Talented, biased and partial: how Norm stormed onto our TV screens

JOSANNE CASSAR on why the Where’s Everybody protégé may have not been suited for presenting a current affairs daily show on PBS…

Norman Vella (centre) - a production ace who should not have been a TV presenter?
Norman Vella (centre) - a production ace who should not have been a TV presenter?

Norman Vella may have had hidden talents when it came to producing programmes behind the scenes, but as a TV presenter of the daily talk show TVhemm for the last eighr months, he brought new meaning to the term 'bias'.  It got to the point towards the end of the election campaign that he barely even tried to suppress his personal antagonistic feelings towards politicians from the Labour party.

Should a presenter make it so obvious that his main aim is to keep his favourite political party in power? I think anyone who is not hopelessly blinkered will reply in the negative.

FULL STORY Political overtones of an overnight TV sensation

For many, the early evening show came to represent everything that was spiralling out of control within the PN as it tried to cling to power at all costs. The fact that we had Norman in our faces every day, five days a week (with a repeat in the mornings for good measure), badgering Labour politicians while acting benign with their Nationalist counterparts was nothing short of overkill. He came to personify an administration which was so desperate that it threw any semblance of impartiality and adherence to broadcasting laws out the window.

As a presenter and self-styled 'journalist', Norman Vella did a huge disservice to viewers who were turning to the national station to learn the facts of current issues during this potentially explosive time. Instead what they were regaled with were shouting matches, as the presenter argued hotly with his guests, barely giving them a chance to get a word in edgewise- but only with certain guests of course. Understandably, for Labour voters he came to symbolise the arrogance of the government at the time, which was determined to squash any dissenting voices.

Apart from his blatant, unashamed bias towards the PN administration, Norman, in my view, should never have been allowed in front of a camera for the simple reason that he did not elevate the tone of discourse one bit, but rather the opposite. PBS has an ethical obligation to select well-trained, professional presenters who can demonstrate through example that it is possible to strongly disagree when it comes to politics without resorting to fishwife hysterics. What we do not need is an often rude, ill-mannered presenter who himself loses his self-control, forgetting that he is not exchanging insults at a local kazin but is being watched by viewers at home.

When we switch on our TV sets to watch the national station, we expect to see standards which are much, much higher than that.

 

 

Josanne Cassar blogs at www.josannecassar.com


 

 

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Anyone remember that Where's Everybody always wanted a daily current affairs programme to the detriment of TVM newsroom? Well Norman, took the place of a number of journalist who were transferred to desks in the public service. So why all this hullabaloo? The same is happening to him? Has he any right to be on TVM? No! The fact that the programme was ranked third highest means nothing. Xarabank (do I remember someone now in PBS Board saying "the people wants junk tv, so gives them junk tv")was always first attracting advertising and sponsors. But look now.
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Kif jista Norman ikompli l-missjoni tieghu li jippriedka kontra l-Labour jekk issa hemm l-PL fil-Gvern? Ahna ahna jew m'ahniex? Jekk ma jghogbux ix-xoghol ta skrivan mac-civil jirrezenja u jibda jahdem ghal rasu bir-riskji kollha- u nixtieqlu kull success; imma jekk le ifisser li Norman iridha hobbla u tredda: issa la l-parrinu tighek gie sfiducjat tridt toqghod ghaliha!
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very very well placed Ms Cassar. I thoroughly agree with you. I felt disgust every time I tuned to TVM and saw excerpts at what was being pushed down our throats before March.
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One wonders by what measuring stick you have concluded that Mr. Vella is a talented journalist. He is brash, crude, and arrogant, as a hired gun whose aim was directed at the Maltese electorate to deceive and manipulate an election result. Such immoral activists have existed in Malta for half a century. They always counted that the Maltese mentality in regards to party loyalty could be bought and sold through media manipulation. At the end they received their pot of gold through government generosity in contracts by direct orders.
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...talking about being biased and partial...!!
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@ Alfred Bugeja Just because he started a career in journalism does not qualify him as a journalist, just as much as driving a car does not make one a formula One driver. Get Real!
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Very well said Josanne. He was abusing the national station, to put forward his party's agenda.
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Mr Vella did his time on PBS..let them give someone else that chance. That would imply fairness to one and sundry.
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It is unfair on his colleagues to keep one foot in a public post while exploring the private enterprise. His colleagues did not enjoy such a benefit and had to fend for themselves come what may.
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Mr. Bugeja just for your information. His dad was a high ranking GWU official when something gave and he disappeared from the scene. Thus it is obvious that he started his career at Union Press and One Production. In fact when his family parted company from the Union and the Party he was hired by PBS. The fact that his us the third most popular programm does not cut any ice. Popularity does not equate to quality. In fact the most trashy programms tend to attract huge audiances. Add to this the fact that PBS was the station of reference for PN supporters and it answers why it was the third most popular programm. And if you followed it and did not think is was biased I am afraid your are lacking in the intelligence department.
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The former PPS has much to answer for in my opinion. Yet...
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Oh, Josanne. Maybe if in your article you had not conveniently omitted that Norman Vella had started his career as a journalist with Union Print and One TV (not exactly Nationalist-leaning media) and that his TVHemm show consistently placed as the third favourite programme with Maltese audiences while it was running, we would have been tempted to take you as a serious 'unbiased' journalist.
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I do not know about 'talented', but I cannot but fully agree with all the rest.