• January 21, 2010

A curious article has appeared in the only commercial Isle of Man Newspaper group which seems to indicate a degree of obsession in the Editorial team.

The Editors Blog cites an anecdotal tale of an anonymous Taxi driver telling a fare how completely manipulated by government the newspaper’s content is (see below):

https://www.iomtoday.co.im/editorsblog/According-to-a-taxi-driver.5991011.jp

Now there’s nothing new about this. Periodically over the years people have raved on about bias in the media and back in the days of the old Examiner group there may – or may not – have been some truth in this.

More recently the late and much respected satirist Roly Drower frequently took Isle of Man newspapers to task in his Manxman Black pages – but a lot of this was tongue in cheek.

What is surprising is that, if the mysterious Taxi Driver does exist, the newspaper and its Editor have deigned to react to his utterances.

The situation is compounded by the paper’s Editor having a lively exchange (once again on the subject of content and balance) on one of the open forum groups (Topica Manks see link):

https://lists.topica.com/lists/manks

Taken together it seems to indicate an unusual sensitivity in the Islands equivalent of `Fleet Street’.

Most bodies (and individuals) in public life are fair game. Politicians are regularly roasted. Manx Nationalists (including the author of this post) are always fair game and are frequently lambasted (not least by the press).

Trade Unionists are frequently lampooned in what is essentially a `right-wing’ community.

However, all this `goes with the turf’ and if you speak out be prepared to be sniped at, criticised and in these days of the internet, lampooned.

One of the problems that the two main organs of the Manx media have is the perception some members of the public have of the leverage that government hold over them.

Isle of Man newspapers (or newstraitors as the more extreme nationalist fringe once termed them) got generous start-up money from the government (although this was simply the same industrial support as others nave received). There is also a substantial traunch of government advertising which must contribute substantially to their annual income. However, it’s a somewhat distorted interpretation to extrapolate from this undue government influence or the `dark hand’ of the Chief Minister’s spin-doctors in the newsroom.

Similarly, Manx Radio receives an annual subvention from government but you would be hard-pressed to draw a link between this and newsroom policy towards government.

The concerns articulated in the Isle of Man newspapers Editors Blog seem to indicate an unwarranted sensitivity. Newspaper Editors and hacks together with Radio reporters will just have to get used to the fact that on occasion they are as disliked and lampooned as politicians, trade unionists and…..nationalists!

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