I haven’t done a lot of research about Clarence Mitchell. I particularly dislike the man, so the little I did was a very unpleasant experience.
No one is without qualities. Some do challenge this notion, but no one ever is. Without qualities.
Gerry McCann, for example, is able to stand on his own two feet without help and Kate, his beloved faithful wife, does knows so much about what I know, judging by the amount of times I’ve heard her say “y’know”.
Even if there isn’t much to be discovered, doing any researching on Clarence was evidently an agonizing painful process, wish I pray I won’t have to repeat. I got to know that he was a Media Monitor, a director at that, for the British Government at the time of Maddie’s demise and as of somewhere in May/June 2007 became the spokesman /PR for the McCann couple.
I think there isn’t much else to know. To confirm that, I picked up the following summary from my “Totally-Reliable-Maddie-Related-Bullock-Research-Centre”, also known as The Sun, on this character:
“The making of a media expert From TV to Madeleine, and beyond
- 1962 Born and educated in north-west London. Tries working in a bank after school but hates it.
- 1982 Joins Hendon and Finchley Times as a trainee reporter, which brings him into contact with the local MP, Margaret Thatcher. "To see the Prime Minister sweep into the office with Special Branch while you are writing up the latest golden wedding is quite an experience."
- 1985 Shift work on Sunday Express.
- 1986 Joins the BBC in Sheffield as a radio reporter, before going on to television in Leeds with Look North.
- 1989 Breakfast News in London, then "fireman" sent where needed, including extensive war reporting.
- 1999 Made a BBC News presenter.
- 2005 Joins Civil Service as director of Downing St Media Monitoring Unit.
- May 2007 Sent to Portugal to help with press attention in the McCann case.
I love the “tries working in a bank after school but hates it” Incompetents usually use the “hatred” or “boredom” excuses to hide, mainly from themselves, the harsh reality of being what they are, so this reveals, to me, up-front a personal trait of being totally inapt in anything that he engages on, and which he keeps on confirming.
One can only wonder how can ANYONE possibly deduce anywhere from this “brilliant” CV a “Media Expert”, but from The Sun, anything can be expected. Unsurprisingly it’s the case.
A Media Monitor is not a Media Expert. He keeps his activity to monitoring information in the media, doesn’t produce it, manipulate it or even influence it in any way. It’s his boss who determines what he has and is to read.
A hound sent out to chase the fox while the boss sits his butt in an expensive saddle all pretty and posh in his red jacket. He reads (and watches) all that is written (and shown) about the boss (like blogs as this one), especially the subjects determined by the boss, sifts all the information gathered and reports, as ordered, to the boss whatever the boss has told him to report about.
Pretty simple, with no particular expertise or any kind special qualification required. He is not even a journalist. Can be, but is not required to be one. He just reads what journalists (sorry to the real ones, but here I’m also including tabloid writers) and bloggers write.
That’s it. Like any toilet-seat-warmer, doing something that the boss doesn’t want to do or doesn’t have time or patience for. And a toilet-seat-warmer is no toilet expert, as a Media Monitor is certainly not an expert on media.
At best, he’s an expert in speed reading or paragraph summarizing. Or, by experience, on the quality of the paper in which the news are printed on.
So, seeing written on a British newspaper by, I imagine, a British journalist, that Clarence Mitchell is a media expert, reveals quite a lot about the British Media itself.
It’s as if the Nobel Academy considered, officially, that Homer Simpson was one of its most respected members. Quite clarifying, I must say.
You can tell a lot about someone not only from the people around him, but mostly from those he CHOOSES to have around. We know how the Maddie affair has shown about the quality of some of the Portuguese media and the ENTIRE British one.
Clarence Mitchell is nothing but a glamorized average-to-below-average bloke catapulted to stardom on qualifications that he doesn’t merit, have or is able to have. That is called being LUCKY.
It would be stupidly cruel to criticize him on that. Many have been given chances that they haven’t deserved, and are not obviously asked to decline, although that would be the wisest of decisions in the majority of the cases, as this case exemplifies.
The problem with Clarence is that he’s convinced that he is what they say he is, when he’s only the opposite. He thinks he’s an added value when, in fact, he’s a hindering splint on a sprinter’s calf.
Let’s forget, for a minute, that it was even mentioned ever that he was a “Media Expert”.
Let us just focus on him being the McCann spokesman. The couple’s very own Public Relations man. As if the couple was a major conglomerate able to afford one on their payroll, which is exceptional by all standards. Not even the millionaire-national-hero Charles Lindbergh had one after his child disappeared.
So, is he doing a good job as PR? Ask the McCanns. Sorry, I forgot that they are unable to tell the truth from that decisive moment on that fateful evening in which Kate accepted the whole scheme that was to ensure that ALL would get off the hook. So, yes, they are very satisfied, and yes, that laughter in the background is mine.
Let’s start with his attire. Everyone is free to dress as they will. With the exception of those who’ve voluntarily chose to be exposed to the public eye for professional or glamourful reasons. These aren’t. They have to make the CORRECT choices in attire.
It’s as a valid professional tool as any other. Whoever told Clarence that pinks looked good on him, likes him even less than I do, and if it was an inner voice, I maintain what I just said. There is a very thin line between being bold and being ridiculous. It requires a certain sensibility and sensitivity which the Americans refer as “it” and the French as the “je ne sais pas quoi”. It’s a common trait amongst gay men (that’s why so many are designers) but not exclusive to people with that particular sexual option.
