Thursday, 6 June 2013
The Llanelli Star in Choppy Waters
A few days ago this blog questioned why the Llanelli Star was employing the services of Julian Ruck as a weekly columnist, and it turns out that the paper has received strong complaints from regular readers about his bigoted and vitriolic attacks on a range of subjects including the Welsh language and Welsh culture.
The newspaper says that it has had numerous conversations with Julian Ruck to voice its concerns about his column and that it has been unable to reach agreement with him on "objectives for the column moving forward". As a result, the newspaper "is currently not accepting nor receiving further columns from Mr Ruck".
The good news for anyone suffering from withdrawal symptoms is that you can continue to read his rantings on the Labour Party's Labour Uncut website.
The Llanelli Star has also come under fire for its increasingly blatant bias towards the Labour Party under its acting editor, Alana Lewis. In addition to Julian Ruck, the newspaper plays host to regular columns written by Nia Griffith MP (Lab) and Keith Davies AM (Lab). Nothing unusual about that, but three times during May Ms Lewis popped up at the end of the politicans' columns to ask readers to contact her if they had any questions for Nia and Keith, giving readers the impression that she was acting as their agent.
Of course, the Llanelli Star has every right to support any political party it chooses, or none, but if a local paper starts to act as a mouthpiece for a particular political party, it should nail its colours to the mast and make its political leanings clear to readers.
As a marginal constituency in which Labour squeaked in with a majority of just 80 in the last Assembly elections, the Star probably can't afford to alienate a large section of its readership, and it has given assurances that it will remain politically unbiased.
Time will tell.
Bonkers Burry Port
And finally in what has to be one of this week's most bizarre stories, Burry Port Town Council has passed a motion banning any of its councillors who write columns for the Llanelli Star from being a member of its various committees.
The reason for the move was not the sudden discovery by council members of any love for Welsh culture; neither was it triggered by objections to the paper's political bias, but by the activities of Cllr Graham Davies who has begun writing a column for the paper covering dangerous topics such as gardening, holidays and folk music.
The motion was brought by Cllr Steve James, until he was booted out by voters last year one of the leading lights of Pam Palmer's Independent group in County Hall. Cllr James, a practising Tory, explained that councillors were concerned that by writing the column, Cllr Davies might "be in touch with the process of the press", and that by writing a column, it was somehow elevating one particular councillor above the rest, who presumably are barely literate and therefore disqualified from such elitist activities.
With all these columns, it's a wonder that there is any space for news in the Llanelli Star.
Posted by Cneifiwr at 13:59