30 November 2011

JEP - Not Fit for Purpose: Part 2

The second part of this blog on the Jersey Evening Post co-incides quite appropriately with the latest post of Team Voice,  which features an interview I did with them earlier this week. Later on in this blog, I want to focus on the astonishing media bias that all three of the main Jersey media outlets displayed during last month's Senatorial (General) Elections. However, first of all, I want to follow on from and contextualise the recent 'spat' I have had with Lucy Mason and particularly Chris Bright from the Jersey Evening Post.

One of my respected friends, and political supporters, had suggested I was a little harsh. Following Lucy's misreporting that I had spoilt my paper, when I had not, I responded with a twitter message saying: 'Lucy Mason is either incompetent or telling deliberate malicious lies.' True, the lying part was probably a little harsh, which is why I qualified the statement with the option that she was simply being incompetent.

My esteemed friend wrote,'I'm not sure one mistake deserved the phrase "incompetent". I've made a mistake today at work, which was picked up, and I corrected, but it doesn't happen often, and I'd had to be called incompetent because of that.'

I quite agree. We all make mistakes including (especially) politicians. I responded to my friend saying: 

'I agree that we all make mistakes, but a) this was not a one off and (b) it was the 'process' that was at fault. Lucy said that she did not hear what I said as my microphone was switched off. Rather than come to me ans ask what I said, she then went to colleagues who also misinterpreted my words as an admission. I told her on the phone that (i) she should not be reporting stuff if she did not hear it and (ii) if she wanted clarification, she should have come to me in the first instance.'

Jersey Evening Post Reporter
Lucy Mason
My main concern here is to do with process and 'good/best practice'. Lucy quite openly admits to not hearing what I said (which was a response to Constable John Refault's comments about how awful it was that any States member should see fit to spoil their paper - I responded that any member was quite within their rights to spoil their paper if they could not bring themselves to vote for an individual on ideological or personal grounds. This was taken as an addmission by some, although it most certainly was not). In such a circumstance one should (a) either not report anything which is not clear or (b) ascertain the facts before reporting something. Lucy did attempt to establish what had happened - by talking to other members, at least one of who had misunderstood. What Lucy should have done was to come directly to me, ask if I had spoiled my paper and proceeded from there. This is usually what happens when good practice is operating - and other journalists normally  do that. (Harry McRandle made the same error of practice when he misreported my comments at a Jersey Finance meeting earlier in the year. When confronted with the mistake he apologised and said, 'He was momentarily distracted' and so did not catch what I actually said... If in doubt, make it up)

But it is not simply me who has been affected. Deputy Shona Pitman has also fallen foul to the paper's sub-standard reporting when they reported on the closure of the Market Post Office, against which Shona was fighting. One 'mischevious' shop-owner did not agree with Shona and told the JEP reporter that the market stall holders did not support Deputy Pitman. This single view, which was not representative, then became a story.

Historically, the J.E.P. has a record of getting it wrong: and I can think of 5 occasions off the top of my head where apparently innocent mistakes were made in reporting either my manifesto or my words which all had the effect of portraying me in a bad light. This is without mentioning the 'fake' letters that they have attempted and do still publish from time to time.
Editor, Chris Bright

And now, we turn our attention to the Editor, Chris Bright. The following is the email that Chris sent me following the letter I sent to him (which can be seen on my previous blog). Note its tone and how rather than simply apologising or giving an undertaking to brief his staff to take more care in future, he prefers to go on the defensive - even threatening me. I have published my response to him below:

From: Chris Bright [mailto:CBright@jerseyeveningpost.com] 

Sent: 24 November 2011 12:34
To: Montfort TadierSubject: Spoilt papers

Dear Montfort,

In response to your email of yesterday, we have published a correction to the report mistakenly stating that you had admitted spoiling your ballot paper in the States.
Please note that the operative word here is ‘mistakenly’. The error was not intentional and it is you who owes Lucy Mason an apology for publicly calling her a liar on your Twitter feed, a nasty piece of juvenile name-calling which is simultaneously untrue, offensive and defamatory. Kindly remove the tweet and note that, should you continue personally insulting or maligning  Lucy or, indeed, any other member of this newspaper’s staff in similar fashion, I will have no hesitation in complaining about your conduct to the Privileges and Procedures Committee.

