Friday, June 12, 2009

Truth and Fiction

I see I've been 'Smudged' again in the Thanet Gazette this morning. The Gazette having published a letter I sent last week pointing out that in fact I did not vote in favour of the new development on the site of St Cecilia's House in Westgate at the last Planning Committee , rather the opposite, speaking against it together with Cllr King.

This morning, having read Smudger, I've written another letter and made a call to the Editor, Rebecca Smith.

First, my letter as 'Angry of Westgate':

"Dear Editor

Following my earlier letter of last week, it appears once again that the Thanet Gazette is unwilling or incapable of checking its facts before going to print.

You claim – writing as ‘Smudger’ - that I was nowhere to be seen at last week’s count at the Winter Gardens, when in fact I arrived with Cllrs Ezekiel and Latchford in the morning had a long chat about Westgate with one of the reporters and finally left at lunchtime, when I had to go to work, which, “Yes”, does involve flying airplanes!

Secondly, you appear to believe that as Cabinet Member for Business Transformation and Customer Services, that I am responsible for the poor telecoms signal at the Winter Gardens. Given its awkward position below the cliff, built in a time before the mobile internet, I suggest you take the matter-up with Vodafone or O2."

And I can't make it rain either!

After pointing this out to Rebecca over the phone I gave her the following quote:

"If you continue to publish such inaccurate reports then I will put two aircraft over your building carrying an 'appropriate message'. This may be good publicity for me but it may not be such good publicity for you".

Now, I know the Gazette is short on news and given the choice over a positive story about Thanet and negative one, we'll invariably read the bad. It would be nice however if it made some small effort to publish material that is both newsworthy 'and' accurate. After all, if it simply makes-up stories in the best tabloid tradition, how can local people have any confidence in its coverage? In the circumstances, the people of Thanet are poorly served.

I've no problem, as a local councillor, with the newspapers taking an occasional pop at me over policies etc but the Thanet Gazette rarely lets the truth get in the way of a good story. After all, if you let the small lies go through unchallenged, what next? Back to the Evil Hood story all over again perhaps?

So let's see what they make-up next in order to see if I'll put on an impromptu air display over Margate. I'll have to decide though, whether it warrents using both aircraft at once!


Peter Checksfield said...

On a slightly different note, I see that the Isle Of Thanet Gazette has written a nice article plugging the Ali Campbell gig at The Winter Gardens, despite the fact that the gig was cancelled over a week ago...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could list articles that are not accurate? Namely news stories over comment pieces please.

Anonymous said...

The Gazette were very intrusive yesterday at the home of the two year old boy who drowned in Ramsgate.

Not that I care to be honest, but they could have come to me.. they'd be unlikely to get the truth out of someone with something to hide, if you know what I mean..

Anonymous said...

Go for it Doc.
The standard of journalism at the IOTG has been getting worse for years, it's about time they got a wake up call!
I read the two freebies these days - less reporter, which in turn means less content but hey, at least it's accurate!

ex-Gazette reader said...

I asked a reporter why the Gazette had given virtually no coverage to the election before June 4th as it would have been good if local voters could have seen the list of names as none of the parties had managed to deliver to all houses. Apart from the European info that came with the post I only had a Labour leaflet and zilch from Conservative or Lib. Dem. candidates. His answer was the paper would have had to list all the European candidates as well and there wasn't room. What nonsense. In the Europeans I was voting for a party not a candidate but locally was choosing a candidate.

This is an example of lazy journalism and is typical of the Gazette's approach. There are frequently inaccurate reports and I was angered to see them feature two very old stories from CGP regarding China Gateway published months after their original release and then watched the share price rocket, at least for a few days. I now save my 60p by not buying the paper.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the Thanet Times recently? Its so cheap and awful I'm surprised they bother. How they can stack it up against YourFanet, which is free, I don't know.

Gazette Reader said...

No one seems to have said what is inaccurate here though? I read loads of stuff on the election before June 4. Considering you don't buy it "ex-Gazette reader" how would you know?

SeeMore said...

As the paper of record in the area the Gazette has a duty to be much better than it is.
Maybe they just have the wrong staff there now.
I stick to the freebies nowadays, more accurate and well, FREE!

ex-Gazette buyer said...

Gazette reader, did they list the candidates for the various elections -county, TDC and Ramsgate Council?

No, and I can read it for free via the local library so I do know what's in there.

YourThanet gave good coverage with a two page spread and I can get a copy either via e-mail or online.

Anonymous said...

Yes they did. They did not list the candidates across Kent, but why would they? It's a Thanet paper. Who cares whos standing in Folkestone?