Sorry but I don’t give a rat’s pittoo about what Mayor Jim Watson thinks about the future of the former U.S. embassy.
And it’s not because I dislike Watson because I don’t. He is one of the most charming men you will ever meet. His air is disarming, informal and persuasive. When he talks to you, you think you are the only person in the room. He pays attention and knows how to flatter. Your agent could use a few of those traits.
But what Watson knows about Indigenous people centres, national portrait galleries, museums, fiscal responsibility, administration and money acumen you could put in a thimble and have lots of room for his vague expertise in baseball, hockey and football. Damn nice collection of hockey sweaters however. How do we know this? Because Watson is available for any media person with good news to tell and a feature story to write.
But kill a couple of people in the ByWard Market and His Worship takes a powder. He trots out his media person to issue a statement so his picture doesn’t appear in a gun-violence story when his actions on gun violence, despite all his noise, have done nothing to stop the carnage. In fact, the situation is getting worse. Two people dead in the market. Not good.
On the former U.S. embassy where the mayor has pronounced effusively, Watson does not have jurisdiction, no fiscal responsibility, no expertise, no skin in the game … absolutely nothing to do with the future of that controversial building. It’s a federal issue. It doesn’t matter what Watson thinks. Get it?
But there he is spouting on about something of which he knows absolutely nothing and for which has no responsibility. For people inside the media and not a few people outside it, Watson’s quotes on hockey sweaters, his photo-ops and his omnipresence in the media are embarrassing. Not for Watson, god bless ‘im, he’s just doing what he is absolutely brilliant at … getting re-elected. But this is journalism … really?
People sometimes wonder at The Bulldog’s preoccupation with Watson. It’s because he receives almost no critical media thought and because he is so ever-present in coverage, the mayor leaves no room for anything or anybody else.
Hey, how about that U.S. embassy? Ask Watson. How about that hockey playoff? Ask Watson. What about that break out of chapped lips around the city? Ask Watson.
The media go to Watson because he is perpetually available for good news and gives good quote. He’s easy.
Birds fly, fish swim, bears do-do in the woods and politicians grovel for good media. It’s what they do.
Maybe when the issue of museums or galleries appears, a reporter could ask an expert on museums or galleries. Or tourism. Or the Ottawa economy. Or architecture. Nope. Ask Watson … the universal expert on everything, though he’s not.
Break out. Ask someone who is responsible for the embassy about the future of the embassy. Not the mayor who has no power over it all.
There are lots of other phone numbers of people in the Rolodex whose names don’t start with “W”.
Give them a try.
Video above: Watson doing the PR thing. “How do you feel about skating, Your Worship.” This just in: “I feel fine.” More on this breaking story as events unfold.
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