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.