(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Ms Mensch had already stuck her bugle into this one, when she tried to stand up the idea that the Labour Party was somehow behind #milifandom because it offered to handle enquiries while Abby, the teenager involved, was revising for her exams. Note that it was assumed, rather than ascertained, that #milifandom was a Labour Party stunt. You think I jest? It’s all there on the Mensch Twitter feed.
After Laura Marcus had pointed out that a teenager might be justified in responding to what they perceived as bullying - the press attacks on Miliband - back shot Ms Mensch: “let her or Labour speak on the record b/c their involvement stinks” [yes, they are involved, even if she didn’t bother to find out] … “I am NOT smearing her. I am asking a QUESTION prompted by Labour press getting involved”.
And still she hadn’t asked why Labour press was fielding enquiries. To be fair to Ms Mensch, she did eventually back off after belatedly realising that it wasn’t a Labour stunt, but then came this weekend’s doorstepping news. This was, as Ms Mensch immediately asserted, not the Sun’s fault: “no it isn't. She's not a child”. This was followed by an attempt to get Laura Marcus, once again her questioner, to “look over there”.
So why was the Sun in the right? You’ll love this: “she is no child; legally can wed and serve in the army. Perfectly fine … she's a student asking for press and complaining when she gets it. Disgraceful. Not a child at 17. Can marry, serve army”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, the army justification is irrelevant - nobody under 18 is permitted to serve in a combat role, which many would understand as “serve”.
And two, she has not, repeat not, REPEAT NOT, “asked for press”. This does not trouble Ms Mensch: “I draw the same line the law does; under and over 16. She's 17 *and aiming for press cover*”. Setting up what is effectively a fan club does not “ask” or “aim” for press cover. It is blindingly obvious from Abby’s reaction to the intrusion on her family and her Gran that the press attention was neither solicited, nor wanted.
Nor was it expected. And, as for her standing up to the Murdoch bullying, Ms Mensch claims that “'Stands up to' = ‘is courting coverage from’”, to which I call bullshit. Standing up to bullies is not asking for anything. It is someone defending herself. Louise Mensch is another who pretends to be a “journalist”, but it’s clear that “Tory and Murdoch apologist” would be rather more apposite. This is lame excuse-note generation of the worst kind.