak for ourselves”:

But there's one element that irritates me severely. It's the presence, since very early, of a public-relations firm aiding Mr. Bryant. Globe reporter Timothy Appleby says he was told outside the jail that morning that a PR firm was involved. Even Sherman McCoy didn't use his second call to phone a publicist. Tim says he doesn't know whether the company was already engaged for another reason, but they were apparently on Mr. Bryant's case.

The firm turned out to be Navigator Ltd., which acted for Brian Mulroney during the Karlheinz Schreiber operetta. This muddies everything that follows.

For instance, immediately on release, Mr. Bryant expressed condolences to Mr. Sheppard's family. As Susan Reisler of Media Profile, another PR firm, told the Toronto Star: “It's appropriate to apologize. It's not admission to anything …” This is stock PR wisdom in crisis management. You get out there fast with your top person and express regret.

Salutin makes a comment in another article in the National Post:

A PR firm taints it, says Salutin. “When a news story says, 'We have new information from a source …' is that source Navigator? Or someone egged on by
Navigator?” Bryant's a smart guy, in other words, so why can't he speak (or stay silent) for himself?

I'll leave you with some pondering fodder. The Toronto Star had a decent article entitled “Spinning the first week of Michael Bryant's new life.” Here is an excerpt:

It's a reasonable bet you, too, Toronto Star readers, have an opinion. But is it, you might ask, your own? Definitely not, says a veteran Toronto criminal lawyer, loath to have his name published.
“Look, the headline on this story should be: `Navigator, changing your
perceptions without you even knowing it.'”

He refers, of course, to Navigator Limited, the smooth public relations firm hired by Bryant (when exactly is unclear) to massage the message. He's said to be close to Navigator chair Jaime Watt, touted for knowing everybody in Canadian power circles. Senior partner Robin Sears most recently was
spokesperson for Brian Mulroney during the parliamentary investigation into his dealings with deported German arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber.

and continuing…

Experienced legal and political hands see Navigator's fingerprints all over public opinion. Shortly after a noon strategy meeting yesterday that apparently drew together Navigator staffers and Bryant's criminal defence lawyer, highly regarded Marie Henein, Sears acknowledged a reporter's remark that things seemed to be going well for them.

“I'm glad you agree,” he said. “We're working hard to ensure that it does. A big part of that is us staying out of the story.”

I realize I am bias in my opinion of who Michael Bryant is as a person, a politician or a business man. Articulate, inspiring, showman and dynamic are NOT on my list of descriptive words for Bryant. I felt as though I wanted to throw up when I read the warm and fuzzy article in the Star September 2nd; hot on the heels of Sheppard's death. I guess that was another one of Navigator's releases to try to rock the public into thinking there is a “softer” side or somehow portray he can't be the sociopath many suspect.

“Collateral damage” is what Bryant does best. I can attest to this!

I can't help but think that somehow Bryant made a tragic choice and there very well may have been tragic choices made on both sides of the coin. What I know for sure is; it is utterly disgusting and vile to think that a public campaign to paint a “rosy” picture may influence the outcome of this tragedy.

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