Monday, June 25, 2007

OK, time for a bit of straight talking.

To my detractors. Let's get a few things straight shall we?
I am getting a lot of abuse, threats and obscene messages because of my attacks on the McCanns. Fair enough, I cop that because I knew the risk I was taking when I decided to go public. I suggest the McCanns and their supporters take the same attitude.

The couple took a deliberate decision to go public, in the same way they took a deliberate decision to leave three small children unsupervised on numerous occasions. It doesn't matter if it is me or the McCanns, when you go public - you run the risk of scrutiny and judgement. In fact the media have said much the same thing when defending their own actions in the past. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

I mention the attacks on myself because I find it highly ironic - and rather a sad reflection on the state of the world - that someone who speaks out against people who neglect their children, becomes the villain of the issue.

Next. I may not be a successful business man mainly because of the way I choose to operate - but I do know a few things about communication skills and image consultancy.

If a messengers target audience gets the wrong perception, it is not the fault of that audience - it is the fault of the messenger and/or those who advise their clients.

To a highly significant number of people not only in the UK, but also Australia, the US, poor bloody Portugal which is being vilified for the negligence of the McCanns, and every other country where this issue is being covered, the McCann's come across as insincere, uncaring, smug, patronising, money-grubbing and more willing to blame everyone else for their plight, than accept any degree of responsibility. Many of their statements do not stand up to close scrutiny - eroding their credibility even more.

That is not the fault of their target audience - it is the fault of the McCanns and their advisors.

Do you really think a father who continually spells his missing daughter's name incorrectly and fails to do anything about it, is a text book example of Public Relations or Image management? Attempts by media managers to address issues that are causing concern, merely add to the damage because the tactic is so bloody obvious.

Despite what the "powers that be", may think. John and Jane Doe are not stupid. In this day of easy access to news and information, people are more enquiring, more likely to ask questions and seek answers.

You are no longer dealing with a society that believes everything they have been told, because for one thing, society has been betrayed too many times by the media and the authorities. The McCanns are selling a message and the public are studying the small print.

I don't know if the McCanns are involved in all this. I ask and raise questions.

I bet you want to ask me a question don't you? "Mr Hitchen, if it turns out the McCanns are totally innocent of any involvement in the matter of their daughter, how will you feel?"

I will tell you how I will feel. Even if they are proved to be innocent of any involvement other than leaving their children unattended, I will the same as I feel now.

Do you want to know what that is? Utter, undiluted contempt for two people who knowingly and deliberately risked their children's lives night after night for the sake of a piss up with their mates. And if my actions have heaped any punishment upon these two, then I have no regrets whatsoever.

One last thing. Would you please stop telling me that the McCanns went to eminent universities. So did Philby, Burgess and McLean. They betrayed their country.

The McCanns betrayed their daughter.