Matt Taylor, the prospective member of parliament for Brighton Kemptown in 2015, has launched a scathing attacked on Brighton’s Evening Argus newspaper, calling into question their journalistic integrity and saying the newspaper is “finished.”


sosNewsargusFollowing on from the success of my election campaign youtube video, ‘Simon Kirby is Finished’, and the double-whammy-scoops of ‘Simon Kirby’s Public Meeting turns Ugly’ and ‘The Bevy’s’ awesome news that they have reached their target of £200,000 and set to reopen, got me thinking;

Where was Brighton’s Argus in all of this?

The fact that my hits went through the roof following my double-whammy-scoop, indicate there is a readership for local news. And the question remains, why isn’t the Argus reporting it?

I mean, REALLY!

As a Brightonian I was brought up reading the Argus. I loved it and defended it as my local rag informing me of all matters from every corner of the city. In it’s hey day, it sold more than 100,000 a day. Now its lucky to sell 20,000 a day. Its printing has been moved from the Hollingbury site to Southampton and now their offices are up for sale.

As a local resident said the day after Simon Kirby’s public meeting, “Being graced with a visit by our MP is as rare as getting a visit from the Queen!”kirby at moulsecoomb

‘Keep’ in mind the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Sussex on Halloween’s Day 2013, coming to ‘The Keep’ in Moulsecoomb, which the Argus didn’t cover, but left it to local people to report their own local news. See a video of the Queen’s visit here, which you wouldn’t on the Argus website.

Other stories the Argus ignores:

These are just some examples (closest to me), which the Argus newspaper have chosen to ignore. I’m sure the list can continue indefinitely, but in the spirit of journalistic impartiality, its only right and proper to give the Argus their right of reply.

Emily Walker, the Chief reporter at the Argus newspaper told me, “We won’t print any further stories on the Katrina Taylor murder unless new evidence comes to light.”

Well, the fact that:

  • The main murder witness in her murder was attacked and left for dead, is a new development in my eyes.
  • And that is without mentioning the 1.8 meter high fence illegally erected which allowed his attacker to approach him unseen.
  • The new investigation by Jim Murphy from New Funk radio, of which the first piece of information uncovered is that the Katrina Taylor court files have mysteriously been destroyed.
  • Even Ian Kedge, the Lewes Council official who authorised an illegal fence to be erected outside the ‘Murder House’, cruelly refers to the Katrina Taylor murder as an ‘alleged murder.’ I dread to think what her family will say, when it transpires that their daughter, sister and mother was ‘alleged’ to have been murdered. This is yet another example of how Katrina Taylor’s murder is being wiped from history.

Its a Brighton Scandal.

Directing you to Michael Coughtrey’s Brighton Scandal website, where he names the editorial staff at the Argus as accomplices in the scandal of claiming his brother attacked a police officer with a seven inch knife. The police officer in question, DC Cameron was put up for a bravery award, which Sussex Police commanders promoted enthusiastically. The fact that the attacker in question, neither attacked a police officer or acted inappropriately in anyway, demonstrates another example of police corruption, indicts the Argus as instrumental in reporting and promoting false and inaccurate news.

Take for example, this headline, ‘POOR PEOPLE ARE IRRITATING SAYS BRIGHTON PRIEST‘, as written by senior reporter Bill Gardner and published in September 2013.

As the reporter makes clear in the article’s opening sentence, “In a lengthy blog post titled The Trouble With the Poor, Father Blake raged-”

Which indicts their most experienced reporters do nothing else but troll through blogs to get their stories.

Of-course Father Blake is none too happy, “I am so angry, they have really trashed my reputation, it hurts, and I am angry and it hurts my parishioners.” He’s gone on to put out some feelers, to let all the good Catholics who own companies who advertise in the Argus, know exactly what they get up to and how they source their stories.

Argus unscrupulous Journalists.

As Father Blake said in retaliation in his blog: Source

As I am reasonably well know in the town it would be a very sensible to get a few people to ring around and find out the extent to which my reputation has been damaged by the work of Mr Gardner and Mr Beard, we might well need that type of information, the obvious people to ask are those who advertise in the rag. The next question is will be about their continuing to advertise and therefore support their defamatory newspaper.”

The Evening Argus newspaper has a history going back 130 years.

Local news has never been so lost as it is today. Once upon a time there was BBC Radio Brighton, a local station with a newsroom that competed for stories with the Argus and built a sizeable audience. That lost its focus when it became Radio Sussex in 1983, and even more so when merged with Radio Surrey in 1994 to become BBC Southern Counties Radio, with its main office in faraway Guildford. There are commercial stations, Heart and Juice, plus a community station, Radio Reverb and BHRC. Heart and Juice certainly attract audiences for their music but, again, they do not cover news. The Argus newspaper has even stopped social media users from posting on their Facebook page. They have no interest in Brighton’s community because they have their eyes closed to Brighton’s community.

Brighton hasn’t got a Newsroom.

Newsquest, the regional publisher controlled by the US newspaper giant Gannett, has come up with a novel way of raising revenue – increasing cover prices to the level that ensures fewer people buy their titles!

Price Hike.

A price hike of nearly 50% has left its readership plummeting.

As Roy Greenslade blogged on in June 2013-The result was a substantial and rapid fall-off of sales in the three months afterwards. By December, the paper was selling only 17,106 copies compared to 21,589 in July (and 22,994 in December 2011).

In other words, the bumped-up size and extra content made not the slightest impact. Price makes a big differences to sales, evidenced by the Fleet Street price war launched by Rupert Murdoch in the early 1990s.

