The joke’s on them…

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A prominent Welsh politician has joined others in endorsing comments by a ‘comedian’ who made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used foul language to abuse other senior politicians on social media, and was investigated by the police, The Eye can reveal.

A highly-critical piece on Huw Marshall has appeared in Private Eye, yet his remark about “an independent Wales” was ‘Retweeted’ by the deputy leader of Plaid Cymru (PC), member of the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament (SC/WP) Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, and several of his colleagues have also backed him.

Mr Marshall has been embraced by the Welsh-speaking establishment, but past controversies about him are well known, and they have been constantly highlighted by our journalists, with the judgements of these leading figures now being called into question.

Armed police surround Raoul Moat – but Huw Marshall made a ‘joke’ about the incident

Two people died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes when gunman Raoul Moat shot them, yet despite this on July 8, 2010 – with him trying to escape from armed police – he published a message on his Facebook (FB) site, reading: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some fun.

“My Mr Right should be a big strong ginger man with a fiery temper and a jealous nature, who also enjoys camping and writing long letters. 

“If this sounds like you contact me at armedresponse@northumberlandpolice.org.uk.”

Raoul Moat was a Mr Right in Huw Marshall’s ‘jokes’

Another post read: “Moat reward… if he isn’t caught by next Wednesday, the rewards (sic) being doubled. It’s going to be a Raul (sic) over”.

In 2013, it was disclosed that Mr Marshall had made abusive remarks using bad language, to senior politicians, on Twitter, and complaints after further comments led to a reprimand by the social media company.

Welsh Government minister Ken Skates MS, cannot have been happy at being called a ‘gloating t**t’

One insult eight years ago, was directed at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates with another hurled at the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black.

After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over Plaid Cymru (PC) in Ruabon, Mr Marshall referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”. Mr Marshall also described Mr Black as a “humourless t..t”and a “dull, tedious t..t”.

Mr Marshall has said, too, that he contacted the police but that there was little they can do as “it is a waste of their precious time”, and “I really pity those who try to undermine my work and reputation”.

But it seems the police HAVE had time to investigate Mr Marshall for alleged harassment.

Helen Mary Jones- ‘Huw Marshall’s language project was such good news’

On Twitter he told South Wales Police (SWP) that he intended to make a complaint, however officers responded by informing him that they have a “responsibility to investigate any reports”.

Meanwhile hundreds of pounds have been pledged by the public to Mr Marshall for his new ‘national media service’, but alarming headlines about him such as these persist.

They form an unlikely backdrop to the ‘Retweet’ by Mr ap Iorwerth, as well as backing for Mr Marshall’s activities from his colleagues.

His new ‘national media service’ was wished “Best of luck” by Welsh Government (WG) minister Lee Waters, MS, and a supposed ‘language project’ was described as “Newyddion da (Good news)” by fellow PC MSHelen Mary Jones.

Bethan (then) Jenkins, AM, Huw Marhsall, Martin Shipton (then) Chief Reporter of the Western Mail and Dr Ruth McElroy of USW hold a ‘packed’ discussion

Yet Mr Marshall has long been a contentious individual, with his ‘projects’ under intense scrutiny, and these personalities should have known this.

Even in November 2016 (years after his indiscretions) he was used as an ‘expert’ on the Welsh media. Mr Marshall was part of a panel on The Future of the Welsh Media at the University of South Wales (USW) in Cardiff along with PC’s Bethan Jenkins (then) AM, Martin Shipton Chief Reporter of the Western Mail (then) and Dr Ruth McElroy of USW.

The discussion was described in literature afterwards as “packed” (sic) and Ms Jenkins (now Sayed) said: “although broadcasting is not devolved, it’s an area of great importance to public life in Wales”.

But financing his many ventures seems to be problematic for Mr Marshall, and he has also stated on social media: “Just had feedback on an unsuccessful funding bid. I use the word feedback in the loosest possible term…..”

His present venture is a new ‘national news service’ New Media Wales (NMW), with the pilot dubbed The News Wales (TNW) [which was wished “best of luck” by Mr Waters].

Yet NMW has ‘partnered’ with the huge Newsquest Media Group (which has made many of Mr Marshall’s supporters uneasy – see piece tomorrow), and he plans to run his ‘NATIONAL news service’ with just TWO digital reporters.

NMG is the UK arm of the giant, controversial, American corporation Gannett Inc. and its behaviour has been highlighted by the journalists union NUJ.

Meanwhile, it is a fundamental tenet of news journalism, as well, to be entirely neutral, yet this may be difficult for Mr Marshall as he has stood for a political party in the past.

In 1992 Mr Marshall was PC’s Parliamentary candidate in Cardiff Central, coming fourth with just 748 votes, however his plans to stand for election as a councillor were scuppered when it emerged that he had posted the so-called ‘jokes’ about Moat, and published the abusive remarks to politicians on social media.

