The Mendacity Awards.

Today sees the inauguration of a new award, the Talking Liberties Award for Mendacity.  As and when I see fit, there will be an offering of a Mendacity Award to that which is, in my opinion, the most offensive to truth, and decency. 

No doubt there are many fine contenders for this inaugural award – politicians, salesmen, executives, and those that create train timetables to name but a few – but the first award is going to a little-known journalist.

This journalist writes for  my local newspaper, the Plymouth Herald, and his scurrilous articles have made my blood boil on numerous occasions.  I once said of him on a discussion forum that he was “so embedded with the UK military that you could only see his feet.” 

His reportage from Iraq, Afghanistan, and about military matters here in Plymouth is nothing short of deplorable.   He is the Maritime and Defence Reporter for the Herald, and it is with great sadness I declare him as the winner of the very first Talking Liberties Award for Mendacity.  Come forward Tristan Nichols, and claim your prize!

Tristan wins this award, ahead of other, more high profile contenders, because of his sheer brazenness.  Check out the recent advertisement, I mean article, entitled “Get a Taste of Life With The Marines“, which can be found at the following link –

Tristan’s articles, and I hesitate to even call them that, are nothing but  glorified adverts for the armed forces.  The one linked to above begins in almost breathless fashion – 

“Ever fancied experiencing life as a Royal Marine jetting across the waves on a landing craft towards an amphibious assault ship?  Well now you can.”

The article purports to be a report on an up-coming Veteran’s Weekend organised by The Federation of Plymouth and District Ex-Services Association.  Unfortunately it reads as a recruitment flyer for the Marines.  Tristan stresses that this day of gun play, war-games and miltary fetishism is a ‘free event’, a ‘fun-packed’ day of ‘family fun’, with a ‘fun fair’ and ‘exciting’ military displays.  Oh, and did he say it was free?  And fun?

Despite the “underlying theme” for the weekend Tristan promotes,  I mean writes about, being the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Falklands War, not one word in the article relates the realities of that war.  Nothing about the hundreds of UK soldiers who died, nothing about the Argentinian conscripts who died, and nothing about the post-traumatic syndromes that have seen more UK veterans kill themselves since the end of the Falklands war, than actually died fighting it!   No, not a bit of it.  It’s all fun, fun, fun for our Tristan.

If Tristan was not paid handsomely for this article by the Ministry of Defence, he should have been!   He makes war-making seem such a joy!  

I believe that journalists have a responsibility not to be used for propoganda purposes by powerful interests, whether political, economic, or military.  They are in a priviledged position to ask the difficult questions, and to speak truth to power.  Tristan has avoided these responsibilities in just about every article he has ever written for the Herald.     

 Well done, Tristan!  You are the recipient of a Mendacity Award.  Now go hang your head in shame.

~ by blacksheepdiarist on June 10, 2007.

4 Responses to “The Mendacity Awards.”

  1. Two things come to mind: if war is such fun, why do we need to bother with advertising jolly days out in articles like the one you describe? Could it be that people are beginning to realise that joining the forces not only entitles you to kill ‘furriners’ but them ‘furriners’ may turn around and kill you instead?

    And secondly, if we think it’s okay to sell war as ‘fun and games’ in Plymouth, then why are we shocked by photos and reports of child soldiers in Africa, Middle East? Every year the MoD send out officers to recruit schoolchildren by running job fairs, outdoor adventure days and giving away freebies.
    You’re right to give this guy your mendacity award, because these are the things he should be writing about.

    However, he’s just another hack. If he changes jobs, I suspect he’d change his story too. To him this is probably an all-expenses-paid day out playing with the big guns.

  2. I don’t think it is in doubt that the Armed Forces are struggling with recruitment levels. The dead and injured from Iraq are a real eye-opener to would be recruits! Telling them the sort of things recruiting sergeants like Tristan Nichols do not.

    You are right madbadhairday, it is pure hypocrisy on our governments part to feign shock and horror at child soldiers in Africa, when we here promote weapons fairs as “family fun days”, with displays designed to thrill and excite young minds for future recruitment. It is rather sick, and the likes of Tristan should be ashamed of themselves.

    There are too many “hacks”, passing time til the next pay rise/career move, writing to the order of their bosses. Whatever happened to a bit of integrity in reporting?

  3. I have just taken the liberty of emailing Tristan to inform him of his victory in the Mendacity Awards. He left his email address at the end of the article after all, and I thought he might like to know he has won an award.
    This is what I sent him –


    Just to let you know that you have been nominated for, and won, the inaugural Talking Liberties Mendacity Award, for your “Get a taste of life with the Marines” recruitment advert that was recently in the Herald.
    Sorry, did I say recruitment advert, I meant article obviously…

    The award is a reflection on the hard work you put into your propoganda. Oops, did I say propoganda? Of course, I meant reporting….

    Anyway, you can read all about it here –

    John aka freeluncher

  4. […] taking potshots at everyone from Howard Jacobson to the Plymouth Herald’s resident himbo Tristan ‘Bambi’ Nichols. Talk about picking on defenceless […]

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