Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grubby blogger opens up a can of worms on himself

Blowhard blogger Graham Davis, an Australian who likes to describe himself as an “international award-winning journalist,” has gone too far this time. Not only am I starting to fight back (watch out, Fiji Sun), but others are joining the fray as well. Some are objecting to his gutter attacks on me. They point out that the ongoing jihad against me by Davis and others is a case of history repeating itself, with the same types of attacks having been made a decade ago on the head of journalism at USP by some of the very same people.

But the most delicious part of it all is that Davis has left himself wide open to criticism after blowing his own cover by adding a disclaimer to the bottom of his latest blog entry: “Graham Davis is now a part-time advisor to Qorvis Communications.” Perhaps he felt that was something to be proud of, but U.S.-based Qorvis, which advises the military . . . er, interim government in Fiji on public relations matters, has a nasty reputation worldwide. Much of the work Qorvis does on behalf of repressive regimes apparently consists of manipulating social media content, including sending out false information on Twitter, Facebook, and . . . well, blogs.

Some commenters on the Grubsheet blog are saying they knew it all along. “For too long those in the journalism world suspected you were attached to Qorvis,” remarked a reader using the handle Media Consultant. “Graham has outed himself,” crowed Shoepolish. “I find it sad that a once respected journalist has fallen so low,” wrote Bye Bye Aiyarse. Others demanded details of the financial arrangements. “How much are you pocketting every month from the poor of Fiji,” asked Review Commentator. But the poster who got in the most cutting jibes was doubtless the aptly-named Graham is a sell out, who began by insulting Davis with irony. “Congratulations on your new job! It is about time you get paid for your loyal support for Bainimarama and Khaiyum. It is pleasing to see in this new meritocracy that hard work and arse licking is being rewarded.” The poster soon got down to brass tacks, excoriating Davis: “You are a hypocrite of the worst kind.”
To think you once worked for the BBC world service which has a proud tradition of delivering unbiased news to the repressed people of the world. What would your fellow journalists from the BBC have to say about one of their former colleagues being paid to peddle propaganda for a dictator. You have sold out. You are a Judas and you can no longer call yourself a journalist.
To give Davis credit, he allows readers their say, and then gives it back in spades. “There is a strange notion of some kind of conspiracy here,” he replied, insisting: “There is none.” Graham is a sell out saw an opening and pounced. “His career is over as a serious journalist because no longer is he seeking out the truth for his readers,” the poster declared. “He is now paid to manipulate the truth to help keep a dictator in power.”
Understand that every word written from Davis on Fiji from now on will be written to a brief from Qorvis and the Ministry of Information. Every word will now be approved by them. This is nothing new for Davis as he has been working for them unpaid for a number of months in order to get the contract.
Davis protested the purity of his intentions. “It is my opinion that I peddle, not propaganda for the regime, Qorvis or anyone else. My views are genuinely held and heartfelt.” Others then interrupted with side issues what was getting to be a very watchable catfight, and it was almost 24 hours before Graham is a sell out resumed the assault, this time with telling effect.
Graham is a sell out: Can you give me another example of an award winning journalist being paid by a dictator’s PR firm who writes independently and objectively on the dictatorship?
Graham Davis: Were I to have embraced my opinions as a direct result of my relationship with Qorvis, you would have a point. But my support for the multiracial agenda of the Bainimarama government is long-standing and pre-dates the relationship by many years. Nice try, though.
Graham is a sell out: You claim your views have not been changed by payment so let me re-word my question. Can you think of any other award winning journalist who shared exactly the same views and opinions as human rights abusing dictator?
Graham Davis: I will not be interrogated by an anonymous, faceless nobody. I have given you an answer. This is merely rude and gratuitous. Bugger off.
