Thursday, March 12, 2009

Councillor Fibs: Phibbs, Fibs, and Hennigan's School For Scandal

Here's an idea for the Rochdale Observer and the South Manchester Reporter too. Perhaps you could follow the example of a local paper outing manipulation of their letters page, in this case by the naughty Labour councillor Ben "Sock Puppet" Grower in Bournemouth, praising himself using the nom de guerre "Omegaman". With the paper's editor, whose sympathies are where exactly?, perhaps with the Tories who now hold around 75% of the seats?, outing the jolly japester - perhaps one of the more creative content providers they have left in these end of days days for the local gazetterati.

Here's their own report - with a bountiful crop of sock puppets contributing comments - featuring a picture a mere 16 years newer than the BBC used.

LOL are loving the way that Conservative Home's Mysterious Cllr Phibbs covers this as if a Tory has never sent a hooky letter to a newspaper! And also incidentally loved the brinkspersonship that saw a Bournemouth casino contract signed by Lib Dems at 6:45pm on election day. Just before the Tories won by a landslide, pretending they objected. Bet there were a few hooky letters on that one! And their related IMAX mess of a town centre.

But Bournemouth has nothing on Rochdale. Here this bogus correspondence course operates on an industrial level. Taking in websites, blogs, social media, telephone calls, 'phone ins, man in pub blether, as well as the inky press. The perennially tongue tied and limited of vocabulary illiterates become miraculously fluent with blarney. Though! Too! Many! Exclamation! Marks! Give! The! Game! Away! Dave!

How many letters and comments has Dave Hennigan drafted or caused to be drafted for the Obbie in the last three years? And how many have gone on to appear over his own name and job title? On comments there's this example: three Lib Dems talking crap versus one reasonably sensible Labour. Comment on this Rochdale adult care tragedy. But who has written them? And who is Ashton Andy/Andy Ashton who repeated some of Hennigan's favourite smears of the moment on this very blog?

BACK TO BOURNEMOUTH: Leader of the Liberal Democrats Cllr Claire Smith said: “I think it’s quite funny and tragic when you have to start praising yourself online.

“Your work should stand on its own.”

MEANWHILE LET'S HAVE A LITTLE RANT: At least more time and effort and in some cases NCTJ training goes into these bogus letters and comments than you'll see in some of the press release journalism of our local papers. And it's not the staffers' fault. But the GMG local papers in Greater Manchester - collectively facing another 150 job losses, more than half of them hacks - appear to have been forced to carry a short factual item provided by the management.

I'll scan it in presently.

Sheesh, the editorial depth and width in these papers is shallow and narrow enough without this axing malarkey from Mr Chopper Mark Dodson. I've met his kind before. And I've tried lobbying the Scott Trust too. And many of these 22 local papers are still making money hand over fist. What's his game? Trying to save his vanity £15 Million and counting Channel M project? The so-called community TV channel? Will there be more money for that lemon?

The Obbie are it seems being forced to abandon their no doubt asbestos-ridden offices on Drake Street. Will this mean they get the guts to tackle the many crimes and misdemeanours of Cyril Smith and his whole sick crew?

Will they have any chance of keeping tabs on Rochdale pond life from say central Manchester? And the Distorter have of course already been moved to distant Stockport.

You couldn't make it up. "Local" papers from a distance. Brilliant.

FOOTNOTE: I may have a go at an anthology of these "forged letters" and "sock puppets" stories, but here's another alleged Labour one to be going on with.


Anonymous said...

The GMG cull of the Rochdale Observer office could have a perverse and positive outcome.

For far too long there has been an attitiude of deference and an easy ride for the likes of Cyril Smith and his spawn.

There is history to all this. The Establshment in Rochdale had been Liberal. That is why Liberalism continued after the Great War, Lloyd George meltdown. Companies such as Turner Brother Asbestos were Liberal benefactors (both financial and political). The same goes for the old Rochdale Observer rotarians and freemasons.

This tradition is why Editors of the Rochdale Observer have been like Pavlov's dog on "controversial" topics (eg "law 'n' order", Cyril's abusive habits, asbestos or any form of proper news that requires gonads or a modicum of investigstion).

Many former Obby reporters have left and whispered their criticisms of weak or downright bent editorial decisions. Those that remained were either frightened or fawning youngsters or those who have simply given up.

The current Rochdale Observer is a traversty of a newspaper- full of photos of pothole pointing, creepy photos of children, cats-up-tree type stories, rotarian fundraising functions and churned out drivel featuring the RDA, Roger Ellis and grateful Lib Dem saps.

The move to Spinningfields might actually cut the bias and forelock-tugging. With the old editors gone we might actually see the day when a young, talented, eager journalist will be able to pick the phone up with Cyril Smith ranting at them - and reply to the caller:

"who the fuck are you to shout the odds or make threats?"

The old Rochdale Observer is dead. Long live the Rochdale Observer.

Anonymous said...

Guardian media group in Rochdale borough may be having challenges and the local news centres are to go but this needs to be put into some proper perspective, especially when some deluded idiots are comparing local website "Rochdale Online" to the local Guardian media titles in Rochdale, Middleton and Heywood.

Rochdale Online's "news" content is from a creepy Jim Jones type character, a couple of young and dominated Stepford hacks who mostly cut and paste press releases from local parties, Rochdale Council media unit and the Government News Network. There have been some hilarious gaffes seen when they do try to chop and change PR content and tone. Unprofessional but laugh-out-loud funny as long as people don't take it seriously. Think Phoenix Nights meets Brass Eye. Infuenced by a domineering weirdo who thinks he is a media mogul and uses a combination of threats and pleading to chivvy Rochdale Council, the RDA and other agencies for news content and advertising revenue. It is read and commented on by about a dozen sad souls in the Rochdale Online Jim James-like cult of obsequious sychophants and political toadies, who are often bothered, threatened, banned or encouraged repeatedly to post comments on the twisted schoolyard that is the Rochdale Online "Forum" a place that makes a newspaper's letters page look a paragon of virtue.

In short, Rochdale Online is not a proper "news" organisation taken seriously by anyone in the local media industry. But don't take my opinion for it- just ask around.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear - you've got me laughing there - a 'creepy Jim Jones character' - does that not sum the c*** up? Yeah, yeah.

On a serious note, Rochdale Online is clearly not to be taken seriously as a news gathering organisation.