Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shouldn't Have Started That One; Or NBCD Should Be Fired

Well, it looks like I've made a rather big mistake here. I really caused a mess with the now infamous Time To Fire Brad Lavigne, NDP Communications Director post.

It started a great firestorm on the Blogging Dippers, caused people to create blogs, and resulted in a negative article on Macleans.

And when James Laxer, a Liberal apologist that is still angry at the NDP for clamping down his 1970's ultra-left "party-within-a-party", agreed with me, I knew I just made a major mistake.

So, I'm doing to analyze just what happened here.

Apology to Brad Lavigne

First of all, I'd like to apologize to Brad Lavinge. First of all, I was working off of faulty information; being that Lavinge was the Director of Communications for Canada's NDP. That information, of course, came straight to me from the NDP Website; I'll talk more about that later.

So, while I'm still not really that impressed with Lavinge and his attitude towards the media, some of the evidence that I thought could be used as justification for his firing actually occurred under Joanne Deer's watch.

Breakdown of, or Selective, Communications

Some of what happened in the past couple of days can be attributed to a break down of communication. Before this, who knew that Joanne Deer was Director of Communications for Canada's NDP since October? While, certainly, not I, because the website still said that Lavinge was the Director of Communications under media contacts.

But that leaves me wondering: what if somebody from the media phoned expecting Lavinge and got Deer instead? Wouldn't that indicate disrespect for the media, or the the very least, incompetence?

Another thing that really inflamed the situation and made it worse was Deer's selective communications. When she issued the correction, there was only one blogger who received it: Devin Johnston. The thing is, every blogger that was involved tended to have public e-mails. My e-mail is public under my profile, and it would have taken a few more seconds to send an email.

The Power of Blogs

Another thing that this situation really showed was how powerful blogs are. I mean look at what happened. I wrote a short criticism of the NDP, as I tend to do every once in a while, to the purpose of improving its operation. Bloggers in the other parties do this too; it shows that they are human and not partisan machines. Anyways, that criticism spread all over the Blogging Dippers and finally into the Macleans website.

And, I have to say, the Macleans article was fair. It represented mine and other positions perfectly, and ensured that the change of Communications Directors was noted. It is really ironic, that a message by part time bloggers was more clear in the media than one released to the NDP by the professionals.

I didn't think that news of my post would go that far. I mean, who thought that many people even read my blog. I honestly didn't mean for it to go this far.

Still A Communications Problem

However, I'm not going to give up on my contention that the NDP Communications Department should be reorganized. There still remains the fact that Communications, as of late, have been terrible. Afghanistan should not have been made a major communications plank in the first place, as foreign affairs issues don't really attract many votes, but certainly stop people from taking a second look. When the Afghanistan issue was released, it should have been done with more clarity. The NDP's position on Afghanistan is still vague to many people, due to a failure in communications. These problems will not go away, and should be corrected.

Conclusion

Well, there are a few positive notes here.

If the NDP had any doubts about the power of bloggers , they should be gone now. I hope that they are beginning to create new strategy over this, and suggestions from bloggers like Devin Johnston will be invaluable.

Secondly, this didn't happen during an election. Hopefully, people will forget about it in weeks.

Finally, I need to be careful on what I say. I know now that things can reach a bigger audience.

5 comments:

Devin Johnston said...

NBCD,

Don't worry... we all make blog posts we later regret. I called Dianne Haskett a "bigot" and had to spent the next week or two doing damage control.

At any rate, I think that it is important for the "grassroots" members of the party to keep the paid staff and elected leaders accountable and to expose them to new ideas that will move the party forward. The internet provides the perfect opportunity for this.

At any rate, I'm currently working on a proposal for the NDP regarding a new online strategy. It's not going to cover all of the issues that you raised in your post (for example, I don't plan on talking about messaging at all, just the medium,) but I would definitely welcome any ideas or sugggestions that you have to offer.

The link explains more in depth what I'm looking to do and what I'm looking for in terms of ideas from the blogosphere.

Solidarity,
Devin

Kenn Chaplin said...

NBCD,

Your original post on this matter got us talking, i.e. blogging, which was interesting to watch to say the least.

That Maclean's was reading along reminds us that potential candidates, for example, always need to be mindful as they write about stuff, unlike this latest dust-up, that might influence a national campaign :)

In your heart of hearts, and those of other Blogging Dippers, I believe is a wish for the party yo better use the internet, specifically blogging.

The discussion you started got short-handed, by the MSM it should be noted, as "turning on their own". We know there was a lot more to it than that.

Cheers,
Kenn

VW said...

NBCD:

What do you mean, you want people to forget about it?

On the contrary, you want people to remember it. You want people to remember your points, so that they can be discussed.

Think about it: if you hadn't blogged about it, the problem wouldn't have gotten the attention it needed, at places like Maclean's which the brass pay attention to. So what mistake did you think you made?

Northern BC Dipper said...

VW:

No, I don't particularly want people to forget that there is a problem. But at the same time, I don't particular want it to impact the NDP too much. I want to fix what's wrong, not make it worse, and while the Maclean's article did get the attention of the NDP brass, it got the attention of everybody else too. The fact that it went too far was the mistake.

To slightly change the conclusion of your blog post on the subject: Frankly I can't live with dipper discomfiture.

dave said...

I agree that the NDP really, REALLY needs to start making use of the power of the netroots. But how come nobody called Brad Levinge up to chat with him before calling for him to be fired?

A greater focus needs to be put on building relationships all around. The relationships are necessary in order to move forward.