Investigative Journalism is an art and websites like TMZ.com and journalists such as Ian Halperin and Perez Hilton are examples of stars in the world of investigative journalism. Their respective success is also proof that there is an appeal from the public for this kind of work.
It is not easy to do investigative journalism and one becomes essentially a kind of detective who has to play tricks to discover and obtain secret information. Sometimes it even go to the point of infiltration to be able to know the truth.
I did not often made investigative journalism for publication in the media, although any form of journalism is in itself an investigation. However, I have often used the technique of the investigator, especially when I was the executive assistant to Pierre Péladeau. A good manager should always “know” everything about his playground and, in this sense he is like an investigative journalist or a detective. The following personal anecdote illustrates that it is sometimes very useful to have the talent of a cop…
I was hired in April 2001 as press officer at the National Assembly of Quebec by a minister in the government of Bernard Landry and, after being welcomed by the team of the Minister in question, in the middle of afternoon of the first day, the chief of staff calls me into her office saying it was urgent … She did not went around the bush, someone had contacted the office and told her that she had to get rid of me or it would be very rough for the minister as they would do harm to him in the media. Who was this person? The chief of staff obviously did not want to say anything, but she confided to me that it was someone from Montreal and that I should look in the “large family” around Quebecor.
It was a shock to me. I got this job after having negotiated it during interviews, I was greeted by the staff of the Minister, I was presented to officials of the Ministry and other press officer in the Landry government and now, only a few hours after my appointment, I am told that I must leave because the Government was threatened!
I asked the Chief of Staff to discuss this situation with the Prime Minister Bernard Landry and I was convinced that he would defend me because he knew me as the one who have often served as an intermediary between him and Pierre Péladeau. Landry said he always had great respect and esteem for Péladeau, which for its part, as my former boss, had always enjoyed my job efficiency and he never hesitated to declare it publicly. My second surprise of the day was to learn, a few minutes later, that Bernard Landry wanted in no way interfere with this issue!
I had to return to Montreal and resign myself to make my own personal investigation if I wanted to get to the bottom of this story. It was not easy but I managed to trace the chain of events and I was able to identify who had asked for my dismissal.
I owe a lot of my success as a “detective” in this case to a friend, a retired policeman and former close colleague of Jacques Duchesneau, Chief of Police in Montreal (1994 to 1998). My retired friend has helped in my research by teaching me various police special technics that I did not know, to discover truth. Initially, I suspected a certain individual and our investigation revealed otherwise.
Unfortunately for me, I did not have the financial resources to prosecute the guilty. I had to console me in the hope that one day, “the life” will settle the account of this person who was attacking my reputation ! I have not confronted the guilty, nor revealed to him that I knew that he was the author of false rumors about me because I wanted to wait until the right time to do so when he would expect the least! A lawyer friend negotiated the payment of my “short” day work and I have forgotten the event, at least until the day when I will take my revenge ….
If I retain a conclusion is that the truth is rarely the one that we see at first glance. René Lévesque, a great journalist before becoming Prime Minister of Quebec, often said: “The first truth is not always the good one …” The investigative journalism tells us that the image projected onto the public is often like at the theater. The reality is behind the curtains. That is why I greatly admire the investigative journalists!