The Daily Mail – Moirgate

As you are reading this post on a blog the chances are you know all about the Moirgate at the Daily Mail, so no need for a recap of events.

Being a busy fella, I came to the story late and my initial reaction was one of surprise. Why suddenly had everyone picked up on this Op Ed piece when most liberal voices could find something shocking in every edition of the Daily Mail?  Comment and news like this are in every issue.  There are websites devoted to scrutinising the Mail after all, like http://www.mailwatch.co.uk/

My second thought was one founded in cynicism and perhaps created in a mind desensitised to media furores.  I thought the Twitter campaign against these comments wasn’t going to change a great deal and if anything will probably drive readers towards the Daily Mail, rather than in the opposite direction.

After expressing this thought to my Social Network, seconds later friends rightly told me to stop being so cynical and try and make a change.  A beautiful thing was happening live before my eyes.  Before I could even catch my breath to join in, a story appeared showing that M&S had pulled its advertising.  The Mail released a statement and it felt like the Twitter campaign had been won there and then.

Other messages were floating around explaining how Jan Moir had broken rules set out by the Press Complaints Commission (a commission where Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail is chairman, but that is another story).

Then the Tweets started to turn on Jan Moir rather than the publication.  Seeing that all columnists are disposable, a naive tactic seeing there are 9,000 replacement Jan Moirs in waiting.  Jan Moir’s home address was posted – raising fears about nut jobs “paying her a visit.”  Not a pleasant move.

At time of writing there are over 1,500 stories on Google New relating to the incident, and it was the number one and three story on Twitter.  It is safe to say the story EXPLODED.

So after taking story and looking at what seemed a victory, I feel a bit disappointed that perhaps nothing really has changed.  Unless the row continues, this storm will blow over and the Daily Mail will continue doing what it does best…

I also think that the Daily Mail will do alright from the coverage.  Most readers of the Daily Mail probably won’t care about what Jan Moir said, and if anything the owners of the Mail will be rubbing their hands at the amount of Unique Users the piece drew to the Daily Mail’s website, which is already the biggest online news outlet on UK shores.  I wonder too what the like-for-like readership will be for the Mail today compared to the same time last week?  I’d bet anyone five English pounds that it has gone up!

The other thing this news event further cemented in my mind is how clouded by their own network Twitter users can become.  If a user doesn’t subscribe to a wide array news sources and users, then one could suffer from a serious case of the Emperor’s New Clothes, believing that their world view has now become conventional wisdom.

Don’t get me wrong, Twitter is an amazing campaigning tool and has set the news agenda twice last week with the Trafigura gagging order story and now Moirgate.  Long may it continue!  I’m not saying ‘don’t bother getting involved’.  I’m trying to say ‘get involved but see things through’.

Yesterday was a really exciting moment for British media and long may that continue.  I just think that campaigns have an ethereal quality on Twitter, and tomorrow the mob move on to the next big outrage which Social Media will help shape.

And therefore I bring you back to my original thought.  Why are people only now questioning the Daily Mail when a liberal mind can find something equally distasteful in it every day?

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