Not that it matters to Newsquest. Its only raison d’être is to return the greatest possible profits to its US parent. The long-term health of the British newspaper industry – and the trade of journalism – is of no consequence to Gannett’s board and its investors.”

The Abandonment of the most Basic Journalistic Disciplines.

Notes from a Broken Society sums up perfectly why the Argus is finished.

A wider issue is the quality of the Argus’ journalism. It’s undeniable that local papers are under the cosh financially – it’s so much cheaper to do churnalism, happily recycling the material produced by others. The work of the police, ambulance and fire service press offices is of course particularly useful in this respect. Accuracy and detail are not things that one readily associates with the material that Argus journalists write – I remember one story (and I wish I could reference it) which described a large fire in a Sussex town, causing all sorts of chaos, which failed to name the town concerned. Elsewhere detail is often vague. Brighton is one of the most laid-back cities in Britain – but even minor events habitually lead to “fury” and “chaos”. A toxic combination of cost-cutting and political bias appears to have led to the abandonment of the most basic journalistic disciplines.”

A Third-Rate Product.

What are the Values of Journalism?

Is it any wonder journalism is drowning in the cesspit of it’s own making, when the Sussex University churns journalist with absolutely no integrity when it comes to reporting the truth.

Take for example my own experience, while campaigning in the 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I was invited to speak at a Hustings at Sussex University.

Due to the fact I was an unofficial candidate whose name wouldn’t be on the ballot paper, it was agreed with the other candidates that I wouldn’t sit on the panel but will be allowed to make a 2 minute address to an audience of 22 people.

Watch the footage here.

Now the interesting thing about this is the following day, the Badger, which is the Universities in house newspaper, reported the hustings without any mention of my participation. Source.

Now I don’t know about you but I always believed journalists were tasked to tell the truth and report the facts. The fact was that I spoke at the hustings and participated in the evening’s event, but yet a student reporter takes it on herself to omit what happened in history.

Selective Reporting.

We have seen:

  • A senior reporter at the Argus troll the internet’s blogs to source stories.
  • We have seen how the American owners of the Argus are more concerned with profits than local community news.
  • We have seen a decline in journalistic integrity of new recruits.
  • We’ve seen a continuing decline in readership figures.

With the demise of Brighton’s Argus newspaper imminent, its now left to local residents to report their own community news.

The Brighton Evening Argus Newspaper is Finished.


Lynton Crosby comes to Kemptown

Reposted from the Notes from a Broken Society blog.

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, has today floated the idea that Brighton should act as the testbed for the Government’s proposal that landlords should be responsible for checking whether their tenants are illegally in the UK.  The Argus reports that Kirby argued that it was unfair for lawful residents to compete for homes against people here illegally.

Why this proposal, and why now?

In particular, is there any evidence that there is a problem?  Brighton and Hove certainly has a housing crisis.  Already high rents have soared, while wages – in a city with huge numbers of people working in low-wage occupations like retailing and hospitality – have, in line with national trends, fallen in real terms.  Behind the affluent facade it is difficult to find a city that more acutely encapsulates the Coalition’s cost-of-living crisis than Brighton and Hove (not least because falling headline unemployment figures mask the full extent of austerity).  And, ironically enough, Kirby’s proposal comes on the day that the latest ONS figures show that, yet again, prices rose faster than wages; the cost-of-living crisis continues unabashed.

But I am not aware of any evidence – any whatsoever – that illegal immigration is having any effect on housing in Brighton.  And it’s notable that Kirby, on the basis of what the Argus reports, hasn’t produced any.

Moreover, it’s not just unfounded policy; it’s bad policy.  Patrolling nationality is not easy – and will almost certainly be delegated by landlords to letting agencies.  It’s not that it’s just about effectively privatising the work of the immigration services, offering scope for further cuts by getting landlords to do the work for free; it’s also another lucrative, profitable charge for agencies to add to the mountain of charges that agencies already levy on potential tenants.  Once again, Kirby and his party show themselves to be out of touch, and wholly indifferent to the plight of those struggling with the soaring costs of housing in this city and elsewhere.

This is not about the politics of housing; it’s about the politics of fear.  Like Kirby’s recent claims to have backed the campaign for a new Royal Sussex County Hospital while simultaneously arguing that it should be placed above party politics – brilliantly rebutted in this letter to the Argus – or even his claim to have saved Peacehaven post office – it’s about an MP who sees a resurgent Labour Party wiping the floor with Tories on issues like the cost of living, energy prices and the NHS, while at the same time being squeezed by UKIP’s gains in Peacehaven in the County Council elections.  And, once again, the Tories respond in the only way they know – with a dog-whistle.

And we’re going to see more of this.  This is the authentic Lynton Crosby strategy – as anyone who has followed the sorry state of Australian politics in recent years will know.  Ignore the facts, ignore the evidence – innuendo and smear are how a party based on fear seeks to find scapegoats for the effects of its own ideologically-driven failures.  It’s ironic that in seeking to seek re-election by placing himself above party politics, Kirby should mirror the politics of his masters so precisely.  This is all about creating a diversion; about the recognition that, on the central economic issues, the Tory narrative of blaming the last administration and waiting Micawberishly for something to turn up as austerity wastes the economy is wearing very thin indeed

So my challenge to Brighton and Hove Tories is this: let’s have some evidence.  Kirby says it’s an urgent problem – so he must know something he’s not letting on.  Let’s have some actual numbers, and let’s have the raw material on which we can judge whether this policy is anything more than the dog-whistle politics of a desperate party.