Not any more

UPDATED: DirtyTrickWatch: Did Conservative campaign really try to plant bogus Ignatieff photos with QMI? – Inside Politics

In Canada on April 27, 2011 at 20:54
UPDATE: Mercury LLC fights back in a late Wednesday press release – full text at the bottom of this post. Earlier… In case you missed it, here’s the short version of the latest tale of war room antics gone horribly awry as it originally appeared in today’s Third Rail: .

.. At some point during the day, #CLSH, as he’s become known in the twitterverse, will also likely face questions on this remarkable-for-so-many-reasons essay that ran across the Sun news chain this morning, which alleges that his former deputy chief of staff, Patrick Muttart, attempted to plant, via his former PMO colleague Kory Teneycke, now Quebecor’s vice-president of business development, a photo that purported to show Liberal Leader Michael Igntieff quite literally on the front lines of the Iraq war in 2002.

Yeah, that one left some of us scratching our head as well — particularly the suggestion that the endeavour was a deliberate attempt by the Conservative Party to kill the credibility of Quebecor’s nascent all-news channel. I’ve sent a query to the Conservative War Room asking whether Muttart has any role within the current campaign – formal or informal, paid or unpaid — and whether they were aware of his alleged dealings with SunTV. I’ll let you know what I hear back! (Last response, an hour or so ago, was “Checking”.)
UPDATE: And here’s that response from the Conservative War Room: 
The campaign provided Sun Media with information that had been acquired during Internet research, namely a photograph described as that of Mr. Ignatieff. The campaign made clear to Sun Media that the identity in the photograph could not be verified and that our own efforts to verify the photograph had been exhausted. Sun Media informed us that it would conduct its own verification and due diligence. Sun Media concluded that the identity could not be verified. The Sun made the right decision.
Case closed? Oh, somehow I doubt that – but let’s watch and see how the day unfolds, shall we? 

Here’s the longer — and still in progress of unfolding, as it turns out — version of events via Storify:

  • It started with this tweet, courtesy of the always indispensable early-rising National Newswatch, who linked to the aforementioned essay by QMI chairman Pierre Karl eladeau that ran across the Sun chain today: 
  • Wow! Pierre Karl Peladeau: #CPC planted info on Ignatieff.. says it should concern Canadians http://bit.ly/g0cIH1 #cdnpoli #elxn41

  • My first reaction (which I stand by, for the record, and take all comers who may try to argue otherwise):
  • Okay, this morning is already completely and utterly bizarre. #elxn41

  • It didn’t take long to figure out that this would require another bright-eyed and bushy-tailed query to the Conservative War Room to clarify their role, if any, in what Peladeau alleges, in his essay, was a deliberate attempt to damage the credibility of both the Liberal Leader and QMI itself:
  • Wait. so Patrick Muttart planted that ridiculous Ignatieff story that SunTV ran with for an entire day on behalf of #CPC?

  • Wow. Okay, so that was pretty sleazy of #CPC, I have to say. RT : and provided a picture too!

  • I am assuming even my most unabashedly partisan Conservative friends will concur on that one.

  • What the PKP essay reveals, however, is the risk of giving your VP for business development so much power over editorial decisions, imo.

  • Particularly if said VP is being fed stories by his former co-PMO staffer in the midst of an election campaign.

  • Well, three weeks ago. So beginning of the midst. RT : To be fair, it was well before the midst. So that’s okay.

  • To find out whether Muttart had, in fact, been working on behalf of the Conservative campaign when he offered the material to Kory Teneycke, I sent a query to the war room communications hub:

    Was the Conservative Party aware that Patrick Muttart was attempting to pass on a photo purported to be of the Liberal leader in Kuwait in 2002?

    Does Patrick Muttart have any current role in the campaign – paid or unpaid, formal or informal, on location or from the US?

    What is your response to the allegations being made by Quebecor head PKP that this was a deliberate attempt by his party to destroy the reputation of his news organization?

    That’ll do for now!

  • While waiting for a reply, I wondered about the story that had the Sun had, in fact, decided to run with, apparently at least partly based on information that was apparently contained in the same “report” provided to Kory Teneycke by Patrick Muttart:
  • Okay, now — what about the equally bogus story on Ignatieff as ‘armchair general” that Sun DID run with, as debunked by ?

