Coming a week after The Sunday Times’ revelations about Peter Cruddas’ ‘cash for access' meetings with undercover reporters, Staite Communications founder Ed Staite has spoken out about a similar operation carried out against him, as reported in last Sunday’s newspaper.
Staite told PRWeek: ‘When I received the email containing the allegations from The Sunday Times I felt utterly sick.’ Staite added that he then began to rebut what he has claimed are ‘flimsy’ allegations against him.
Staite was filmed by undercover journalists posing as donors who wanted to influence Chancellor George Osborne. He is reported to have told the potential donors claiming to be from a City fund that they could ‘communicate their priorities’ if they helped fund a ‘policy group’.
However, Staite pre-empted The Sunday Times story by placing a blog post last Friday that aimed to rebut the points put to him in an email from the reporter who performed the undercover sting.
On his blog, he claimed The Sunday Times’ allegations were ‘flimsy’ and ‘entrapment of the worst kind’.
Staite went on to tell PRWeek that he felt as though he had been ‘dragged into an ongoing war of attrition between the media and politicians’, and called for the PR industry to act as ‘mediators’, adding that ‘we could turn this threat to our reputations to our, and our clients', advantage’.
Staite has formerly worked at Fleishman-Hillard and Burson-Marsteller.
How I See It
Founder, Staite Communications
When I received the email containing the allegations from The Sunday Times I felt utterly sick. However my experience soon took over: I began to rebut the flimsy allegations through every means available to me.
I feel I was dragged into an ongoing war of attrition between the media and politicians. Donations, Leveson, the expenses row, lobbygate are all parts of a vicious, self-perpetuating, cycle. I’m not the first, and fear I won’t be the last, from the broad communications industry who have become collateral damage as the two sides snipe and undermine the other's reputation.
Those of us working in PR, and our colleagues in public affairs, are in a unique position of understanding the opposing camps better than anyone. The ongoing climate of distrust benefits no-one so, if our industry can act as mediators to find a solution and stop the damaging cycle of points scoring, we could turn this threat to our reputations to our, and our clients', advantage.