NEWS: SAGB denies links with pro-gun PR consultant

The newly-formed gun lobby The Sportsman’s Association of Great Britain (SAGB) has angrily distanced itself from a public relations consultant who urged supporters to launch a smear campaign against Snowdrop - the anti-gun group formed in the wake of the Dunblane massacre.

The newly-formed gun lobby The Sportsman’s Association of Great Britain

(SAGB) has angrily distanced itself from a public relations consultant

who urged supporters to launch a smear campaign against Snowdrop - the

anti-gun group formed in the wake of the Dunblane massacre.



Last Sunday’s Observer reported that Marcus Harrison, who it described

as a founder member of the SAGB, has been using the Internet to urge gun

owners to dig for dirt on their ‘enemies’ - namely anti-gun groups such

as Snowdrop.



The article quoted from Harrison’s Internet material, where he states:

‘As a professional communicator I know how to distort information and

manipulate facts’. Speaking directly to the Observer, Harrison claimed

this was ‘standard PR practice’.



However, Mike Yardley, a leading shooting journalist who claims to be

the official spokesman for SAGB, along with its chairman, Albie Fox

declares: ‘The article is completely inaccurate. It describes Harrison

as a founder member of SAGB, which he is not; it calls him a leading

target shooter, which he is not; and it claims his comments have plunged

the new shooters’ rights group into crisis, which is also a fantasy. We

have had 30,000 applications for membership in just two weeks.’



‘To call Harrison a founder member of the SAGB is misleading,’ said

Yardley. ‘This story has done harm to the association and its

membership.’



When PR Week asked Harrison about his credentials as an SAGB member and

spokesman, he replied, ‘I told the Observer I’d applied for membership a

few days earlier and I reiterated that I was an individual who didn’t

belong to any groups.’



In his Internet posting Harrison claims to be ‘a professional

writer/director/producer with 20 years experience in

marketing/PR/advertising communications; working on everything from

selling chocolates and colas to Rolls Royce cars’, but when questioned

about his PR credentials Harrison said he had always been freelance and

couldn’t reveal which companies he had worked for.



Defending his definition of public relations as distortion and

manipulation he said: ‘It is par for the course, information is

information.’



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