Sunday, July 2, 2017

PETER BRUCE & THE JOYS OF JOURNOS MAKING THEIR OWN HEADLINES

Dear Peter Bruce, Tiso Blackstar (formerly Times Media) Editor at Large,

          I see you have been having fun with the Guptas. As a journalist the joys of exposing the crooks of this world are never ending now that they can easily hit back via the internet.
          Unlike writing for a newspaper they don’t have to worry about whether what they tell the world is true or not because it’s so difficult to track them down.
          Of course my blog is not in the same league as the publications you write for, but I have taken my share of crooks to task over the years.
We are never too old to learn and your experience has taught me a few things that I hadn’t thought of up to now.
          While you have been accused of cheating on your wife the wide boy I wrote about was not quite so direct when he implied that I was a paedophile who had been jailed for “spreading child pornography.”
          Having smeared me like this in a post he emphasised that whatever the truth people always believed the worst. He then went on to say “that was just a story, but it happened to someone you know.”

          His purpose was to try and show that what I had written on my blog about his criminal activity was an equally fabricated story. Unlike your case where the author was not identified he openly headed his attacked on me with: Kevin Cholwich Labeled (sic).

          After you wrote some not too complimentary things about that immigrant Gupta family, who has capture the imagination of South Africans in more ways than one for years now I see they set up a website to get their own back.

          As you wrote in your latest Business Day column they had you secretly followed and took pictures of you and your wife walking the dogs as well as when you went to a business to order custom made collars for the animals.
          “When the owner walked me back to my car and gave me a goodbye hug they photographed that too,” you told us. That it seems was their basis for saying you had been unfaithful to your wife.
          But if you don’t mind me asking Peter who gets a “goodbye hug” from the “dog collar lady” as you called her unless she happens to be a close relative or…..
          Anyway I can tell you now that after reading about your experience I have stopped hugging our 23 year old, blonde model-like, dog parlour owner every time I take our two poodles in for a cut.

          You never know who is waiting round the corner with some high tech camera ready to catch that compromising moment.
          Also if we go for a walk with our grandchildren I keep well a way from them. My wife can be holding their hands on one side of the road while I just wave to them from the other side.
          You can imagine what my friend Kevin or others I have upset might do with a picture of me looking lovingly down at my six year old granddaughter, especially after the seven year prison sentence Kevin claimed I had been given.
          What got up his nose was a post I wrote in May 2012 in which he was mentioned:noseweek exposes dearjon. A shortened version of it appeared in Noseweek South Africa’s only investigative magazine. Cholwich and his partner in crime Francois Buys had just been exposed on Carte Blanche, the TV investigative channel, as having defrauded numerous people out of a total of more than R100-million with a variety of scams.
          Buys was the only one of the two who had the guts to appear on the show to answer the allegations made against them. The experience evidently proved too much for him because he hung himself a few weeks later. And you don’t do that if you are innocent.
          By coincidence the main thrust of my post was about how I had tried unsuccessfully for years to get the Sunday Times, a paper in your media stable, to stop carrying get-rich-quick advertisements, many of which turned out to be promoting the scams run by Cholwich and Buys. As long as their advertising kept coming in this paper that is promoted as being an expose` publication conveniently ignored their dodgy activities.
          In a different series of posts I also upset the smooth talking Kevin Pearman by shining a light on his shady investment scams. He managed to briefly con Cell C and Telkom into allowing him to sell their services through a network of agents with the only winner being Pearman. He also used the Blue Bulls rugby club logo to promote a scheme that offered unbelievable interest returns. People who invested hundreds of thousands lost it all.
          At one stage Pearman employed Cholwich to sell for him.
          For a long time after my last post about Pearman’s shlenter deals I got anonymous calls on my land line in the earlier hours of the morning. And in an email I saw he blamed me for Buys’ suicide.
          For two years I wrote a hard hitting column Business is Business in the Sunday Times in which I took big business to task for behaving badly. But that was in a different era.
          Things are a lot worse now that anger, spiced with all kinds of lies to attract the most attention, can be easily whipped up in seconds on the internet.
          When you get threatened by a Gupta linked mob surrounding your house journalism is getting more precarious than ever in this Wild South that we now live in.
          Now we have to convince people, especially our wives, close relatives and friends to forget about the old saying: "You can’t believe everything they write in the papers” and replace it with: “Don’t believe anything about me that they put on the internet.”
          You do have the advantage of having a big group behind you. Bloggers like me are on our own.
          Perhaps it’s time for all of us journos to go back to reporting on church fetes and bowls matches
          Happy hunting,
          Regards,
          Jon, the Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman and Consumer Watchdog.
P.S. As some of my posts revealed the established media have a lot to answer for on occasions, so they can also be no better than the internet at times. It’s just that it’s a lot easier to find out where to deliver the summons.
P.P.S. Presumably your firm’s new name of Tiso Blackstar is to dispel any notion that it might be financed by that much maligned “white minority capital.”