Thanks to Google putting a previous article I wrote on Jan Moir on the first page of search results for ‘Jan Moir’ this website has received a lot of traffic regarding Jan Moir’s article on Stephen Gately. Because I do not in the first instance moderate comments it has also led to some angry comments, some wishing death to Jan Moir and others disgusted at such a sentiment. I want to address both sets of comments to try and reason as to why people have reacted in the way that they have.
Firstly, as some commenters have pointed out, the Mail moderates comments on controversial stories, or blocks them entirely if they do not agree with the writer or the editorial line. This leads to a great deal of frustration because people who disagree with the Daily Mail or any of its writers are not given a platform to engage with them. Instead the majority of the time readers of the Mail website are subjected to a comments section that is as ignorant, biased and misinformed as the article or editorial line.
This causes a great deal of anger, in particular with the Jan Moir article because it demonstrates the complete lack of accountability that journalists or columnists have. It is a one-way process, they feed us their opinion – no matter how disgusting – and we have to lump it, without even being able to leave a comment underneath the offending article. I can completely understand people searching to find more about Jan Moir, finding my article pointing out another occasion when her staggering judgemental ignorance is attacking the family of a recently murdered young girl and writing something that perhaps they don’t mean.
I don’t really think that the commenters underneath that article on this blog really want Jan Moir killed, I just think it sums up a level of impotent disgust that has been reached by certain sections of the public. The truth is that tabloid newspapers have considerable influence, with politicians slithering up to tabloid editors to please them and avoid being regularly attacked by them. All the while the general public has to be subjected to the terrible racism, homophobia and general fear-mongering of the tabloid newspapers without even being able to post their disgust on the offending websites.
The latest comment on my article says the following:
What hate filled postings below, shame on you where is your famous tolerance for free speech. The loony left realy has taken over.
Whilst I agree that ‘hate filled postings’ are not doing anyone any good, I would wonder what action the ‘loony left’ should take? After all, freedom of speech is not granted on tabloid websites – even though that is the defence that they use to publish whatever they like – and the only other option is to complain to the PCC. This second option is utterly pointless when only someone directly involved in the article can have a complaint investigated by the PCC. The tabloid press know that they only have to worry about those involved complaining (so it helps newspapers if the victim of an attack is dead, like Stephen Gately) and even if those directly involved do complain, the PCC is only likely to impose the sentence of forcing the newspaper to offer an apology, in tiny print, buried somewhere deep in the paper.
In the light of the record 21,000 complaints received about Jan Moir’s article, the PCC has asked the Daily Mail for a letter of explanation. Doesn’t that sound like a regulatory body that lacks any real power; or perhaps is worried about upsetting Paul Dacre (Daily Mail editor) who just happens to hold an important position within the PCC.
Little wonder that if a regulatory system is not fit for purpose people harbor vigilante thoughts and impotent anger. After all, violence is a last resort, taken on when a person or people feel that they have no other option to make their opinion heard. Jan Moir’s complete lack of an apology shows that she isn’t going to give anyone the satisfaction of answering the criticism she has received, and the shrugged shoulders from the Daily Mail shows that they certainly aren’t prepared to take any action to punish Moir.
I do not condone wishing that someone would murder Jan Moir, but I can understand the sentiment when uttered in anger and impotent frustration that there is no more constructive route for the general public to take in this situation. I would also point out to to those readers disgusted with such sentiments being expressed on this website is that as pointed out by those posters: they posted them on this website because they couldn’t post them on the Daily Mail website. However, when you read the comments on the Daily Mail website absolutely full of hatred – as long as it suits the editorial line – it makes you realise that the Daily Mail isn’t against murderous sentiments, only against murderous sentiments that don’t target the right groups.
I really hope a lot of people saw Panorama tonight, because that kind of racism is what the tabloid newspapers have fostered through their hate-filled and dishonest agenda. Like for example, another Richard Littlejohn column that lies about immigrants, basically telling readers that immigrants will use any ‘trick’ to stay in the UK.