Is there hope in what we haven’t read?

One of the problems the “Yes to a Mayor” campaign in Coventry has had to contend with is that our well respected paper, the Coventry Telegraph has taken a negative attitude towards the proposition. Indeed, I have not engaged with the Paper since last May on the subject of Mayors and I have read nothing over the intervening period that has persuaded me that it would be worthwhile to do so.

However, last week’s dose of negativity and invective against those who favour a Mayor did not appear in the Paper and appeared only briefly in the on line version before being pulled. A certain gent has been briefing that the reason it was pulled was a threat of libel from a pro-Mayor Media personality, however, that appears to be false. Even those who were originally disposed to give this bit of spin credence have now concluded that they were “sold a pup”.

So is it possible that the story didn’t appear for positive reasons rather than negative ones? Could it be that far from fear of litigation the reason the story never appeared is because it was felt it had no news value and was simply an unworthy bit of sneering at those who advocate a Mayor? If so, it is just possible that someone has reviewed the sneers, smears and negativity that has run through the coverage and thought ENOUGH! If so, there might be hope in something we have not read.

I don’t want the Coventry Telegraph to advocate an Elected Mayor. If the paper tried to bounce the City into changing the council’s governance that would be every bit as wrong as the paper’s coverage over the last eight months has been. But is there a glimmer of hope that even now, at the eleventh hour, they will use the real talent that they have to present the case, the pros and the cons and ensure that by the time the people of Coventry come to vote, they can hold their heads up and say they did a good job presenting the issues and helped the people to understand the arguments and encouraged them to vote.

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3 Comments

Filed under Coventry News

3 responses to “Is there hope in what we haven’t read?

  1. Tom

    I think it unfair to blame the Coventry Telegraph. In an age of political bias at the very top of newspapers and newspaper ownership, their editor has had a “light touch” on the copy that goes to print and web. It is just one employee at the CT who has used the newspaper to pursue his own political vendettas. Once this was draw to the attention of the editor, he took swift action and yanked the embarrassing “lower-sixth” rant.

    I would hope and expect that this one habitual offender is ultimately released from his employment, but I’m sure it will happen again. That’s the way of the world.

    What I find nauseating, is the fawning support given to this transgressor by locally-elected councillors. They realize the guy is not very bright. They indulge and patronize him to their own ends. Having a useful idiot at the paper is a clever strategy, except when that useful idiot reveals himself and (by association) these manipulative councillors, to be scheming fools.

    If this clown didn’t have the support he has, he would not be collecting a paycheck.

    • Bob Ainsworth

      Hi Tom

      I hope the piece didn’t come over as attacking the Coventry Telegraph. There are many talented people working there as I hope I indicated. But their coverage on Elected Mayors has been delegated to the one individual you talk about and he is using the paper to pursue vendettas and pump out his own unbending view.

      I was hoping the piece encouraged the Paper to more balanced coverage that the people of Coventry deserve.

      I agree that some appear fawning in their response to this individual’s little bit of power but they just want to get on without being constantly attacked. It is the strategy they have adopted.

  2. Les Reid, political correspondent, Coventry Telegraph

    This counter-productive smear campaign of yours really isn’t working is it Bob. What are you actually achieving?

    Surely Coventry people would prefer you to debate the issues raised by the Coventry Telegraph’s independent journalism and detailed evidence-based research.

    Pro-mayor Lord Adonis thanked me for my contribution to the debate, which focuses of the lack of empirical evidence that elected mayors in the last decade have done anything to boost economic growth, or public interest in local democracy as measured by council election turnout at mayoral authorities.

    In my comment pieces, I have also focused on the evidence that central government is not set to offer councils “transformative” powers relative to the power it will continue to wield over town hall decision-making – and that any devolved powers are not solely going to a few councils which may elect mayors. Tackling government spin and challenging propaganda is what effective journalism is all about.

    You conveniently ignore the 600 words we gave you in a double-page spread.

    Your attempts to discredit my journalism are transparent, and people can see straight through your tactics.

    Will you now finally stick to the issues?

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