The real silence is that of victims

In the preceding article, I mentioned the assistance to John Furlong provided by “compliant media friends.” Bob Mackin gave an example in his J-Source article, Furlong drops suit against Georgia Straight for story accusing him of abusing students:

The [Global] BC1 interview was recorded in the Gastown office of Furlong’s public relations representative, Twenty Ten Group…

Gailus said during a preview interview with Unfiltered host Jill Krop that Global was chosen for its high ratings and because of his past working relationship with one of Furlong’s ‘closest advisors.’

‘I think that Renee said Chris Gailus is the guy to do it,’ he said.

Renee is Renee Smith-Valade, the former VANOC vice-president and BC Hydro senior-vice-president who is now vice-president of customer experience with Air Canada Rouge.

Broadcaster Simi Sara provided a unique perspective by interviewing Charlie Smith. The Georgia Straight editor said he laughed when he heard a radio station say that John Furlong was breaking silence to talk about his case:

He held a news conference on the day the story was published, in front of the country. He followed that up a few days later with a statement. He issued a statement when he filed his Statement of Claim. There was a subsequent statement issued by family members following the reply filed by Laura Robinson…

Then he issued another bunch of statements this week and then this is characterized as breaking his silence…”

Sure enough, despite evidence to the contrary, the website of Global News continues to make this incorrect claim:

The statement is intended to create sympathy for a man accused of abusing children years ago who is now charged with besmirching the journalist who enabled powerless people to raise complaints against the powerful. Those rural folk have no public relations agents telling their story but the flacks working on Furlong’s behalf have spread misinformation widely.

In John Furlong breaks silence over physical, sexual abuse, Globe and Mail offered:

Former VANOC head John Furlong is breaking his silence about allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

Maclean’s Jonathan Gateway wrote, John Furlong breaks his silence:

…For 17 months, John Furlong has been silent about the allegations of physical and sexual abuse that have been levied against him. But now, the man who was the guiding force behind the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, says he can no longer bite his tongue…

CBC News published Enough is enough,’ John Furlong says of abuse claims:

Former Vancouver Olympics organizing committee CEO John Furlong, who has remained silent for the past year in the face of allegations in the media and in lawsuits that he physically and sexually abused former students, says he can no longer stay quiet.

The sports website Inside the Games headlined:

Furlong breaks silence on “completely unfounded” abuse allegations.

Clearly, reporters didn’t decide independently to give a spin sympathetic to John Furlong and be indifferent to his alleged victims and Laura Robinson. No, this was a series of planned and organized spin events created by people well accustomed to spinning the pseudo-journalists who have too much influence in today’s newsrooms.

There is a certain irony that while tales and tall tales about John Furlong and Laura Robinson ricocheted through Canadian media, the Webster Awards were honouring real journalism. Many of the same people who criticized Straight editor Charlie Smith and took sides with plaintiffs, applauded Sun business reporter David Baines who told the gathering that he had been sued 20 times for his diligent work.

Categories: Journalism, VANOC

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11 replies »

  1. The Georgia Straight has rather few news gathering resources compared to Postmedia, Global, Corus, CTV etc. They do have nerve and no overriding loyalty to the rich and powerful.

    If the Straight hadn't stepped up to run this story, the alleged victims wouldn't have been heard. But then, without Furlong's blazing reactions, the Straight's story would have been seen by rather few.


  2. What do you suspect from such an odious man.

    What I see is a very expensive PR campaign to cleanse the Furlong name in the eyes of the public. This only happens if the party is guilty because if the party is innocent, it can be proven at trial. It seems furlong does not want a trial, except trial by media.

    What the Furlong episode does show is a very close connection Furlong has with the media, the RCMP, and even possibly the courts. This only shows that in Canada, justice can be sold to the highest bidder.


  3. Interesting to note that David Baines wears his lawsuit tally as a badge of honor; as he should. It’s a clear indicator that he travels where a journalist should in search of the truth.

    Contrast that with the badge of honor Bill Good proudly assumes in his “NW promo spots. He actually brags to the effect that in over twenty years at the station none of his colleagues or the brass at ‘NW have ever taken issue with his opinions.

    Milquetoast defined, and he’s proud of it. And the fact that ‘NW airs the promo demonstrates how far they’ve sunk and where they want their little lambs to travel.


  4. Great comment. I've admired David Baines for years. What people might not know is that he wasn't merely threatened with lawsuits. Death threats were made too.

    He dared write about people who were running stock scams netting them millions. A few of those reside in waterfront homes of West Vancouver.


  5. Truth be damned. The prize goes to the party with the ability to best sell “their truth”.
    We see it in the courts, in Ottawa, in Victoria, Washington and on and on……
    Sell a gullible and lazy public (I've got no time to inform myself of the facts) your version and you can be the winner of the latest reality episode.


  6. Toronto Star quotes Furlong, “Outside of this process, she has continued to launch a pretty significant campaign. I admit I was naïve. She has tried in every which way to undermine me.”

    Naive? After dealing with the crooks and liars of the Olympic movement?

    I think Furlong and his high priced team of flacks and lawyers assume we're the naive ones.


  7. If Furlong was truly “innocent” he wouldn't have been sitting around for all that time. he would have gotten into court. He may have gotten tired of being left off a few party lists. His “interviews” were just so much horse shit. My take on it, they used Gallius because he looks like a nice guy and Global likes to do favours for the leiberals. Why CTV did an interview is beyond me. It wasn't like there wasn't any other news.

    Maybe a “spin” doctor tried to organize a “re-packaging” of Furlong. Shame on the media who participated in these “news conferances”. They have sent a message, we side with the rich. We don't care what happened to First Nations people. Only a reporter for the Georgia Straight reported on the story and good for her.

    Anything coming from the RCMP, in B.C., ought to be taken with a grain of salt. They do have some close ties to the provincial lieberals.

    The whole thing stinks on ice..


  8. I have urged for a B.C. Or Canadian version of the Leveson Inquiry since the Brits cranked their's up. This Furlong Fiasco screams out for it! The press, politicians and police all linked in one long daisy-chain. BTW, at YouTube enter Rob Ford/Stephen Harper and watch the BBQ fundraiser prior to the last federal election. Tory slime at it's finest.


  9. I agree with e.a.f.

    One thing I found peculiar was Jill Krop's panel discussion after the interview which, I suppose, was further intended to convince us that Furlong has been wrongly accused – the only problem was that one panelist couldn't disguise his contempt for the man, calling him a bully and a liar as a result of his interactions with Furlong pre-Olympics. The best argument the other panelist could come up with is that maybe the complainants mistook him for the “real abuser”. Puhlease. [I don't believe a child who has been abused would have a fuzzy memory regarding the identity of the person who committed the act].

    Note from blog publisher: the final sentence has been edited.


  10. My apologies, Norm. I tend to be too blunt and wanted to convey in the case of the male complainant the heinous nature of the alleged crime. I consider it more devastating than molestation and wanted to convey that no confusion over identity could exist in this circumstance. Of course, every victim of abuse or sexual assault is going to clearly remember the identity of their abuser.


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