Saturday, January 16, 2010

Founder of the Rod Liddle/Indy Facebook protest replies ....

Dear Madame,

Came across your blog post while Googling around and wondered, as the founder of the Facebook group, 'If Rod Liddle Becomes Editor of the Independent, I Will not buy it Again' if I could briefly respond to the points you made?

"I don't recall a Facebook campaign against the Indy's present editor Roger Alton..."

A couple of things to say to that. If I'd thought of the idea back then and thought that a Facebook group might actually be able to block an editorial appointment (as it may do in this case...), I probably would have tried to prevent the job going to Alton for exactly the reasons you mention.

Protests don't just happen by themselves - they require someone to actually do it and work themselves ragged in the process - even with all these easy-to-use online tools. And they require sufficient people to feel aggrieved enough to take part in it (which sometimes requires repeated insults). So it doesn't really make much sense to argue against a protest on the grounds that the protestors should have protested something else as well. Maybe they should have?

"What standards in the British press?"

Well, quite. That's the point of making a stand for them! Liddle isn't just about to be given another column in which to be loathesome but actual control over the content of a major national newspaper.

Support us!

Best wishes,
Alex Higgins

Dear Alex

Thank you for your letter. You are to be admired for your derring-do (ie, for going to the bother) but I take the view that newspapers by and large have outlived their usefulness, are generally bullying and vulgar, and do more harm than good in their present form.

Liddle perfectly fits the spec of a national newspaper editor: a red-faced boor whose insular perspectives are unrelieved by the slightest sign of big-heartedness or reflection. Like the many excitable clowns whose fat arses occupy the leather-bound swivel chairs of newspaper editors' offices, he has created a personality caricature of himself which to complacent reader-gigglers and -hoppers is (in his case at least) digestibly entertaining. Provided he plays up to their humdrum prejudices, that is.

If Liddle's rumoured appointment has the effect of speeding up the Indy's closure then let it be. Neither it nor he serves any useful purpose.

But my best wishes to you and your idealistic Facebook protesters.

Madame Arcati

24 comments:

Green Goddess said...

There are times when one wonders about another's "right to reply." I joined Suzanne Moore's group if "Suzanne Moore becomes editor of the Indy I'll ..er..um" because she asked me nicely and we have overcome our silly contretemps from last year. And deep deep down she's a nice girl. No really.

Madame Arcati said...

She'd be interesting at least but Suzanne doesn't talk to Madame any more - is she still on the MoS?

Lest we forget, some bright spark thought Janet Street-Porter would make a good editor of the Indy on Sunday, just because she goes to the Groucho and talks loudly.

Green Goddess said...

Good point MA Darling. But most women jounos think they have something to prove and go all alcoholic and misogynistic and have to grow a set, as soon as they catch the whiff of power. No idea what Suzanne does or the "comings and goings" at the MoS, I think she left / got fired/ came back. Rod Liddle would be very interesting indeed. Not one person has come out and criticised the job he did as an editor on R4's Today. BONUS: he would get rid of the plague on Islam / feminism / common sense (or my Aunty Yasmin) ASAP. As for JSP hard to think of anything nice to say so I shan't say anything.

Anonymous said...

Newspapers still shift millions of copies a day and are a major presence on the net. In time, blogs like yours will be gobbled up by the online papers and their blogs as they adapt to a new environment. We're not looking at the decline of newspapers, just a migration.

Madame Arcati said...

On the subject of how editorial power can go to the head, look up Bridget Rowe on this site. She really thought she was something. Now she is almost forgotten.

suzanne moore said...

Of course I am talking to you Madame. I have just been on "sabbatical" from MOS and went to Cambodia. Jan Moir/ the killing fields it all became muddled.
Anyway Happy New Year and join my group . It needs someone with gravitas to liven up the wall. xxx

Madame Arcati said...

Good heavens, that was quick. I shall have to visit this FB shrine. Well, I'm glad you're still at the MoS, it needs someone to civilise it each week.

Would you want to edit the Indy?

LF Barfe said...

"In time, blogs like yours will be gobbled up by the online papers and their blogs as they adapt to a new environment."

I can't speak for MA, but if anyone wants to make a serious takeover bid for my blog, I'm happy to talk.

"We're not looking at the decline of newspapers, just a migration."

How to make that migration pay, though. Hmmm. I bet your employers are tearing their hair out trying to find an answer to that one, Anon. MA's right. Newspapers are increasingly irrelevant, and most people have got too used to free news sources to ever take out a subscription. Will anybody take out a sub to read opinion? Only if the sub reflects the true value of the opinions, which, at current market prices, is a farthing per cwt.

Madame Arcati said...

Certainly this pay wall I hear about won't do it - I can imagine specialist info being paid for, but why spend a penny on rehashed agency copy, codswallop opinions and PR-driven showbiz crap?

Anonymous said...

When I said papers would gobble up blogs like this one I meant that as papers get the hang of blogging and how the net operates, people will turn away from indie blogs (like this one). There's no money in indie blogging, even weirdo blogging (like Arcati's)

LF Barfe said...

By the time newspapers get the hang of the Internet, the horse will have bolted, if it hasn't already. See also the record industry's risible attempts to kibosh downloading in the late 1990s. That worked well, didn't it? Meanwhile, what's this about the founder of Oink being acquitted?

LF Barfe said...

Meanwhile, hacks like MA and I will try and scratch a living in other ways, while reserving blogs like this for the apparently-unsaleable stuff that nonetheless interests us. It's not either/or.

Madame Arcati said...

Agreed. And the audience finds us.

Ron Broxted said...

There is no Groucho here in bandit Country therefore they ought to make me Ed of the Indy.

Get Your Facts Straight said...

Certified ABC's: The Independent newspaper paper had a certified average daily circulation of 215,504 copies in January 2009 – a drop of 14.02% on January 2008, as compared to sales of 842,912 for The Daily Telegraph, 617,483 for The Times, and 358,844 for The Guardian.

That was a year ago, figure in a conservative 20% decline since then.
Millions of copies? Where?

Madame Arcati said...

Ron, you came to mine! Ron for the editorship!

Ron Broxted said...

Madame you orgasmic gasp leave me dumbfounded, yes, but as I am now on good terms with Ms Moore how viable is it? I remain, Ron M. Broxted, Esq.

Madame Arcati said...

We must share ourselves with no preferences.

the late Lord Beaverbrook said...

Anon is muddled on his predictions that 'newspapers' will gobble up bloggers-by blogging themselves (or at least getting a handle on it). The whole point is the sheer anarchy of the internet which means bloggers can go where no paid journalist on a newspaper fears to tread. Or at least one under the thumb of an editor.

It is the end days of newspapers as we know them and no-one, absolutely no-one is going to pay hard cash to read rubbish about Jordan what's er name. They will pay for info like the Wall Street Journal but Rupert better forget about the news Of The World being an on-line success.

These are my predictions and from my perch the future is not rosy for the print industry, unless R. Murdoch gains control of the net.

Ron Broxted said...

I prefer Lucy Davis, Vicky Binns and that re-head from The X Files.

Suzanne moore said...

All must have columns.
Its my policy. I have been in paper way longer than him and can attract some extremely good people.
You know I can.
xx

Madame Arcati said...

Suzanne Moore for the Indy editorship! Let's hear it!

LF Barfe said...

Couldn't Suzanne and Rod work out some kind of job share, like Trevor Grove and Peregrine Worsthorne at the S Tel circa 1990?

Anonymous said...

Janet Street Porter might be an old bossy boots who, delights in speaking her mind - like a lot of aggressive people, attack her, and she will collapse and crumble.