The Resident-Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, has asked for clarification from a local newspaper, styled “Corruption Watch,” that days before last Christmas, took a parting-shot at the Methodist prelate in what has been described as a hasty and scurrilous (insulting, slanderous) non-article, that the paper tried to pass off as a serious year-in-review exposé.
“Corruption Watch” attempt to paint an unflattering, albeit, unfair picture of the Resident Bishop and might have succeeded in blemishing Bishop Innis’ good name and reputation, had its editor taken the time to apply a few basic principles of what remains one of the oldest and noblest professions in the world: Journalism.
Absent the elements of truth and fairness, some of Mr. Worwee’ colleagues volunteered, the editor’s well-known, scrappy and scandalous reporting, quite suitably, had undercut the attention and weight that readers might have otherwise attached to the non-story, as the writer had hoped.
Providentially, Mr. Worwee’s sloppy work helped put the Bishop at ease, that informed and discerning readers would not have allowed themselves to be fooled by the nuanced (subtle difference in meaning, tone, feeling or color) variety of Mr. Worwee’s work? “And rightly so,” one staunch Methodist declared, in response to one of our questions. “But Worwee’s mean depiction of Rev. Innis was too offensive to be ignored, given the global outreach of the UMC Annual Conference, the pivotal role of the Resident-Bishop and the undue distraction that Mr. Worwee’s fabrication has caused,” continued our interviewee, no stranger to the “global village” model that today characterizes the United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference leadership arrangement.
Writing on behalf of Dr. Innis, the administrative assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Samuel J. Quire, recalled in a letter to the paper, that the attention of the Bishop’s office had been drawn to the December 22, 2014 edition of “Corruption Watch,” Vol. 3, No. 134, under the caption, “Most Corrupt, Bad People 2014.”
“In the pictorials,” the letter read, “the name of our Resident Bishop, the Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, is placed under a photo not belonging to him,” Rev. Quire pointed out.
“Were you actually referring to the Resident Bishop of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church as a political Bishop, most corrupt and bad,” Rev. Quire inquired on behalf of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC).
And then, of course, conspicuously absent from the pages of “Corruption Watch,” was the usual, and obligatory piece of writing that should have explained the aspersions (unflattering remarks) directed at the Bishop.
That piece failed to appear on the pages of that day’s edition of “Corruption Watch.” Worwee’s defense to the Press Union leadership would be that he “…had already written the piece…” he tried to pass off as an article.
To date, the request for clarifications has produced neither a response from the somewhat obscure newspaper, nor its elusive editor. Press Union of Liberia, (PUL) President, Abdulai K. Kamara last week made a number of attempts to reach Mr. Sorwee by phone, but failed.
The editor finally arrived in Monrovia from Lofa explaining to the PUL that he had been ill; he had returned to Monrovia for medical treatment. Through PUL President Kamara, he agreed to an interview with this reporter, and promised to show up at the Press Union office on Tuesday this week.
Mr. Worwee had talked back and forth with the PUL president throughout the morning and early afternoon of Tuesday; he had even dropped off his latest edition of the “Corruption Watch” newspaper off at the PUL office on Clay Street.
On Tuesday, Mr. Kamara made a number of desperate calls to the man who informed the PUL president that he was in the neighborhood and would show up as soon as our reporter arrived—to no avail. The “Corruption Watch” President and CEO never showed up.