By resident guest George Farrugia Calleja:

Saviour Balzan, pretty much the sole mover and shaker behind Malta Today, favours the stern and concerned look to adorn the area of his portal from where his opinion is disseminated.

Raphael Vassallo, a writer of long standing with Malta Today, uses a picture that tends to confirm to the dispassionate on-looker that he regards himself as something of a non-conformist, a hippy in print, you might say.

What the aforesaid dispassionate on-lookers think of him, of course, may be at odds with his own opinion of himself, a consideration which would apply to Saviour Balzan, in spades.

What is for sure is that Saviour Balzan really does think he’s the very embodiment of the bee’s knees when it comes to journalism. You can just imagine him glowering at the mirror in the morning, after having performed the three Ss, mentally girding his loins for another long day battling the dragons and knights of untruth and obfuscation.

“Let’s do this” you can just hear him growling to himself, “let’s expose the truth and strike a blow for press freedom, smiting the evil ones hip and thigh”, before striding out to head to the offices in San Ġwann whereon would be emblazoned the slogan “Journalism above everything”, were it not for the fact that one of Balzan’s nemeses had nicked it before he could use it.

It’s fallen into disuse now, maybe it’s time for our Saviour to adopt it for himself.

It would be a nice image, if only it were even marginally true.

Three stories, taken not at random but by reference to coverage already given to them even on this site, give the lie, were it even remotely necessary to do so, to the myth that Malta Today is anything much better than a rag, something on the lines of the defunct “Sun”, without the Page Three adornments.

In no order of importance, consider these three stories that Malta Today ran recently.

In one, we had the pleasure of ruminating fondly on the thought that the Prime Minister’s young children, whose irrelevance in Constitutional or governmental terms is on a par with that of their mother, were to be used as pawns in some game of high diplomacy, whereby an alliance would be forged with the (equally irrelevant) British Royal Family, resulting in absolutely no advantage at all for either country post-Brexit, if that piece of lunacy is ever to come to pass.

Fearless Saviour was not moved to enquire how come children of school age were allowed to miss school with impunity, unlike the children of John and Johanna Q. Public. He was not prompted to ask who had paid for said children to travel with Daddy and Mommy and impose themselves on the adult gathering at which their parents had attended.

Moving on, or backwards in time, I don’t recall which came before, there was the story of that tragic death in Paceville. Malta Today saw nothing wrong in fanning the fire of bigotry and intolerance that burns so strongly in Malta Tagħna Lkoll, which was the (unintended or not) consequence of their slavering enthusiasm to tell a story that was, at best, rushed and, at worst, irresponsible to the nth degree.

The same thoughts can be applied to the story – so-called – that Balzan’s rag ran about the arrest of four suspects, of whom only three have been arraigned. For Malta Today, the real story was that one of the suspects, even wrongly identified to start with, and not eventually arraigned, was the brother of a PN MP. On the un-moderated comments board that lives below every Malta Today story (unless comments are shut down, which is a sight easier than moderating) the ignorance and viciousness poured out.

It must be this feature of Malta Today’s readership that must render this portal so dear to the heart of those for whom insult and invective are the weapons of choice in their fight against their critics. You know the type, Jason Micallef and his ilk, the revolting little people who take the last words of an assassinated journalist and use them to taunt their Government’s interlocutors.

If it were not a joke in and of itself, the Institute of Journalists would come down on Saviour Balzan and his stable like a ton of bricks, for bringing the profession into disrepute. The IGM’s problem is that this particular ship, at least insofar as it is manned by its own members, has sailed, and foundered.