Monday, 19 October 2009
Doing it Wrong
The fall-out from Jan Moir’s despicable article in the Daily Mail on Friday continues with the Press Complaints Commission announcing that they will be asking the newspaper concerned for a response. It seems that the PCC is unable to act unless someone directly affected makes a complaint (21,000 complaints received – which is a nice neat number – more in one weekend than they’ve received in the last 5 years).
I’m thinking that Stephen Gately’s family will have more to concern themselves with than a journalist who’s so desperate for something to write about that she’ll attempt to trash a young man’s memory on the eve of his funeral.
For those of you who might have missed this, in her column, Moir called Gately's death "strange, lonely and troubling".
"Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this," she wrote.
Later, she concluded: "As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.
"For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see."
Reads to me like what she was saying is that Stephen Gates died of Being Gay. Clearly whatever qualifications Miss Moir has accumulated in her life they include some kind of forensic science and far-sight because she knew better than the coroner and his verdict of "natural causes" (who was, lest we forget actually in the presence of the body) and that certainty drove her to share that knowledge with the public.
Advertisers asked that they be removed from the online version of the article, which I’m thinking may be what prompted Miss Moir to publish her “apology”. That she made any effort to apologise at all is down to the power of Twitter and Facebook. Thousands upon thousands of people showed their outrage at what this “journalist” had to say by tweeting etc and I was there to watch it unfold. Fascinating. Every couple of hours I went in to Twitter to see that hundreds more people had been on. Much spleen was being vented.
Back to her “apology”. It was risible. Nowhere in her statement did she actually apologise instead she alluded to a mischievous orchestration on Twitter.
Her final sentence read: ‘In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones.”
She went on to say that most people who complained hadn’t read it and they were gay themselves. “Your arse”, I say to both of these assertions.
I was part of this so-called ‘heavily orchestrated’ campaign – and what happened was this... Miss Moir wrote an article for a newspaper which is read by thousands of people. The article is posted on the internet by that paper. People read it. They become offended; irate even. They post links to it on Twitter. People like me who don’t read the Daily Mail become aware of the article. We (being intelligent and able to think for ourselves) go online and read it. We – regardless of our sexual preference – read her inference and wonder how in this day and age people with these views weren’t made extinct by a giant meteor. We post on Facebook. Our friends read it. They tell their friends to read it. We Twitter. We blog.
There was no orchestration, it was all about reaction and a channel in which that reaction could be aired rather than simply turning to the person beside you and asking, ‘Who the fuck is this woman?’
Watching Matthew Wright on Ch5 today I was impressed with the summation of the entire situation by one of his guests. She remarked on how touching the media coverage of Stephen Gately’s funeral service had been. What particularly moved her was that when Stephen’s mum got upset at the thought of her son lying in his coffin, cold and alone, all night in the church the other members of Boyzone brought their sleeping bags with them and spent the night with him. This guest then asked the question....
‘This is what the members of Boyzone did for Stephen’s mother on the eve of her son’s funeral. What did you do, Jan Moir?’