Media Monitor: 4.5 percent disrespectful, i95.5 percent e-literate and 100 percent wrong about Pro League story!

“I know English. Goodbye.” Click.

That was how an exchange between i95.5’s Andre E. Baptiste’s exchange with a caller on his Saturday Sports programme ended yesterday evening. Trying to get back on, the caller was immediately cut off.

Photo: 195.5fm sports presenter Andre E Baptiste (left) poses with former TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre) and Toyota official Nicholas McDonald.  (Courtesy: Toyota)

My slave name—thank you, Dr Fergus—is a superlative and I am a regular i95.5fm listener because i95.5fm is a superlative radio station. It is “the most influential name in radio” and “the number one radio station for news and sports;” their football team is “the world’s greatest football team” and they have “the most feared sports commentator in the region,” who, at around 7.20am every day, discusses “in one minute, everything that is topical in sport.”

So really, with a name like mine, I should easily fit in. But, alas, I’m still learning English so there is no place for me. Not even as a caller.

“I know English. Goodbye.” Click.

I am still learning English but I already know enough of it to know that there are not too many people who know English who would agree with Baptiste’s claim that he knows English. Perhaps Sam Phillip, who was his guest on Saturday. And Richard Thompson, who was Baptiste’s guest the previous Saturday after his priceless communication lesson about reading tone in—into?—a Ministry of Sport official’s email.

And certainly Roxanne Gialdo, who does not appear able to disagree with Baptiste on anything.

Phillip complained that Wired868 had misreported him on Friday. In part, the headline on Roneil Walcott’s story about why he had resigned his position as chairman of the TT Pro League read thus: “Phillip: Unsuccessful SPORTT meeting was final straw…”

Photo: Football legend Marcus Gayle (left) speaks to Wired868 reporter Roneil Walcott during the 2015 Flow Legends Community Legacy Outreach programme at Speyside Recreation Grounds, Tobago.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Egged on by Baptiste, Phillip sought to explain the inaccuracy. He and two other Pro League representatives, he told listeners, had on Thursday met with three SPORTT representatives, including Chairman Dinanath Ramnarine. At that meeting, Phillip discovered that a document he had submitted to SPORTT some nine months earlier for consideration by the GORTT had never been discussed at Cabinet level.

Not content with having “only negatives to report to the Board,” he explained, he tendered his resignation to the Board at a meeting of the Pro League the next day.

Here is how Wired868 had reported all of that:

Former Pro League chairman Sam Phillip said a disappointing meeting with the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) earlier this week was the final straw in his decision to quit the football post.

Nine months ago, the Pro League submitted to SPORTT a proposal regarding the government subvention for clubs—which fell from TT$80,000 to TT$50,000 to potentially zero—and access to community fields. However, according to Phillip, SPORTT officials informed the League that the document never reached Cabinet and invited the local football body to re-submit a proposal.

Both Baptiste and Phillip—and, it goes without saying, Gialdecho!—found that that did not justify the headline. Further, it was “not clear”—Baptiste repeated the phrase at least half a dozen times—that SPORTT was not at fault.

Photo: i95.5FM sports presenter Andre Baptiste.

“It wasn’t clear enough,” he told his listeners. “It could leave some doubt.”

Half a dozen times too, in referring to the as yet undiscussed document handed to SPORTT by the TT Pro League, Baptiste who, remember, knows English, talked about a “Cabinet note.”

Because I am still learning English, I took the trouble of checking the Oxford Dictionary of English for a definition of “Cabinet note.” No luck there. So I turned to a person I know who has intimate knowledge of things parliamentary. Here is the definition he provided:

A detailed proposal, including background information, analysis, rationale and specific recommendations, presented to the Cabinet by and in the name of a Minister of Government authorised to do so.

Maybe it is because of my own shortcomings once more but I cannot for the life of me see what a Cabinet note has to do with anything in the Wired868 story.

And how anyone who knows English can misunderstand SPORTT officials informed the League that the document never reached Cabinet is well beyond me.

