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.
I was inspired to write this, if that’s the word, on reading Fleet Street Fox on the Leveson Report: The devil is in the detail, published yesterday in the Press Gazette.
It’s a fine example of a rant as you will ever find from an MP explaining with tendentious authority why the general public have absolutely no right to know about their Parliamentary expenses and how it will ruin a free democracy if this is allowed: you would think this was an investigative journalist who sees censorship on the cards, not a fox demanding the right to be unmuzzled in the henhouse.
But the devil is in the detail, and the detail of Leveson is the bit which will muzzle the Press as effectively as Hannibal Lecter strapped to a luggage trolley.
Leveson wants this backed up by law which is plain wrong, because there’s no bill ever passed by Parliament that wasn’t tinkered with later. Hacked Off and other campaigners may feel the suggested law is fine, but it’s the law it may mutate into which is why it should never happen.
So, we can’t have laws in the UK, because however nice a law looks when it’s proposed, Parliament may change it into something unspeakable, so all laws are wrong. We should instead trust to the kindness and gentility of the likes of David Grigson.
Okay. That’s nice, Fox. We should live in a lawless society because we can’t trust Parliament.
Let me answer a simpler question.
When is muzzling the Press appropriate and can you recommend a certain kind?
By and large, muzzles are used to keep the Press from biting or causing injury. There are two types of muzzles: prohibitive (also referred to as the “tyrant’s muzzle”) and regulatory.