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.