Or how anyone can take that sentence to mean that the reporter blamed SPORTT for the TT Pro League’s document not reaching the Cabinet.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left), Finance Minister Colm Imbert (centre) and former Trinidad and Tobago international hockey goalkeeper Joey Lewis at a sod turning event.
(Courtesy DMRCTT)

But English—or the lack of mastery of it—is clearly my problem. After all, I only taught modern languages for about two decades in the original prestige school. And for four decades since the early 1970’s, I wrote continually for Tapia/Trinidad and Tobago Review. Also I was an editor at the Guardian—where one of my chores was editing Baptiste’s occasional submissionsthen at the Express for ten years and then a copy editor at the TTR for two years. Subsequently, I lectured for ten years in COSTAATT’s Language, Literature and Communication Studies Department and then its School of Journalism and Communication Studies.

I think I learned, I say immodestly, a little English.

Certainly enough to write, in my capacity as editor, accurate headlines on Wired868 stories. And to challenge erroneous interpretations and/or criticisms of same on the radio without being treated to the disrespect of “I know English. Goodbye.” Click.

I shudder to think of how less accoladed people might be treated merely because they don’t know English.

Photo: Three-time Olympic medallist Richard Thompson, who claimed to have been disrespected by a Ministry of Sport official.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Author’s note: There are just a handful of words beginning with ‘th’ in which the ‘h’ is not pronounced; ‘Thompson’ is one of them but ‘Thursday,’ someone should tell Mr Baptiste, is not.

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About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    But why embrass some one in the first place??

  2. I use to listen to Andre’s show on Saturdays but my interest has since waned. I think this is due in part to Andre always complaining about athlete funding. I do not have any facts to say either yea or nay but I would like to find out what support our Government provides to track and field athletes in comparison to what support the Jamaican Government give to their track and field athletes. We can look at the funding over the last 2 years. Next I would like to compare the performance of our athletes to the Jamaican athletes over this same period of 2 years. I am of the view that although funding is important, I think organization is just as critical. So I wish Andre would do an analysis and then let us know the results. Maybe then he would stop complaining about funding and devote more attention to organization.

  3. Haha haha Maybe you need to investigate and than write a story as to why he was fired from the Toyota car company in our sweet country Them really good yes

  4. i95.5FM makes noisy response to Wired868… We respond to suit! Lol

  5. The Self-proclaimed Fearless One being the Self-proclaimed Fearless One. My ears are still traumatised by his pronouncing Zinedine Zidane as Zinedine Zedine!

  6. Unfortunately you either agree with the host or you get cut off. That is why I no longer tune in to that program. It has gone from intelligent sports debate to a continuous diatribe.

  7. errrrybaddy know you don’t punch with your thumbs

  8. So why my name was mentioned eh and that voice sounding like Brian Springer eh leh meh give meh lawyer a ring eh Lol Them really good yes

  9. That fearless one needs a dose of his own medicine.

  10. I can’t post details here, but I can say from personal experience that Mr Baptiste does not know English very well, thinks that Portuguese is Spanish and on occasion, during his efforts as a writer, has been prone to bouts of plagiarism.

  11. Same as the big baby head of news Enoch…like it’s a prerequisite to work there.

  12. Does anyone ever win in a media war? Hahahahahah

  13. I see you received a dose of “Prancing Brave” etiquette. Sad, really. Even sadder are the issues in that same sport that he wilfully chooses to steer well away from, lest it derails a certain gravy train of personal and professional benefits.

    Then again, isn’t there a corollary – Corolla-ry? – ) about serving two masters that might apply here?

  14. This is better than Sunday lunch!!

  15. Well i dont know if Alyuh does notice but when I myself had called in before eh I myself was cut of to eh and this happened most recently again when Earl Carter Spiderman was on his show that I told Mr Fearless one that he should invite but he allowed Mr Selby Browne who called right after me to speak for a long time, but maybe because he is afraid that I will start to much bacchanal eh and the thing about it he invited me to come on the show whenever I see him in the mall and I said to him not me nah I am really tired of talking about the football madness in our sweet country eh Andre Baptiste and just to let you know that you might see me on wired volley talking this and that and starting the football bacchanal eh but when it comes to being on the TV or the radio station eh I know how to conduct myself in the real professional manner eh ent Brian Springer, George Scoreboard Mathison, and Earl Carter Them really good yes

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