As soon as we start thinking that nothing could surprise us in the worlds of BC and Canadian politics new scandals and controversies would emerge capturing our attention and igniting new discussions. BC Premier Christy Clark who recently celebrated a first anniversary of her elevation on dual leadership (BC Liberals + government) is faced with enormous amount of criticism and media attacks due to several important cases and controversies.
BC Place naming rights, Bill 22 and furthering teachers disputes, Atwal affair and as that usually happens when sugar comes at the end brutal clash between her director of communications with BC journalists. Sara MacIntyre who recently become Clark’s director of communications succeed in effort to alienate journalists in earliest possible moment showing them that Clark’s communications with journalists will become similar to those often seen in Ottawa and with PM Harper.
In last day or so I took some time to share Global BC video with dozen or so friends tightly connected to PR business and journalists in general trying to asses what is their impression and prediction of future relations between journalists and PO. General conclusion is that MacIntyre encounter with journalists was the best example how not to be good director of communications, how to offend and anger those who’re suppose to present your work to the public, and what’s more important to help the opposition to tackle you down in a year when your numbers are going down.
Other problem seen in mentioned Global BC video is MacIntyre’s body language and language in general. In first moment I saw her as tense, rude and offensive but in a same time several my colleagues point out “I’m above you and I don’t need to explain you anything” attitude often seen in communication between PR’s and journalists. She’s not lone example of this PR attitude which is already seen all over the world and many of these officials are usually sacked for good following almost similar encounters with media. From time to time clashes similar to these are so damaging that whole generations of politicians would be denied a chance to be elected to top office and even to save countries from political disasters, but that’s reality which could be changed if we educate PR’s in proper way and introduce them to proper ways of communication with media and public representatives.
Also watching other Global BC video footage from same event we can see the clear example of lack of cooperation between Premier and her official. Just moments before we’ll see elements of clash between MacIntyre and journalists Premier Clark was inviting cameramen’s and journalists to follow her which she’s examining products and booths at Global conference in Vancouver. This basically sends a message to public and media that photo-op is welcomed but questions are not which is awkwardly strange to BC political system and previously established channels of communication.
If Clark wants to win next elections and if she wants to have journalists at least in good relations with her, party and current Cabinet my advise would be to sit down with MacIntyre and to explain her ways of dealing with journalists in BC. Probably history hour would be the best thing and rather one of the best ways how to introduce her to journalists in our province. Majority of the journalists is used to a pretty liberal and open access to politicians and Premier, also to be able to ask questions on daily basis and opening new conversations on all important issues for the province and nation. She should not forget that last Premier and many before him went down the road under the media pressure and what’s more important to be sure that the voters would not judge her and her team through media reports involving officials of her bureaucratic stuff but based on a positive elements coming from Cabinet room.