Labour needs to hold its domestic audience together. The stories about Chris Cardona on France 2 from last April are starting to penetrate One TV audiences only now it seems that they have been confirmed again with additional facts by La Repubblica a few days ago.

It appears Labour could largely ignore the April reports Chris Cardona met Alfred Degiorgio at the Ferdinand’s Bar between Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder and the arrest of Degiorgio in December. It largely did.

But things appear to be taking a turn for the worse. Chris Cardona’s denials no longer appear to be flying. The Labour Party’s news organisation yesterday had to push out a story creating an alternative narrative for this story. This is different from the story on The Malta Independent on Sunday last Sunday creating an alternative reality where Chris Cardona was not called by Pierre Darmanin in between calls to Daphne Caruana Galizia and Alfred Degiorgio in October 2016.

This time they needed to address what’s really getting to people: why was Chris Cardona meeting Alfred Degiorgio before his arrest?

One TV’s story from yesterday promises an alibi for Chris Cardona: “Video footage confirms Cardona was nowhere near Ferdinand’s Bar on the eve of Fulu’s arrest”.

You hear that title and you expect you are going to get someone, even if an unnamed source, say that they have seen footage for 24 hours (or more to cover the period between the assassination and the arrest) that shows the only entrance and exit of Ferdinand’s Bar and they have ticked off every person going in and out and none of them is Chris Cardona.

But then you read the report and that is not what you get at all.

The story is instead that One TV’s sources have never seen this footage. They heard it exists but it doesn’t anymore. 

So to clarify, Chris Cardona’s alibi is supposed to be video footage not seen by the news organisation or its source, that no record of exists anywhere, that is supposed not to show Chris Cardona.

For people who are always screaming ‘where’s the proof’ they really walk away without much, don’t they?

So this video footage One TV, or its source, never saw, is supposed to have been seen by the inquiry in December 2017, around the time of the arrest. When the police checked for it they found directly from the owner of the cameras where the footage is supposed to have been sourced that they had no footage from the time because it had been automatically deleted as too much time had passed.

Which means the police who spoke to One TV never saw this footage and what it is supposed not to have shown.

What did they do then? Did they visit Chris Cardona and ask him to give an account of his whereabouts in the 48 hours before the arrest of Alfred Degiorgio? Instead of looking for footage that does not show him, which does not exist, did they look for a positive alibi? Where was he that day, where did he sleep, who did he sleep with? Surely some cameras somewhere could have confirmed the story he gave?

But though One TV report the police looked for footage that would not show Chris Cardona in Siġġiewi, they did not look for footage that would show Chris Cardona elsewhere.

One TV did not do this for journalism. But let’s analyse why they would have published this story.

Labour is worried they are not managing to eliminate doubts in their own support base Chris Cardona is too closely connected to murderers and in this case, the murderer of it can be argued he may have a motive to see committed. They need desperately to give them an alternative narrative and this story lets the reluctant doubters run away with the line “but there’s footage that shows Chris Cardona wasn’t there”.

When of course there isn’t such a thing at all.

Chris Cardona needed an alibi since April and he knows full well this is no alibi at all. It’s not even negative evidence. It’s talk of something that does not exist that shows nothing at all. It is the negation of a negative.

He was getting away with ignoring this but after La Repubblica caught him lying and he has nothing to show in his own defence the noose is tightening.

But there’s something more important that comes out of this story, albeit unwittingly. The story says Magistrate Anthony Vella — then inquiring Magistrate into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and today sworn in as a judge in the promotion that took him out of that job — led the inquiry that saw the footage that could exculpate Chris Cardona, but the police did not.

To find the tapes the police did not go to the Magistrate who, the story says, should have been in possession of them. They went looking for the tapes at the source and did not find them. And that’s all they did.

The story clearly acknowledges the police are on a different path than from the criminal inquiry. The criminal inquiry is open to check out any lead the evidence takes it to, including political connections. The police are interested in finding reasons to stymie those leads.

Not that there was ever any doubt why Magistrate Anthony Vella was made judge. The government was not interested in his qualities. Only in that, the inquiry he was leading could lead them in serious heat.

But the France 2 story about Chris Cardona, Alfred Degiorgio and Ferdinand’s bar was published before Anthony Vella was kicked upstairs. What must be really boiling their noodle is that even now, after that promotion which must have seemed like such a brilliant idea at the time, they still need to clumsily outmanoeuvre the inquiry with the help of their crony policemen.

The story that could disprove France 2 or La Repubblica would have served the government best on France 2 or La Repubblica. But for the reasons I explain here they would not buy a nothing in exchange of eyewitness accounts they have on record. What’s fascinating is Labour did not even manage to get this story out on Malta Today or The Malta Independent. I bet they tried.

You are in a tough spot when you need to own your own TV station to push evidence out there you’re not involved in a murder.