Monday, September 28, 2015


Dear Journalists everywhere,
Carien du Plessis
          It’s pathetic when journalists, who are in the business of holding other people to account can’t take it when the roles are reversed.
          Like so many people in different walks of life they often fail dismally when it comes to practising what they preach when they are cornered. You would think that as judges of our morals they would set a higher standard than this.
          They should all be man enough (sorry to a lot of you about that man reference but I can’t think of a better way of putting it) to take criticism if they are in the reporting business.
          After I took journalists Carien du Plessis, Rebecca Davies, Martin Hatcheul and Louise Marsland to task for something they Tweeted, all of them except Carien ducked for cover behind a Twitter BLOCK. They presumably felt safe in their chicken runs believing that this would ensure there was no longer a danger of me getting at them for anything they tweeted.
          It wasn’t as though I had attacked them personally or used any troll like language to malign them.
           Their reprisal was the equivalent of a newspaper cancelling the subscription of someone who disagreed with its policy.
          All except Marsland were mentioned in various posts of mine for using vulgar language on Twitter (women's sweary wall). 
I felt that as this would not normally be allowed in any of the publications they write for it was not in keeping with the way journalists as public figures should behave on an open platform like the internet.
          Carien, the City Press’ senior political reporter, was the exception in that she was big enough to just cut out the bad language and do nothing to prevent me monitoring her future Tweets. Well done Carien that’s how all journalists with any backbone should behave.
          Davis the built in dictionary scribe writes for the online paper The Daily Maverick. After my post about her she justified her language in a Maverick article (Telling it like it isn't) and subsequently closed the door to me on her Twitter account.

          Unlike any of the others Hatchuel (Top Sweary Man), a Knysna freelance, directed one of his uncouth Tweets at me personally. Here it is.

          In Marsland’s case (Mommy Blog)I merely disapproved of the stance she took against Pick n Pay on Twitter and in The supermarket group earned her ire when it asked her to remove her tweet which gave the link to Celeste Barlow’s extremely vulgar post about its very successful Stikeez promotion.
Journo on the run

          Marsland the editor of is a South African 25-year media veteran who claims to have been an “influential journalist, editor, columnist and public speaker.” So with that kind of background you wouldn’t have thought that she would have been so easily scared of what I might do if I was allowed to access any more of her tweets.

          Journalists are quick to go crying into print if some government or other body threatens their freedom of expression. But when this very freedom turns against them personally it can be a completely different story as this post so clearly illustrates.
          Reporting in the Maverick on the decision of Media 24, South Africa’s largest online news publisher, to cease accepting reader’s comments Davis wrote: “The announcement has already polarised opinion, with some perceiving it as part of a sinister slide towards a public discourse where only certain opinions are judged ‘correct’ enough to be aired.”
          By blocking me isn’t this exactly what these journalists are doing?

          We all make mistakes Carien (except yours truly of course), but it’s the way we deal with them afterwards that shows our true character. And this is where your score was sky high.
          Well done again Carien. You certainly showed your colleagues how to deal with criticism with courage and dignity.
          Yours critically,
          Jon, Chairman of the Keep Twitter Clean Society. 

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