This from the man who took me to task for telling him to “drop dead” when he accused me of hubris. Graham is a sell out was obviously cutting Davis to the quick. I could almost see his porcine visage reddening as he composed his profane reply, with spittle forming at the corners of his mouth. Graham is a sell out kept up the assault, baiting Davis.
Graham is a sell out: I have been taken to the camp for expressing my views and so I wish to remain anonymous.. Though I am a bit of a showoff and I would love to speak openly so I will tell you what. You start exposing the Human Rights abuses of this regime and do some investigative journalism on Fiji, instead of your regime puff pieces, and I will post on grubsheet under my real name.
Graham Davis: Honestly, aren’t we Mr Goody Two Shoes personified. Human rights abuses? What about the abuse of the human rights of 40 per cent of the population by the Qarase Government? You choose to cast me as a spin doctor for the dictator. Fine. But what are you doing to assist Fiji back to democratic rule? Hide behind a mask and spruik self-indulgent, self-righteous cant. Again. Bugger off.
Graham is a sell out had carefully baited the line, providing just enough clues to keep Davis wondering who this was. Now the anonymous commenter deftly dropped the bomb and reeled the grubby one in, hook, line, and stinker.
Graham is a sell out: Maybe the next time I meet you at Dilip’s, I will let slip my true feelings and we can have a debate. Sorry not going to happen because now you are a fully paid up informer of the regime.
Graham Davis: So you are in my social circle but you still haven’t got the guts to reveal yourself. How pathetic is that? . . . Citing a friend of mine like you have is a complete disgrace. My opinions are mine, not his. And to drag him into this shows what a low-life you are.
Graham is a sell out: I know his opinions are not yours. As for me being a low life. That may be true. But I have not sold my principles and my credibility for a few lousy bucks.
Dilip is no doubt Suva lawyer Dilip Jamnadas, who is said to be one of Grubsheet’s prime sources of information. Graham is a sell out must have really struck a nerve with Grubby, because Davis never once again engaged his newfound bête noire on subsequent comments he made on the blog entry that was meant to excoriate me. Instead it seems to have blown up in Grubby’s face in more ways than one. Thanks, I really enjoyed that, Graham is a sell out. But you didn’t have to go to all that trouble. No one seems to have noticed that Davis indicted himself in the very first reply he made to a comment on that blog post. In tut-tutting with my foe Thakur Ranjit Singh, Davis let it slip that he has been paid for some time to launch online attacks against me. “I have nothing personal against Marc Edge,” he started to argue before likely realizing no one would buy that line of twaddle.
No, that’s not true. I am annoyed that he has attacked me publicly for doing my job, and especially for raising the legitimate public interest issue of whether he used his position as a senior USP academic to gain a personal benefit from a commercial entity.
Davis was referring, of course, to the Fiji Timesadvertorial” I appeared in touting the Suva Point Apartments, which he claimed was unethical for a journalism educator. He demanded to know if I had received anything in return for my endorsement of the new apartment complex on Fletcher Road in Vatuwaqa, where I was the first tenant to move in and which I highly reccomend to anyone. I pointedly ignored his demand until he threatened to take it up with the USP hierarchy and to launch a complaint against the Times with the Media Authority. To save those busy people from being bothered by Grubby, I happily denied taking anything from the Times. He and others have ever since been demanding to know if I received anything from my landlord in exchange for appearing in the article, which I have again ignored, but which I will be happy to deny now.

But it was last May when Graham attacked me for this and other things. He claims his blog is just a “hobby.” But he now admits he has been annoyed with me for some time for fighting back against his blog attacks, or as he puts it, “for doing my job.” Well, a job is something you get paid for, right? It seems the Qorvis quid pro quo has been going on for awhile. Gotcha again, Graham.


  1. Marc,
    Graham has had a cosy relationship for a long time with the regime. As you can see from this email excahnge between him and Sharon over a year ago.

  2. Yes, there doesn't seem to be too much doubt about that.

  3. When you're both done with the juvenile behavior, I'll anticipate more investigative reporting on some real news.