Saviour Balzan wants a live phone-in with the bile queen whose name he can’t mention

Published: February 2, 2017 at 1:57pm

I have just received a telephone call from a nice and polite producer of Saviour Balzan’s TVM show, XTra, which tonight features a face-off between the Minister for the Economy, Chris Cardona, and the deputy leader of the Opposition, Beppe Fenech Adami. The subject is Brothelgate, a story which this website broke late last Monday night.

The producer told me that Saviour Balzan would like a live phone-in with me during the show – live in the sense that it will take place while the studio debate is going on, because the show is actually recorded this afternoon.

I said, in the same polite tone, that Saviour Balzan is a grown adult male with a telephone and my telephone number and that if he wants a phone-in with me on his show, he can ask me himself, instead of taking the cowardly route of delegating his producer to do it.

He has too much on right now to ring you himself, the producer told me, and I’m the one whose job it is to ring people for these things.

Still, I said, given the very peculiar circumstances, he has got to ring me himself, because I need to know directly from him why he’s gone from calling me a liar, refusing to mention my name, referring to me in his supposedly serious newspaper as a bile blogger, poison pen blogger and queen of bile, rubbishing my reports, sticking up for those I report about, to suddenly building his show on the back of a story I broke and wanting a live phone-in with me.

After all, the last time we had a telephone conversation of any length, it didn’t go too well. Though we did meet up around a year later to bury the hatchet – my initiative, because I think it’s ridiculous that journalists attack and undermine each other rather than forming a common front against corrupt politicians, which is our job – he has carried on and I haven’t.

Live phone-in with the bile blogger? Unless Balzan has had a Damascene conversion and finally understood that his personal malice towards me and the facts which I break about politicians are two entirely separate issues, then he’s just up to no good with his live phone-in and has planned it with the Minister for the Economy. Only last Sunday he dedicated his column – tediously yet again – to maligning me. And now he wants a live phone-in.

I’m not a politician. I’m the journalist who broke the story. And I have nothing to say over the telephone on Saviour Balzan’s show that I haven’t written here already. If I want to speak to that dissolute individual, Christian Cardona, I will go looking for him at the Stable bar as I have done before – when I broke another story about how he was living in a Portomaso flat, free of charge, borrowed from businessman Silvan Fenech.

Balzan had stuck up for Cardona then too. Because of course it’s completely reprehensible for the Minister of Finance to take a trip on George Fenech’s private jet to watch a football match (he shouldn’t have), and the gift of a 400-euro clock is the stuff of major front-page scandal, but when the Minister for the Economy accepts a luxury flat rent-free from Silvan Fenech, George Fenech’s nephew, after his wife throws him out of the marital villa, that’s fine. Because the bile queen reported it.

How was he planning on introducing me on his show, anyway? “Issa magħna fuq il-linja għandna dik – eh eh eh – li qatt ma ngħid isimha – eh eh eh – dik il-bile blogger. Tista tgħidilna kif taf li l-Ministru kien f’burdell il-Germanja? Giddieba!”

I wish Beppe Fenech Adami the best of luck and patience in enduring them both: a corrupt and sleazy brothel-creeper and a journalist who feels obliged to fight the corrupt and sleazy brothel-creeper’s corner because he has such overwhelming personal malice towards the journalist who broke the story.

Let’s hope Saviour Balzan can see that a Maltese government minister who goes to a brothel in Germany, while an official guest of the German government, taking his ministerial consultant into the brothel with him and giving that ministerial consultant a hold on him as a result, is a very serious matter. And whether we like or don’t like the journalist who was lucky enough to know somebody else who was right there in the same brothel is completely irrelevant.