The past couple of years have seen a fair amount of mud-slinging between the Times Media Group (TMG) and Independent Media but this week it reached a new crescendo.
It began with a piece by Financial Mail’s Ann Crotty in which she asked if Independent Media owner Iqbal Surve was stripping the company’s assets. There was a fair bit of speculation in the piece although also enough data to suggest that Crotty is not entirely off course on this one. Crotty is a former Independent Media journalist with a long history of tracking Independent’s owners.
As usual it didn’t take Independent long to respond, this time in the form of an opinion piece by Adri Senekal de Wet, executive editor of Independent Media’s business unit in which she labelled Crotty’s piece as “fake news”. Senekal de Wet heads up one of the very business units that Crotty raised questions about in her original piece. Senekal de Wet didn’t, however, address any of the issues raised by Crotty but instead labelled her as “Ann Grumpy”, “Aunty Ann”, “disgruntled ex-employee” and a “wane-be Independent purchaser” (sic).
Of course this was just the opening that Independent’s competitor was waiting for. TMG’s Ray Hartley immediately took to Facebook to use the column to promote the group’s recently launched paywalled products: