A Fox colleague has written in to defend Irena Briganti, who we dubbed The Most Vindictive Flack In The Media World in an item earlier today. Erica Keane, VP of media relations for Fox Television Stations, "strongly disagrees" with us, as well as the "cowardly anonymous individuals" who were sources for our "hate filled hit-piece." Her full letter, after the jump:
While everyone is entitled to an opinion, I must say that I strongly disagree with yours and the cowardly anonymous individuals that weighed-in about Irena Briganti in your post today.
Since I am a colleague of Irena's and you have asked for input about her, I am happy to oblige. However, since you were obviously just looking to write a hate filled hit-piece, I am sure that you will not want to print my experiences working with her as they don't fit your agenda. Your piece is the ultimate hatchet job and while you and others wrongfully accuse Irena of doing this, you are the only one spewing "vengeful" bias.
Here are some of my insights and observations about your piece:
* I have worked in Brian Lewis' department for over two years as the VP of Media Relations for FOX Television Stations and have yet to see this "queen of mean persona" that you so gleefully throw around. The Irena Briganti that I know is funny, hard-working and always willing to help out a colleague-no matter how busy she is.
* The comments that you made are for no one's benefit but your own to make yourself feel better that you were not able to write your smear profile of Irena when you were at PR Week. The fact that a reporter tipped her off doesn't show what you have labeled as "being bullied" but rather a reporter having a good relationship with an excellent PR pro. Since you worked at PR Week, I would assume that you should know that in the media relations arena, relationships are all about give and take.
* The quotes that you selected as Irena's "all time hits" are actually brilliant fair responses to attacks made by competing networks on FOX News and its talent. Do you understand that it is the job of good PR practitioner to defend their organizations and clients in the media? Obviously not, as you expect PR people to take unfair shots "in stride." That would make it very easy for you to do your type of reporting, wouldn't it?
* Your quote "Some PR people have decided not to apply for jobs at Fox-jobs they could use-solely because of Briganti's bad reputation" is news to me seeing that we receive stacks of resumes and phone calls from people clamoring to work in this department. Alas, many are turned away as they have been bullied by "reporters" like you to believe that a good PR person does not take an aggressive stance. I will be happy to send their resumes your way.
* In addition, in the October 22nd 2007 issue of PR Week, you wrote a piece about FOX Business and quoted Brian Lewis and Irena about the strategies around the network's launch [Ed. note: that piece is behind an online pay wall, but some further quotes from the interview can be found here]. If you were so concerned with how they conduct their business with the media, why were those concerns not raised when you had them both on the phone? Is it because then you couldn't use shadowy bias statements?
Finally, at the end of the day Hamilton , I am proud to work for a PR department that has the guts to stand up to shoddy reporting and lazy journalism. When you are good at something, there will always be those who will want to tear you down and take shots. I eagerly await your response.
Vice President, Media Relations
FOX Television Stations