  • For those who missed it, ‘s complete&utter debunking of Ignatieff-as-armchair-general story Sun DID run: http://eye.ca/ZOh

  • Meanwhile, Glen McGregor was back on the case as well:
  • That’s interesting, because ‘s story about MI and Iraq used almost exactly the same language http://bit.ly/iaZ9AL

  • Look at the language in PKP’s editorial — “Ignatieff was in fact on the front lines” — v. similar to that in story.

  • A few minutes later, the Conservative War Room — or #CPCWarRoom, as it is now known on twitter, got back to me with its response, in which they confirmed that the photo had been provided to Sun Media by the Conservative campaign, thus mooting the (in fairness, not entirely baseless) assumption that the party would attempt to distance itself from Muttart’s dealings with the chain:


    The campaign provided Sun Media with information that had been acquired during Internet research, namely a photograph described as that of Mr. Ignatieff. The campaign made clear to Sun Media that the identity in the photograph could not be verified and that our own efforts to verify the photograph had been exhausted. Sun Media informed us that it would conduct its own verification and due diligence. Sun Media concluded that the identity could not be verified. The Sun made the right decision.

     

  • I reported the unexpectedly prompt – and, at least on first glance, surprisingly categorical — response back to the twitterverse, along with one or two observations that occurred to me as I was processing this latest bit of information:
  • Hey, so guess what? #CPCWarRoom just replied to my query – yes, it WAS the #CPC campaign that attempted to plant the photo with QMI! #elxn41

  • It appears there may be a slight difference in the account of what transpired btwn #CPCWarRoom and QMI, but… #elxn41

  • .. #CPCWarRoom believes that Sun Media “made the right decision,” #elxn41

  • As per PKP’s account: “Finally, after putting on a lot of pressure, Teneycke received the higher resolution picture” #elxn41

  • But according to #CPCWarRoom: “The campaign made clear to Sun Media that the identity in the photograph could not be verified ..” #elxn41

  • Load more
  • [View the story “Here’s how it went down on twitter. ” on Storify]

    UPDATE: Statement from Mercury LLC, released on Canada Newswire April 27, 2011:

    Statement From Mercury LLC in Response to a Column by Pierre-Karl Peladeau

    NEW YORK, April 27, 2011 /CNW/ — Opposition research is a fundamental and essential element of every successful political campaign and the practice of campaigns sharing opposition research with journalists and media organizations is common the world over. Ultimately journalists and media organizations conduct their own research and make their own decisions about what to cover and what not to cover.

    Initially, Patrick Muttart provided Sun Media with multi-point verbal overviews concerning Michael Ignatieff and the War in Iraq. Later, he provided additional material at Sun Media’s request. Sun Media used much of the information he provided. At no point did Muttart tell Sun Media that he had positively identified Ignatieff in the photo in question. And at no time did Muttart mislead, or intend to mislead Sun Media, in his provision of information to them.

    The most disappointing assertion in Mr. Peladeau’s column is his “belief” that Muttart sought to “damage the integrity and credibility of Sun Media and, more pointedly, that of our new television operation, Sun News.”

    This assertion is false and downright bizarre.

    For the record, Mercury was hired by Quebecor to assist Sun News with its pre-license branding and positioning. Muttart worked with a creative agency to develop the network’s original logo (a modified version is currently in use). And he was the original source for the network’s “hard news” and “straight talk” framing language. Even after Mercury’s engagement with Sun News came to an end, Muttart was asked for and provided pro bono feedback on the network’s graphics and on-air promotional spots. Muttart was so committed to the success of Sun News he proactively reached out to a number of current, former and prospective clients about advertising on Sun News and facilitated a number of introductions. Again, he did this pro bono as a supporter of Sun News.

    All things considered, it is ironic indeed that Sun Media has chosen to attack Patrick Muttart.

    Tags: another one under the bus, blackberry jungle, #CPCWarRoom, dirtytrickwatch, patrick muttart’s last stand?

    via cbc.ca

    yeah…SunMedia sucks

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