Spin Report: Bite That Tongue
Even though the trial is actually starting to have some content for media beyond Conrad’s moods and Barbara’s outfits, the question of their character has and will loom large.
The big break came when Barbara had her fit in the elevator—for which she smilingly did not atone the next day. The consequent outpouring of ink and video footage made a brief star of at least one reporter who actually heard the ill-calculated remarks. Conrad up until present has behaved better, and the media are left to report on his daughter’s loving ministrations in the courtroom—fixing his hair, etc. All very touching—just the kind of citizen-victim image he wants to project.
The subject of Alana occupied one panel for a good 10 minutes on CTV’s portentous The Verdict, surely the most desperate example of the search for content in the early days of the trial. Some poor woman who was an intern with Alana at the Globe some years ago had to fill air time with vague memories of the very “private” young woman with whom she worked. The two other panellists had never met her.
Now, finally, the defence will be able to elaborate on its “victim” theory, which will be treated with much skepticism by the Canadian media and an audience who all too well remembers the grandiloquent put-downs of his country and its media that preceded his elevation to the House of Lords. The British media will also find these arguments hard to swallow: they experienced his extravagant character on full display during his years in London.
Only those like the Globe’s Christie Blatchford and Maclean’s Mark Steyn (they both worked for Black at the National Post and respected him as a newspaper proprietor) will be left to say the odd positive thing about him.
If Black himself—surely a volcano of self-righteous indignation ready to erupt—departs from his current constrained persona, Operation Charm will come to a final, grinding halt.
Patrick Gossage is the founder and president of Media Profile, a public relations agency based in Toronto.
Image courtesy Dave Benett/Getty Images (CBC)