Chris Bright.

From: Montfort Tadier
Sent: 24 November 2011 15:11
To: 'Chris Bright'
 RE: Spoilt papers
Dear Chris,

I regret the antagonistic tone of your email and that you did not see fit to call me in person. If you had taken time to read my twitter post you would be aware that I said 'Lucy Mason at the JEP is either incompetent or telling deliberate malicious lies.' The operative words here are 'either' and 'or'. 

With this in mind, I will not be apologising to Lucy nor removing my post. If you see fit to refer this to PPC, that is your decision. But I will not be lectured on moral standards by the editor of a newpaper which constantly falls below reasonable standards of balanced, fair and competent journalism - something which was demonstrated very clearly in the recent general elections.

I will be sending a full complaint in to you and the press complaints body, and I will be encouraging my colleagues and members of the public to do the same where they have grievances.

Warmest regards,

Montfort Tadier


  1. Good on ya Monty that was clearly a threatening and bullying email you got from Chris Bright. The reporting in that newspaper is diabolical and it's not done mistakenly. They will report utter cacka about any politician who is not one of the establishment and if forced to will print a small apology some time later...............But the damage has been done. They've been doing this for years so good to see you are onto it and don't succumb to their bully boy tactics.

  2. Yesterday Paul McMullen gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry where he said Rebecca Brookes and Andy Coulson were the scum of journalism. McMullen hasn't met the duo Shipley and Bright otherwise he would think the former two were a credit to journalism.

  3. Montfort.

    The Jersey Evening Post has gone way beyond the bounds of incompetence. One only needs to look at THIS to understand their "journalism."

  4. Well, I like your reply and I think its fair to say incompetence is the main wrong doing here. The JEP reporters are too quick to post hearsay and not check their facts first. If they had then no correction would have been necessary in the first place.

    It is quite Juvenile that Chris felt the need to respond in such a manner. It speaks volumes that in this day and age when journalists are called to account for their "mistakes" that someone should get so upset. Its as though they want to enjoy the freedom of press when they are dishing it out but are not happy now that the recipients of their articles dare to respond.

    I will stick with your view on this although you never did bother to respond on my post a long time back on why you didnt mention Syvret when the whole states chamber were asked to give examples of whereby a states member had been ostracised or something along those lines. I forget the exact wording/circumstances but although I totally agree with you on this I find that you are concerneced with only yourself and didnt even have the backbone to answer the submission I refer to.

    I could try and find it if you like but I remember another commenter at the time saying you would not reply. You remind me a lot of people I work with of your generation, who actually know you from school. They will have a good moan about not wanting to do something but when asked if they want to do it, they do it because they have no backbone to say no and I am not talking about actual paid work i mean outside work activities in case you think i mean what they are paid to do.

    The simple fact is, to me, your generation are happy to moan but when push comes to shove you roll over and go for the easy life. Walking out of scrutiny ring any bells?

    Be happy to hear a response on where you have shown some backbone apart from the above JEP scandal which, like I said I support you on.

  5. I found the question here maybe now you are on a roll of moaning (me too lol) you might reply

    You know Montfort, when Jimmy (funniest thing out of him is a fart) Perchard asks this bit

    " I challenge any Member in recent times to give an example of where the Bailiff when presiding over this Assembly has displayed anything but neutrality and impartiality. If any Member can give an example - a real example; not a blog site example - a real example, let him stand up today and tell us about it."

    Why did no member stand up and say something, one incident springs to mind when he cut off Stuart Syvrets microphone when he spoke about the abuse issues many years ago. You could have mentioned that as an example, no?

    I am hoping you will be able to put me to right on this because as I see it at this moment I am right royaly miffed that nobody stood up and said anything. How are you going to make a change if you all sit there and miss an opurtunity like that.

  6. http://www.opednews.com/articles/It-s-not-a-mistake-when-yo-by-Raff-Ellis-090228-101.html

  7. My favourite bit is the "warmest regards"! Bet that got on his nerves!

  8. 50p of Pure gold ! (Irony very intended).
    What is the counter to 'mistakenly'? perhaps I could suggest 'conditioned'.

  9. OK Monty - move along now. Nothing to see here.

    We can moan at the media until the milkers come home - it won't change them. Even if the UK owners did a Murdoch and pulled the plug on the JEP, it would make little difference. The paper would be replaced by a clone.

