There is a twisted irony when the PCC cites the human rights act defending the Mail’s right to free speech in order to defend a paper that all too often calls for the very same human rights act to be abolished because in their eyes it enables others that they disagree with the very same right to free speech. For me it leaves the same bitter taste in my mouth as when right wing shock-jock Jon Gaunt turned to Shami Chakrabarti to help defend his right to spout his own personal brand of on air bigotry once he’d lost his job for doing just that He himself had previously described Ms Chakrabarti as the ‘most dangerous woman in Britain’.
So yes those of us amongst the 25,000 complainants who were offended by the tone of Jan Moir’s bigoted article do have to observe her right to free speech and seemingly her right to whip up homophobic sentiment via ignorance but we don’t have to any longer pretend that what she, the Daily Mail and much of what the old media machine are engaged in is actually journalism.
And yes it does undermine the cause of broad minded tolerance to call for Jan Moir’s head on a stick or make violent threats against her person, much as I understand where that frustrated reaction comes from. Protest eloquently by all means and argue rationally as to why her opinion was just plain wrong or indeed that it possibly incited hatred against a section of our society.
But don’t expect the media to be able to police itself or even restrain itself, let alone take any responsibility for the consequences of the misinformation and churnalism it now routinely spouts.
The old media is now dominated by opinion dressed up as news and as in this case worryingly uninformed opinion at that. I only wish it was clearly labelled as such. After all don’t people buy newspapers to be told the sort of things they already believe anyway? I have no problem with that. Just please don’t pretend it is in any way responsible journalism.
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- PCC rules on Jan Moir: a strange and troubling ruling. (malcolmcoles.co.uk)