Wednesday 21 April 2010

Blogger takes local paper to task over election candidate's bizarre 'basque and stockings' biog

The Sutton and Cheam Guardian has got a slating from the Anna Raccoon blog  for giving one of eight election candidates a potted biography which read:

Martin Cullip, Libertarian
Plays with Surrey Darts team and helps maintain their Toe the Oche website.
The website cites his hobbies as The Cranberries, AFC Wimbledon and “running across all eight lanes of the M25 at junction eight dressed only in a basque and a pair of Pretty Polly 15 denier stockings”.
Anna says: "Martin was not hard to track down, he is a well known local business man, and was listed in the phone book.  It took me all of five minutes, from another country, and I’m a non-fact checking, non-professional  journalist. I called him.
"Why, I asked, would you give such a frivolous interview to the local paper; your habit of running across the M.25 in 15 denier stockings is hardly likely to encourage your chances of being elected, why not take the opportunity to put forward your Libertarian beliefs?
Mr Cullip exploded. His wife, he told me, had been in tears all night.  He said:
“I knew politics was dirty, but I wasn’t expecting the local press to join in! My wife went from being immensely proud to almost in tears in a couple of hours. I’m more thick-skinned, but not happy.”
Anna, who admits to being a supporter of the Libertarian Party, says the other biogs of the candidates were quite straight forward and Cullip had supplied a detailed one himself, which she publishes.
Anna adds: "A little more digging and I discovered that the quote came from an obviously satirical piece written some eight years ago, and reproduced without permission from a copyrighted web site."
She has quotes from the editor of the Sutton and Cheam Guardian as well as Roy Greenslade, who told her: “It’s a disgraceful piece of journalism to lampoon a serious general election candidate on the basis of an unverified source. Once again, it underlines the dangers of reporters working online and then failing to check the truth of the content, especially when the website material is controversial."

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