Jack Monroe got monstered by Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail. This is of course something Richard Littlejohn does on a regular basis.
Jack Monroe reacted by pointing out the multiple things that Littlejohn had got wrong:
I’ve read your trash non-journalism ‘comment’ piece about me in the Daily Mail this morning – not because it is a newspaper I read, but because a friend forwarded it to me.
Firstly, I have to commend you for managing to get 20 facts completely wrong in a comparatively short article. But that’s your style isn’t it – never let the truth get in the way of a good smear campaign, or something like that.
This morning, if you search Twitter for “Richard Littlejohn”, @MsJackMonroe is the first listing – Richard Littlejohn himself comes in third. But the Daily Mail and Richard Littlejohn will doubtless see traffic go up from all the people linking to his column: and they don’t care whether it’s negative or positive linkage, because the profits for the MailOnline website are the same in either case.
Here is a little list of reasons not to link to the Daily Mail:
- If it a real fact-based news story, it will be available elsewhere on the Internet. No need to link to the Daily Mail.
- If it is only available in the Daily Mail, it is probably not true. No need to link to it at all.
- If it is a column that makes you angry just to hear about it and on reading it makes you want to spit bile and share the agony of having read something so hateful and so wrong, yes, that’s a strong part of the MailOnline’s business model, and if you link it to it, you are doing exactly what they hope you will do, providing traffic to their website and therefore revenue from their advertisers. Why do that for them?
The key recommendation Leveson made in his report on press regulation was that all newspapers that agreed to be regulated by an external body, should agree to publish, clearly and promptly, retractions or corrections when they lied about someone. If a newspaper did not agree to be regulated by the external body, anyone who sued the newspaper for libel – win or lose – would have their legal costs paid for by the newspaper.
This is what Ian Hislop repeatedly complains about on Have I Got News For You, and presumably in Private Eye as well, not that I read it: that if Leveson’s recommendations were accepted, there would be consequences for the media industry if they printed a libellous story about someone and then were unwilling then to print any retraction or apology.
But, according to Ian Hislop, that kind of thing would be horrifyingly destructive of the British free press of which we are all so, so proud.
For all the Journalists bluster about the need for a free press, you are in the end talking about corporations who reason for existing is to make money by selling papers and advertising space within them. They will do whatever it takes provided they think they will not get sent to jail and any court costs/fines incurred are less than the revenue generated.
The key thing about Leveson was that, implemented as recommended, it should have ensured that it would become very, very expensive for corporations to publish vile lies about people and then refuse to print any retraction or apology. That huge cost of refusing to correct their own lies is what the corporations owning the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, Daily Mirror, the Sun and the Times were desperately trying to avoid.
“The press should seize the chance to show the public they do not fear being held to decent ethical standards, and that they are proud to be accountable to the people they write for and about.”