Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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oneh2obabe
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Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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Tonda MacCharles
Robert Benzie
Ottawa bureau

Facing charges of political sabotage by the powerful head of Sun Media Corporation in the dying days of the campaign, the Conservative Party denied wrongdoing but cut ties with a key political strategist.

Jason Lietaer, a Conservative spokesman, confirmed that Patrick Muttart, key architect behind the party’s election victories in 2006 and 2008 who worked on contract with the 2011 campaign from his Chicago home, would have “no further role” in the Conservative campaign.

Though Lietaer denied Muttart had behaved improperly in forwarding a dubious story and photo to Sun News, word of Muttart’s dismissal came just hours after Sun Media lashed out at the Conservatives.

Sun Media president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau wrote an extraordinary editorial in Wednesday’s Sun accusing Muttart of having funneled a photo to hurt the Liberal leader, but which Peladeau suggested was a deliberate plant to damage his fledgling conservative broadcast network.

“It is my belief that this planted information was intended to first and foremost seriously damage Michael Ignatieff's campaign but in the process to damage the integrity and credibility of Sun Media and, more pointedly, that of our new television operation, Sun News,” Peladeau wrote.

Peladeau said Muttart passed the dubious photo to Sun News vice-president Kory Teneycke, Harper’s former communications director.

Muttart also supplied information compiled by an “American source” that suggested Ignatieff helped the U.S. military with its advance planning for the 2003 Iraq invasion. The Sun ran with the story, but not the photo.

Peladeau did not retract any of the information in the story though it has been dismissed by the Liberals and discredited by another news agency. But he did run the dubious photo over Wednesday’s accusation, and used the incident to burnish his fledgling network’s credentials.

“If any proof is needed to dispel the false yet still prevalent notion that Sun Media and the Sun News Network are the official organs of the Conservative Party of Canada, I offer this unfortunate episode as Exhibit A.”

Muttart had not commented by midday Wednesday.

A Woodstock, Ont. native, Muttart was former deputy chief of staff to Harper. He moved to Chicago in 2009 with his wife to work with an American public affairs group but continued to work on contract for the Harper-led Conservatives.

Muttart, father of a six-month-old, had been scheduled to work out of the party’s national headquarters in Ottawa, but had not come to the nation’s capital since the campaign began.

Lietaer, a Conservative spokesman, defended Muttart’s move in offering the information to Sun News, and flatly denied the Conservative campaign had any intention of undermining the Sun Network’s credibility.

“We put this photo – found it on the Internet – put it in front of reporters, made it clear that we hadn’t verified and couldn’t verify that it was Michael Ignatieff. This kind of stuff happens all the time. We take responsibility for doing that. The Sun, to their credit, did their due diligence, found out it wasn’t Michael Ignatieff and didn’t run the story.”

He could not, however, explain why Muttart would then be dismissed from further campaign work, declining to discuss staffing matters.

The incident has rattled the Tory campaign with Muttart loyalists feeling he was unfairly treated by both the party and the Sun.

They insist he would never have disseminated information he knew to be false and that the Sun should have checked it before publishing a speculative story.

There is also concern that Teneycke, a one-time Harper insider, would “burn” a trusted former colleague as a source, said one Muttart friend.

Muttart was knocking on doors at 16 for the federal Progressive Conservatives in the 1988 campaign. He worked in Preston Manning's Reform party, and on provincial Progressive Conservative campaigns.

A public affairs communications strategist at Toronto's Navigator firm, he joined Harper's team in the party's war room during the 2004 campaign, where he worked on the “scripting” of the daily message plan for Harper.

He impressed campaign director Tom Flanagan and Harper with a bluntly worded post-mortem analysis of all that went wrong, and he went on to become Harper's political adviser.

An avid follower of conservative political campaigns abroad, including in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Australia, Muttart borrowed tactics and philosophy, and moved to rebrand the Conservative party as a mainstream movement and to distance it from its right-wing Reform roots.
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Al Czervic
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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If only the CBC would take these issues so seriously....
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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removed - Jennylives
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Tacklewasher
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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Wouldn't be so bad if there was a link to the article. Hate it when the copy and paste doesn't link back to where it was found.
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daria
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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Tacklewasher wrote:Wouldn't be so bad if there was a link to the article. Hate it when the copy and paste doesn't link back to where it was found.


Google is your friend :127: .

Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media
Don't take my silence to mean I've agreed with you; I easily could've just lost interest in explaining how wrong you are.
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oneh2obabe
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

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Tonda MacCharles and Robert Benzie
Staff Reporters

OTTAWA—Facing charges of political sabotage by the powerful head of Sun Media Corporation, the Conservative Party has denied wrongdoing but cut ties with a key political strategist.

The move was made to distance the Stephen Harper campaign from what Sun Media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau claimed was a dirty trick — the leak of an incriminating photo and damaging information that said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had aided U.S. military planners in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion. The photo, forwarded to Sun Media vice-president Kory Teneycke — another former Harper aide — wasn’t of Ignatieff.

The strategist, Patrick Muttart, did not comment Wednesday. But sources close to him said he is “furious” at having been cavalierly tossed aside by the Harper campaign.

Rattled Conservative insiders, who spoke only on background, said Muttart, a former deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper and senior political operative, was treated badly by both the party and the Sun. Some blamed campaign director Guy Giorno.

complete article
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/poli ... un-debacle
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The Green Barbarian
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

Post by The Green Barbarian »

The media is still trying hard to manufacture a scandal here that doesn't exist. Evan Solomon on CBC Newsworld kind of summed it up for me when he said something to the effect yesterday about how "a lot of people are saying this isn't a news story but we're going to talk about it anyway" - right of course you are Evan, any chance to show the Conservatives in a bad light and you CBC guys jump on it.
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Al Czervic
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Re: Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

Post by Al Czervic »

The Green Barbarian wrote:The media is still trying hard to manufacture a scandal here that doesn't exist. Evan Solomon on CBC Newsworld kind of summed it up for me when he said something to the effect yesterday about how "a lot of people are saying this isn't a news story but we're going to talk about it anyway" - right of course you are Evan, any chance to show the Conservatives in a bad light and you CBC guys jump on it.



It is kind of funny how the supposedly “ultra-partisan” Sun news media network actually acted with far more integrity in dealing with this issue then the CBC ever has. Small wonder the CBC was not to quick to criticize because the Sun’s response to this put the CBC to shame. Hell the CBC won’t even release a report on their own self investigated bias.
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