If you see someone wearing bright colors in a variety of materials and look desirable, he’s got it. If he looks ridiculous, he hasn’t. And by all means I’m not saying that Clarence isn’t gay. Just stating that he has no taste whatsoever in clothes. Clarence Mitchell is a total fashion disaster in any way, gender or sexual option you happen to be looking from. He wouldn’t even make the “worst-dressed” list, because this is made for people with bad taste, not for those with no taste at all.
It’s supposed to be his job to look good, or to not to be looked at, at all. He’s unable to do either.
Let’s now move forward and forget looks. Let us look for competence. After all, that is what really matters. A PR is an Information Manager. Analyzes what he has to work with and designs all the required strategies and tactics to achieve the outcome that he has determined will best express success.
The number ONE rule in Information Management (IM) is that you manage it, you’re NOT it. You make the news, you’re NOT the news. See immediately where Clarence is a total nincompoop?
Let me give an example of a good PR: whoever got Senator Barack Obama elected. Do you know the person? Exactly. But do try to hire him. He was worth his weight in gold before the US election. Now his price has gone up threefold.
I do realize that the Senator was/is a pretty good material to work with in terms of IM, and you do certainly get to sweat it out to get anything decent out of the McCanns, but if it’s them you have, it’s with them that you have to work with. That’s what you get paid to do, to extract the best of what you have, not of what you could’ve had.
Oh, you say that he’s a Spokesman, not a PR. Ok, lets go down that path too. I’ll use the US Presidency once again. How many times have you seen the U.S. President’s Spokesman answering questions from the Press with the President standing behind him? Or even in the same room? How many times have you seen ANY political spokesman speaking to the press with those he represents behind him?
A Spokeman speaks on behalf of someone when, and ONLY when, that particular someone for some reason is unable to do so himself. Because he has more important things to do, such is the case of the US President, or because he’s in grief, such should be the case of a parent of a kidnapped child.
You DO NOT have a spokesman just because you can afford one, is fashionable or looks cool. You do that, and it backfires: Clarence Mitchell. In the case of a grieving parent of a kidnapped child, the choice for a spokesman befalls usually upon the Police. Not because the parent may or may not afford an “expert spokesman” but because it’s required a trained professional to handle such sensitive information.
The kidnappers are watching and all words and facial expressions must be carefully chosen, and that is a job for the Police, certainly not for an “I’m-too-sexy-for-my-body-kind-a-guy”.
About this, to the best of me recollection, the only time I remember the McCanns addressing Maddie’s supposed kidnappers, was in an unconvincing emotionless reading of words written down on a piece of paper.
All appeals, the real emotional ones, were made to the “general public”, those who were able to help Maddie (who her parents miss beyond words or ACTION) by contributing to the Infamous Fraudulent Fund, also known as the “Brian-Kennedy-you-got-had Fund”.
To watch Clarence Mitchell speaking on behalf of a couple that stands right behind him was an incomprehensible spectacle, a stupid exercise of human behavior. Only justified if the couple wasn’t to be trusted to speak directly to the Press, which was not the case as they spoke by themselves on numerous other occasions.
It was simply the horrific result of a misjudgment by an incompetent man, Clarence Mitchell, doing the best he is able to do. I might, one day, tell you how I would conduct, were I in Clarence’s shoes, the McCann affair.
Let me summarize for now that it would involve abandonment of the scene of the crime at the earliest possible time, and a lot of negotiating, involving all, from the criminals to the politicians, on who was to take the fall, if such became necessary. And most importantly, all was to be done in the lowest of profiles.
No media at all. Just a small news-release, if handling the situation from Day1, or, after Sky News picked up the story, doing the best to downsize it to an ongoing Police investigation. Take the punishment, contain the damage. If things well conducted, the punishment would be slight and the damage imperceptible.
No Fund whatsoever. That was an unnecessarily greedy mistake.
But no, the Media Circus option was the one taken. I do understand that the British Government only realized how serious the situation was in late May. But when you’re in a tight spot you call McGyver, not Mr. Bean.
Trusting Clarence with the job was turning an unpleasant situation into a major disaster. And that was exactly what he was able to achieve. Now, a man can only be asked to do what he’s able to do. And when one works one’s ass off to the best of one’s ability but is only able to achieve failure, is one really to blame?
Clarence is incompetent not by his will, but for lack of competent skills for the job he was given. Like if you ask someone to drive a Formula 1 car in a championship race without having a driver’s license, you cannot expect him to get the car till the first curve, much less to do one full lap.
To be mandated with such a task would be very UNLUCKY. And that’s exactly what they’ve asked Clarence to do. They’ve given this poor, pompous and vain man a humungous unachievable task.
To hear that he manipulates news doesn’t make me laugh, only brings me a pitiful smile.
Now let’s look at his status today. He’s loathed by any human being that has heard of Maddie. Even the supporters who feel he has done a pretty bad job. He’s hated by the McCanns, who are stuck in this fixed “forced marriage” with this bloke, and how they wish they could get rid of him, he’s got the “plague” as no serious journalist wants to be seen around him, he’s despised by those who’ve paid his salary for although he isn’t the responsible one, he has decisively contributed to the ill-spending of their money.
Pretty lonely place to be, isn’t it Clarence? That’s why he's aged so much lately. Looking back, I wonder who convinced him to leave the Civil Service and accept this ruinous job.
I can only think that someone saw an opportunity to get rid of him and took it.
Probably the same person who told him that pink was the color to go for… And that person is still celebrating to this day…
(I thought I would leave you this post before a left toward the sunset… see ya!)