Monday, July 31, 2017

Same old story

Stop me if you've heard this one before: white, male columnist employed to write provocative articles writes a provocative article that provokes uproar; Twitter (quite rightly) goes into meltdown; columnist is sacked. Back in April, it was Kelvin MacKenzie and the Sun; now it's Kevin Myers and the Sunday Times.

Myers' article on the salaries of BBC presenters' salaries contrived to be offensive both on the grounds of appalling sexism and blatant anti-Semitism. The consequent storm has brought to light the fact that he's not only a Holocaust denier, but that he wrote an article about it for the paper a few years back (an article that, like his piece on the BBC, has now been removed from the Times' website).

Myers is evidently a nasty, smug dinosaur who should be denied the opportunity to spout his bile, but the decision to sack him is, frankly, bizarre - just like the Sun's decision to cast MacKenzie out into the cold (though not before throwing him to the wolves first). Like MacKenzie, Richard Littlejohn, Jan Moir and Katie Hopkins, Myers essentially did precisely what his employers wanted him to do: stir up shit in a bid to arouse controversy and sell some papers. As Damien Owens (among many others) has pointed out on Twitter, the offending piece may have been written by Myers, but it was "commissioned, approved, edited and published" by the Sunday Times. The paper's culpability is unquestionable, but it's doubtful any heads will roll over an article that even the Daily Mail might have baulked at publishing - it's far easier just to chuck the author under a bus and move on.

No comments: