Sometimes, the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker are given an insight into what real people - the ones they claim to represent through their excuse for journalism - actually think of them. A window on that real world out there beyond the comfortably-appointed and securely guarded offices where they dream up the mean-spirited unpleasantness that fills the pages of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun.
Still claims to be a newspaper editor
And what they see may not be to their liking, as a Twiter hashtag #AskTonyGallagher has revealed today. Whether official or not, the Sun’s editor should be shown the results, not that he’ll want to know. The little people are not his concern, beyond his ability to con them rotten and still keep Creepy Uncle Rupe and his pal Rebekah sweet.
Apropos Tone’s ambivalent attitude to free speech, one question was “Are you enjoying your ‘safe space’ created by blocking all your critics?” Ben Dunnell wanted to get an idea of how he manages those flexible Sun principles: “What's worse: someone laughing at the deaths of refugees, or someone telling that person to fuck off?”
Ian Power cut to the chase - how high Gallagher jumps when Creepy Uncle Rupe tells him to. “Does Murdoch use strings or stuff his arm up your arse like you're Sooty?” Bye bye, everybody, bye bye. James Harewood tried gently to tell him how popular he really wasn’t: “If you were marooned on a desert island, with only 5 records, how do you think the rest of us would celebrate?” Probably for longer than Tone would.
There were topical questions, especially on subjects like unaccompanied refugee children, or on similar lines: “Dear @tonygallagher, Do you do dental checks on page 3 girls to ensure they are definitely adults?” Another popular theme was the lack of factual information in the average Sun newspaper: “If the circumstances were correct would you ever consider using some facts in one of your stories?” QTWTAIN, I suspect.
Gallagher’s status as Sun editor - like John Major, in power but probably not in control - prompted one concerned Tweeter to ask “As I have never been a `useful idiot` could you please tell me what it is like to be one?” Another, alluding to the Sun’s longstanding ability to demonise brown and black people, asked “Hi Tony. Is there a chart in your office gauging whether or not a foreigner is dark enough to be hated?”
The return of disgraced former editor Kelvin McFilth, and his occupying an office on the 13th floor, weighed on one questioner’s mind: “What would Kelvin MacKenzie have to do for you to sack him?” It’d be worse than napalming Cheltenham, I suspect. And one I particularly enjoyed: “What form does Murdoch take when you meet him?” I’d always wondered if Rupe was really some kind of destructive alien being.
Other examples of how much Tony Gallagher is appreciated by the ordinary public are available. He’ll be sticking his fingers in his ears for a long time after that one.