Well, I know: freedom of speech. But FACTS are FACTS. Surely freedom of speech is freedom to voice OPINIONS, where there are different ideas about things where there is NOT a known answer, like politics or who makes the best sticky buns.
It's not the freedom to make unfounded assertions that contradict known evidence.
And yes, I know some people say that there are NO facts at all, only points of view, but that's just a RUBBISH idea.
Look, I am nine: some things are RIGHT and some are WRONG.
And telling lies is WRONG.
So, Ms Jan Moir.
A week ago, Ms "Grimpen" Mire put poison pen to paper to write the article that has received more complaints than any other in the last five years. I'm sorry, I'll read that again: the article that has received more complaints than EVERY other in the last five years, added together.
A lot of people, including me and my daddies, were quite sad to hear about the sudden death of a nice young man called Mr Stephen Gately.
Ms Mire, was NOT upset – she saw an opportunity. She "wrote" [Daddy suggests the verb "daubed"] an article for her "paper" – for which she was presumably paid money – in which she not only indulged her own rather sickening fantasies about the possible deaths of other much-loved famous people, like Mr Robbie Williams or Ms Kylie Minogue, but also described Mr Gately's life as "sleazy" and his death as "unnatural". She also, with spectacular ill-grace, accused the poor boy's grieving mother of lying.
Can you imagine for just one second how that poor mummy must have felt?
The terrible news that she's lost her little boy, then the horrible human thoughts set in that something horribly horrible – drugs? murder? naughty games gone wrong? – something must have happened, then – guilty relief – the expert in charge tells you that it was a tragic tragic accident, a heart condition, the sort of "ordinary" disaster that out of the blue affects a small number of people every week. And THEN this horrible woman starts flinging the dung around, like she's picked up every evil rumour and bad thought that has floated like scum across the surface of the Internet and gigglingly printed them up like they mean something.
Can you imagine how Mr Gately's husband must feel about this? Practically airbrushed out of the coverage of the funeral already and then smeared with the implication that he went off to bed ("I've got no proof but not alone fner fner! By the way, I don't even have to underline the prurient assumption that that's BAAAAAD!") leaving his hubby to die on the couch.
What a horrid thing to do.
What I want to know is WHY, why would we even LET someone like that print a load of lies in a newspaper?
It is NOT an "opinion" to claim "there was nothing natural about this death". That is a statement about the facts: either poor Mr Gately died of natural causes or he didn't. The coroner said that he did. Ms Mire had NO grounds for questioning or challenging that assessment. So her article is just a LIE.
Now, she has written a "response" [Daddy suggests the noun: "screed"] to all the complaints.
She unpologises for the TIMING of her article, but not for the blatant LIE.
And then she tells ANOTHER lie:
"If he had been a heterosexual member of a boy band," she asserts, "I would have written exactly the same article."
Exactly the same? EXACTLY the same?
So after the sudden unexpected and tragic death of a HETEROSEXUAL young man, she would have written that: "it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships"?
It would have been BIZARRE NONSENSE to have written any such thing.
But more than that, while I would suggest that it would still be a really PRETTY STRANGE thing to say even if she had changed the wording to "the happy-ever-after myth of straight marriage", I do not for one picosecond believe that she WOULD have drawn such a conclusion from a tragedy involving a "nice straight boy".
To suggest that the first article made no link between Mr Gately's sudden death and his sexuality is A MONSTROUS FALSEHOOD. The first article doesn't say anything BUT "he died because he was gay".
Snide little innuendoes are laced throughout the piece, all with the same undercurrent:
"Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again" …unless they're gay.
"if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy" …because he was gay.
"Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately’s last night raise troubling questions" …about them both being gay.
And NOTHING links the tragic suicide of lonely Mr McGee to the tragic accident of happily-partnered Mr Gately EXCEPT that they were both gay.
(One could just as easily link Ms Mire herself to any notorious heterosexual suicide, with equal lack of any real meaning… for the most ludicrous possible example: "the death of the German Reichsfuhrer, the former longtime companion of German model Ms Eva Braun, and now the dubious events of Ms Mire's last article raise troubling questions". It doesn't MEAN anything because there is NO real connection – apart from them both receiving the support of the Daily Fail – just the SINISTER SUGGESTION of one put in your head.)
To deny that she used homophobic words is almost MORE wicked – it is the "I didn't do anything wrong!" barefaced deceit you might expect from a naughty little girl caught with her hand in the cookie jar. In anyone over the age of FOUR it is CONTEMPTIBLE.
I don't think lies like that should be allowed.
Newspapers have ENORMOUS power, but are accountable to practically no one.
Now there's a very simple and easy comparison to make: the BBC.
Ahh, you might say, but the BBC gets public money and the Daily Fail is a private company. OK, in that case the Daily Fail can pay me back my share of EVERY PENNY that it got in advertising. Because I had no choice in them getting that money, so they owe me – either accountability, or I'll take the cash.
Yes, that would be fair: either you can sign up to an accountable oversight commission, and that probably means a PARLIAMENTARY one – yes, I'll take MPs over journalists any day of the week – or you are banned from taking advertising.
So, last year, on the BBC Radio Two, Mr Russell Brand and Mr Jonathon Ross caused offence to a great many people when they made some silly rude phone calls to Mr Jonathan Sachs. (Not to be confused with Mr Andrew Sachs, the Chief Rabbi.)
Egged on by – of all papers – the Daily Fail, a record number of people (over forty thousand) complained. Mr Russell lost his job. The person in charge of Radio Two lost her job.
This year, in the Daily Fail, Ms Mire has caused offence to a great many people by telling a vicious lie.
Egged on by absolutely nobody, a record number of people (over twenty-five thousand) have complained. So, Ms Moir should lose her job. The person in charge of the Daily Fail should lose his job. Both of them, in fact.
No other outcome would be JUST.
PS:I am indebted to Mr Stephen of the Glenn and the Cardiff Blogger for reading the Daily Fail so that we don't have to.