On Sunday October 26th, CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi released a message via Facebook about his firing from the CBC. At the time, it appeared the message was genuinely written by him and was a sincere appeal to his fan base.
However upon further examination of the message, it appears the message was most likely carefully crafted by Ghomeshi under the guidance of a public relations firm.
Here are 5 indicators his message was carefully calculated and crafted under the guidance of a public relations firm:
#1 – Timing of delivery
There’s a saying in marketing and public relations, “the first message gets remembered” and that’s why Ghomeshi released the message about his firing before the CBC or the newspapers could release information about his firing. Ghomeshi’s Facebook message was bold and detailed. The message was delivered out of the blue and got everyone’s attention. Ghomeshi made sure his side of the story was going to be heard by as many people as possible before any other news about his firing was released.
#2 – Protagonist vs. Antagonist
It’s human nature to get drawn into narratives with a hero and enemy or a protagonist and antagonist. Ghomeshi attempts to use this to his advantage by painting himself the protagonist in his message and the ex-girlfriend, freelance journalist and CBC as the antagonists.
For example, Ghomeshi associated protagonist words with a positive connotation such “soldier”, “honored” and “love” to describe himself or his feelings in his Facebook message. While using antagonist and negative words such as “colluding”, “demonizing” and “attack” to describe the ex-girlfriend, freelance journalist or CBC.
#3 – Appealed to emotion
It’s human nature to root for the underdog and be sympathetic to a victim’s plight. There are key instances in Ghomeshi’s Facebook message where he appeals to the reader’s emotion, plays the victim and tries to garner sympathy. For example, he began his Facebook message mentioning that he’s “reeling from the loss of father” and he’s “in deep personal pain”.
Ghomeshi’s uses sentences such as “I have lost my job based on a campaign of vengeance” in an attempt to garner sympathy from the reader; that is, we tend to sympathize with someone when they’ve been robbed or unfairly treated.
#4 – Use of the word “consent”
Ghomeshi’s best strategy is to prove that his rough sexual behaviour was consensual for all parties involved. If Ghomeshi can prove that his sexual partners consented to his rough behaviour his case against the CBC for wrongful dismissal will become stronger.
After the sentence “Forgive me if what follows may be shocking to some” Ghomeshi carefully used the word consent (or some form of the word consent) nine times; more than any other word other than “a”, “and”, “the” and “I” etc.
#5 – Made it relatable
The majority of people who read Ghomeshi’s Facebook message would find his comments about his bedroom behaviour unpalatable and misaligned with commonly held values.
Ghomeshi carefully counteracted the judgement that people would pass on his bedroom behaviour by mentioning his relationship with his ex-girlfriend as a “mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey or a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year.”
Essentially, he’s saying “Don’t judge me. Lots of people like Fifty Shades of Grey, and in a way, I’m not wrong or a bad person for liking rough sex-play”
What do you think?
Was Jian Ghomeshi’s Facebook message a sincere and genuine expression of his side of the story? Or was it a carefully calculated public relations and marketing piece?