steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

A Study in Hypocrisy, Part II

I see that the Telegraph has sacked Kelvin Mackenzie after just one column, because his appointment was offensive to those readers from Liverpool who remember his part in Hillsborough (i.e. all of them). Frightened of the financial consequences of a boycott, the paper raised the white flag almost before the pixels on Mackenzie's first column were dry. (The sad old hack hadn't even mentioned football or Liverpool.)

Surely this can't be the same Telegraph that waxed so eloquent on the sacred right to offend a few weeks ago, when it welcomed Julie Burchill's trans-bashing article to its website to the accompaniment of copious guff about St Crispin's Day, sceptred isles and fighting them on the beaches? At the time Toby Young was luminous in his indignation, castigating the Observer for its pusillanimity in pulling the article:

Why does he think the paper "got it wrong" on this occasion? Because the article caused "offence"? It cannot be said often enough that freedom of speech, if it means anything, must include the freedom to say things that some people find offensive.

Apparently this defence now requires a codicil. The freedom to offend extends only to those people who are too vulnerable to fight back.

Stay classy, Telegraph.
Tags: current affairs
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