    The "opposition" have faced the same problem ever since choice became an option. Until we have control and ownership of our own information machine we shall be for ever moaning about unfairness, bias, misrepresentation etc etc.

    We must stop wasting our time and create the alternative agenda - politically and culturally. This service (blogs et al) is yet another opportunity in the Caxton tradition. Please can we hear and see more about fundamental issues that are more important than the failings of a junior reporter on a local nespaper.
    Tom Gruchy pleads

  10. I can understand why some may think it harsh to call some incompetent and on face value your friend made a good point on people making errors, however, I would consider that political reporting should not be given to those who are still learning the craft, surely any media outlet would ensure that only their best are given such an important role, to be competent one must ensure they always check the accuracy of anything they may not have heard, especially when it can have such a negative affect upon a politician, so if not liar quite clearly it has to be incompetent, time for some retraining or a change of responsibility.

  11. Those in glasshouses, Chris, should not even have stones in their possession, let alone throw them.

    "Warmest regards"

    The Beano is not the Rag

  12. The problem is that the vast majority of "mistakes" made by the JEP seem to prove their political bias. This reporter's "mistake" would surely not have been made if it concerned an establishment politician.

  13. Is there a press complaints board in Jersey?
    And..... because this is Jersey...... who sits on it?
    I thought his letter was very threatening. He sounds like a bully to me.

  14. Well said Monty! Not before time - and not for the first time this paper displays sloppy journalism and such an obvious bias towards the non-establishment politicians. As I said on VFC, as the only newspaper (and I use the term very loosely)in the Island, they should have an obligation to be fair and unbiased.
    On this occasion it was a case of a bad error by a young reporter who appears to spend a lot of her time on Twitter instead of listening. The response from Chris Bright is a disgrace from a man who should be channelling his anger into ensuring his reporters get the facts right.

    Warm regards!

    Jill G

  15. Why do your readers talk about media incompetence and mistakes when they (the media) are not incompetent, and do not make mistakes. They are far brighter than your readers who still cannot see that every (mistake or piece of incompetence) is well planned and executed.

  16. I think you need to toughen up. And as for Chris Bright's response, he is bang on the nail sticking up for one of his journalists.

  17. Fair enough, have a go at the JEP. But don't base an argument against them because of a mistake that involves you. There's much bigger reasons to pick on them.

  18. ''I think you need to toughen up. And as for Chris Bright's response, he is bang on the nail sticking up for one of his journalists.''

    Sticking up for his journalist who got it ''mistakenly'' wrong.

    It passed the editors agenda damn right he should appologise to his staff and as an editor he should make damn sure it does not happen again.

  19. [I think you need to toughen up.]

    "I will be sending a full complaint in to you and the press complaints body, and I will be encouraging my colleagues and members of the public to do the same where they have grievances."

    --------- I THINK THAT'S TOUGHENING UP --------

    [And as for Chris Bright's response, he is bang on the nail sticking up for one of his journalists.]

    "Please note that the operative word here is ‘mistakenly’."


    "a nasty piece of juvenile name-calling which is simultaneously untrue, offensive and defamatory."

    ---------- IS THIS GUY CHRIS STUPID!! --------

    "have no hesitation in complaining about your conduct to the Privileges and Procedures Committee."


  20. Glen. B. Riantz of Belmont RoadThursday, 01 December, 2011

    You should ask Chris Bright about the fake letters his paper regularly prints but oddly won't apologize for when the bogus nature of these has been brought to his attention. If these are 'mistakes' then why wouldn't an editor apologize in good faith? Perhaps the JEP writes them in house?

  21. Well that email sounds very familiar to me, I had one also from chris bright much a likeness, he is an utter disgrace as an Editor, something needs to be done about this man & hopefully now a States Member has seen how he belittles & talks to people something can be done. If a States Member can't do anything then what chances have a normal member of the public got. Good Luck to you Monty u gona need it.

  22. Dear All,

    Thank you for your comments. I will be responding more fully in due course. The one comment I want to make now is that perhaps the only aspect of Chris Bright's response is that he does stick up for his staff. However, what I would say is that he could have done this equally (more) effectively even with a diplomatic and professional response

  23. Great stuff monty, the JEP are to journalism what bailhache is to democracy.