As soon as the news was out about a week’s groceries costing €25 I have to admit that I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. How could a Minister or his advisors not know how much people, even ones who are immensely careful every week, spend for a week’s worth of groceries?
This angered many people. If a Minister is elected to Parliament (especially on a Labour ticket) most people would assume that he is close to the pains common people face everyday, including how much it is spent on basic needs like groceries every week.
After I wrote the blog – which you can read here – I noticed that the mention of groceries were slowly disappearing from news reports and instead ’10 days worth of electricity’ was being mentioned.
After a whole day of being personally attacked about having some kind of agenda and being called a liar I decided to do some digging.
Google has a very useful feature called cache. Cache in simple terms shows older versions of webpages.
Here you can see how both Times of Malta and The Malta Independent reported how Minister Konrad Mizzi said that €25 is a week’s worth of groceries. I doubt two journalists from competing newspapers made the same mistake.
What does this mean for the rest of us? Not much. The truth is that online news can be manipulated and whilst other news organisations have comments about what has been altered from a news report as times go by, this is not done locally.
The €25 being worth a week’s groceries was bad PR by the Minister. Trying to hide it and sweeping away every evidence of it is horrible. If the Minister felt he did a mistake this should have been clarified by his PR person by issuing another statement.
In politics, especially in the age of Google, these lies will come to surface.