Twisted perspectives

Uniformity of thought and behaviour is a dangerous thing, which is why we insist that our role as journalists is to question everything. The reaction of certain individuals on social media to our article ‘Putting Things in Perspective’ reflects a closing of ranks that the Muscat administration is being accused of doing to cover up corruption and criminality.

So it’s surprising when these tactics are adopted by those on the frontline of the cause for truth and justice.

The minute we, as journalists, start to hold back on information simply because of who’s involved, we are not serving the public interest. This is not about “a competition of egos”, as those happy to jump on the bandwagon are claiming.  It’s not about “undermining the threats” – did any of you making that claim read the article which addresses that point specifically?

It’s about stating facts.

In a blog post yesterday, Manuel Delia admits to having “left room for misinterpretation and controversy” – which confirms what we wrote in our article. We have no hordes to command on social media because we believe that undermines democracy and we believe in open debate. We made our point and we move on.

But we believe in addressing questions and arguments raised by the public, although we will never seek to silence them by insulting them. While we stand by what we’ve said, we are addressing some of the points we’ve noted:

1 Manuel Delia says he can’t understand my piece. Maybe that’s why he attributes to me things I never said. Contrary to what he claims in his blog post, I did not say he is fleeing abroad to take up a new job. I said he was going on a temporary, paid placement to a European city, which he confirmed during our conversation.

2 He says his original announcement may have left room for misinterpretation. My piece was written to clear up this widespread misinterpretation after he failed to do so. It was written because I was asked why The Shift wasn’t reacting to Delia’s announcement that he needs to flee the country. I said we have not reacted because he isn’t fleeing the country – at least not in the sense he gave everyone to believe.

I was bombarded with demands from many of Delia’s supporters that The Shift must react to this ostensible need to flee the country because Delia fears for his and his family’s lives, as stated by him in an interview to Italian organisation Articolo 21. Clearly, I could not write something I knew was not quite correct.

In my article, I clearly explained that I called Manuel Delia to ask him to make that very clarification himself, but he failed to do so.

3 In my article, I said that the story was being overhyped. Hence the Shift’s more level-headed reaction.

4 We are obviously not responsible for distortions by other blogs and newsrooms.

I did not say Delia was taking a holiday or camping out. “Taking a break” was in quotes, and, in context, meant a break from the heat activists and journalists face. It’s also a perfectly acceptable synonym for “rest and recuperate” which are the words used on the ECPMF website. What we do not understand is why Delia failed to be clear about this.

5 Delia’s response was to hype up our own reaction. There he goes again.

In addition, after having admitted that my article was correct, he stood by as his supporters took to social media to attack me and my colleagues for having spoken the truth. The dishonesty, tone and vocabulary of many of these comments are disgraceful, using pejorative gender-bashing tropes to divert attention away from the truth we wrote and discredit that truth by dismissing us as “jealous,” “bitter,” “despicable,” “bitches”.

The connotations of this approach, coming from this camp, can’t have been lost on many.

Correcting misinformation is not a “bitch fight” or a “cat fight”. It’s our duty as journalists.

6 Finally, we never said he lied about getting threats. We said he juiced it up. And reading his own fuller explanation, you can see we were right.

We’ve said this before and we will say it again: we do exactly what it says on the tin. We serve the public interest, which we do not narrowly define to one group.

Now, we’re going to focus on the important stuff because investigative journalism is what we’re about.

                           
                               
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saviour mamo
saviour mamo
23 days ago

I hope this matter ends here.

Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
23 days ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

So do I.

J Zammit
J Zammit
23 days ago

Very well written Caroline. And now perhaps you can be allowed to move on with the more important job that The Shift is doing so well. I fully agree, that when a threat is perceived, one should take immediate and effective action before indulging in whatever media hype is necessary. I for one, did not view your original article as an ego trip but as a mere clarification and statement of facts. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about Delia’s response.

Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
23 days ago
Reply to  J Zammit

Hear, hear.

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
23 days ago

We are both cognisant and grateful for journalists like you and we are fully aware that you are open to accusations and misinterprations coming from all directions. But saying that Delia juiced up the threats he receives seems to ignore the effect that the 16th October 2017 may have had on some of this government’s critics. It’s a fact that today journalism is as dangerous a job as working with bomb disposal.

Last edited 23 days ago by Paul Pullicino
A. Micallef
A. Micallef
23 days ago
Reply to  Paul Pullicino

I dont think Caroline is saying : “that Delia juiced up the threats” but there is a very fine line between :

1. feeling threatened and DECIDING to leave till things cool down

2. receiving an Actual and Direct threat on your life and therefore HAVING to leave, in order to preserve your life

One implies an option, no matter how small. The other implies no option whatsoever.

Mary Rose Azzopardi
Mary Rose Azzopardi
23 days ago
Reply to  Paul Pullicino

Paul, she didn’t say he juiced up the threats, she said he juiced up the reason he was leaving Malta for

James
James
23 days ago

Well said Caroline.

Everyone is entitled to am opinion but facts are facts and cannot be denied.

Truth is based in fact and until the truth is accepted by the Government in the face of the FATF, IMF, Moneyval ,Venice Commission and the DCG Reports and the 93% majority of MEPs who supported the vote of no confidence in the Government’s ability to uphold the rule of law, then the fight has to continue, substantiated by fact, until truth prevails.

A. Micallef
A. Micallef
23 days ago

Manuel and Caroline, I have the utmost respect for the both of you and the difficult job you took on but I am with Caroline on this one.

Last edited 23 days ago by A. Micallef
Loredana Gatt
Loredana Gatt
23 days ago

Well said.

Bob Gatt
Bob Gatt
23 days ago

I won’t deny that Delia has done some good, brave work but there is no getting around the fact that he has a massive ego and an almost instinctive penchant for self-aggrandisement. In the interview with Italian media he was doing the very worst of what pro-government critics accuse dissenting voices of doing – exaggerating threats to freedom of speech to gullible foreign audiences in order to further a personal agenda; perhaps even further his own career abroad. Well done for taking him down a few pegs.

Travis Brannon
Travis Brannon
23 days ago

I agree with Caroline in regards to her uncompromising commitment to capital T truth, regardless of who or what member of what Maltese tribe is affected by it. For her to make allowances for members of her alleged clique, while continuing to relentlessly expose the lies of her alleged antagonists would be disingenuous, not to mention corrupt, a seeming Maltese behavioural trait etched into the cultural DNA. That being said, Manuel is a decent man and despite his human failings, his heart and soul are in the right place. It is obvious that malign agents are trying to present him as a befuddled, stressed out and psychologically unstable fraud. I think Caroline’s piece could be used by these social manipulators to push their corrupt agenda. If it were me, for that reason alone, I would have given Manuel a pass, but only for the greater cause. I would have confronted him personally on his lack of full transparency and saved him the public embarrassment as well as feeding the social engineers potential ammo to continue their social gaslighting against his integrity and soundness of mind.

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