His NMW/TNW has also made headlines, with the ‘stories’ being described in Private Eye as “cut and pasted from other news organisations”, and they have been highlighted, too, by The Eye. 

He has published on TNW an article about a doctor learning Welsh, which bore a striking resemblance to an item on the website of a centre which teaches the language to adults, Nant Gwrtheyrn.

Spelling words properly should be child’s play for journalists

Mr Marshall headlined ‘his’ story: “Aldey Hey Choldren’s Hospital doctor on learning Welsh” when it is in fact AldeR Hey and, of course, CHILDREN’S (correct spelling, too, is paramount for journalists).

The item began:  “Dr Jonathan Hurst is a doctor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He’s been learning Welsh for the last two years.

AldeR Hey is a hospital…

“Jonathan, who is originally from Stockport now lives on the Wirral. As a child, he was captivated by the beauty of the Welsh language, traveling to north Wales to take part in various athletic competitions.” etc.

The Nant Gwrtheyrn article opened with:  Dr Jonathan Hurst is a doctor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He’s been learning Welsh for the last two years.

…Nant Gwrtheyrn isn’t

“Jonathan, who is originally from Stockport now lives on the Wirral. As a child, he was captivated by the beauty of the Welsh language, traveling to north Wales to take part in various athletic competitions.” etc.

The endings too are completely identical.

Huw Marshall does not walk past The Leader without using its stories

Yet this is not the first time Mr Marshall has made news when so-called ‘stories’ have appeared in other publications.

This was an article in The Leader based in North WalesNORTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is standing down.

“Mr Jones, the region’s second ever police and crime commissioner, has announced he will be retiring at the next election whenever it is held.” etc.

Arfon Jones – retiring

This was the article in TNW which followed it: “NORTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is standing down.

“Mr Jones, the region’s second ever police and crime commissioner, has announced he will be retiring at the next election whenever it is held.” etc.

In fact the two pieces are exactly the same throughout, yet TNW underneath theirs says: Posted in Welsh News.

Grown up journalism does not involve copying

Sometimes the changes are minor, such as when Wrexham becomes Wrecsam.

This, once more, was The Leader“WREXHAM Maelor Hospital is under “immense pressure” amid rising coronavirus cases, a doctor has warned.  Dr Steve Stanaway, medical director at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, says his teams are dealing with “huge numbers” of cases – which have grown by 86 per cent since Christmas. Speaking to ITV Wales News, Dr Stanaway said the hospital is currently dealing with 108 cases, 11 of which are patients in critical care …” etc.

Wrexham (or Wrecsam) Maelor Hospital was under ‘immense pressure’ – twice…

This was Mr Marshall’s TNW: “Wrecsam Maelor Hospital is under “immense pressure” amid rising coronavirus cases, a doctor has warnedDr Steve Stanaway, medical director at Wrecsam Maelor Hospital, says his teams are dealing with “huge numbers” of cases – which have grown by 86 per cent since Christmas. Speaking to ITV Wales News, Dr Stanaway said the hospital is currently dealing with 108 cases, 11 of which are patients in critical care…” etc

Evidently I have become something of a thorn in Mr Marshall’s side, because he says he has a number of different Twitter accounts, but claims he reserves one for ‘stories’ which may bother me, saying “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”.

Yet his so-called ‘stories’ on NMW or TNW from The Leader or the Nant Gwrtheyrn website are not the only examples.

This was the piece in The Powys County Times from the Press Association (PA):A former Welsh Conservative Party leader has been criticised for equating protesters at the US Capitol to those who supported a second referendum on Brexit.

“Andrew RT Davies, now the Welsh Conservatives health spokesman, responded to a tweet by Sir Keir Starmer, in which the Labour leader described the “horrendous scenes” in Washington DC as “a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people”. etc.

Andrew RT Davies said the same thing

This was the piece in TNW: “A former leader of the Welsh Conservative Party has been criticised for equating protesters at the US Capitol to those who supported a second referendum on Brexit.

“Andrew RT Davies, now the Welsh Conservatives health spokesman, responded to a tweet by Sir Keir Starmer, in which the Labour leader described the “horrendous scenes” in Washington DC as “a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people”. etc.

Book posterWhether or not these have been “cut and pasted from other news organisations” as Private Eye reported, as well as being neutral (because many in Wales belong to different political parties) it is also a fundamental tenet of news journalism to provide original material, and critics believe a ‘comedian’ who made sick ‘jokes’ about a rampaging gunman who had murdered people, been investigated by the police and used foul language on social media, should not have been endorsed by senior politicians.

 

Tomorrow – The Eye’s Editor Phil Parry looks at the disturbing background to Mr Marshall’s controversial ‘national’ news service partnering with a huge corporation, and what that means for another nationalist website supported by public money.

The memories of his astonishing decades-long award-winning career in journalism (before the advent of NMW or TNW) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!