After the Murdoch Sunday Times pulled Kevin Myers’ anti-Semitic rant from its online edition yesterday and the apologies came pouring out from the Baby Shard bunker, there was silence from those out there on the right, not only at News UK, but elsewhere in our free and fearless press. But the questions would not stop coming.
Kevin Myers - should never have written for the Sunday Times
How had Myers even been employed at the paper, given his track record as a bigot, misogynist, Islamophobe and Holocaust denier? How many staff waved the fateful column through? Why was Myers to be the only sacrifice made in order to stave off criticism? What happened to editorial responsibility? How did the editorial process go so wrong?
Worse, how is it that the press which is always ready and waiting to call anti-Semitism, or indeed any form of racism, on others, has such a blind spot about it itself? Such as the Spectator magazine continuing to employ anti-Semite Taki Theodoracopulos, who has been kept on not just by current editor Fraser Nelson, but also by numerous predecessors, including Charles Moore, who stuck with Taki when he was jailed after a drugs bust.
Consider the rest of the bunch who tolerated Taki: Dominic Lawson, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and Matthew d’Ancona. Consider also that the Daily Mail got itself into trouble during Paul Dacre’s vicious attack on the late father of then Labour leader Ed Miliband when it talked of “The jealous God of Deuteronomy” and “visiting the sins of the father on the sons”. That, too, was subsequently brushed under the carpet.
But heads never seem to roll when the press gets called out for anti-Semitism. Frank Fitzgibbon, who edits the Sunday Times’ Irish edition, and who is ultimately responsible for Kevin Myers’ article, has merely put out the obligatory hand-wringing statement.
“I apologise unreservedly for the offence caused by comments in a column written by Kevin Myers and published today in the Ireland edition of the Sunday Times. It contained views that have caused considerable distress and upset to a number of people … As the editor of the Ireland edition I take full responsibility for this error of judgment. This newspaper abhors antisemitism and did not intend to cause offence to Jewish people”.
But, as yet, no offer of resignation. And the ST’s London editor? “Martin Ivens said the piece should not have been published and later added that Myers would not write again for the Sunday Times Ireland”. He won’t be resigning, either. Nor will any commissioning editors, sub-editors, comment editors, or indeed any editors. Or any other staff.
And, talking of another organisation that will do nothing about Myers’ article, we now know “The Campaign Against Antisemitism announced it would report the paper to the Independent Press Standards Organisation”. IPSO? The sham press regulator that is the same old discredited PCC, er, fluid, in a differently labelled bottle? They will do nothing. They wouldn’t dare. Another of the press’ dirty secrets will be quietly forgotten.
Anti-Semitism is yet another subject on which the press demands action when others do it, but where is does nothing itself. Can you smell hypocrisy?