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Saturday 23 May 2015

Jo Rowling Humiliates Daily Mail

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may remember that the Daily Mail published an article about author Jo Rowling back in September 2013 which was judged to have been libellous. The paper admitted that they had defamed her, but by April last year, rather than let it drop, their lawyers were arguing the toss over whether she should be allowed to have a statement read out in open court on the affair.
And we have a winner

The following month - that is, over a year ago - the Mail published a “clarification” on Page 2, no doubt positioned to avoid too much attention. But they kept trying to drag it out. As Nick Davies observed in Flat Earth News, “the subject of the story … complains and is confronted by the wealth and cleverness of the Mail which will fight them right up to the point of final defeat, when, if need be, it will surrender and offer some kind of deal”.

So the Mail just kept up its defence, until this week Ms Rowling got her statement read out in open court - which could have happened over a year ago - and the paper apologised. The article in Gingerbread, which the Mail so flagrantly misrepresented, was twisted to suggest that she “falsely and inexcusably accused her fellow churchgoers of behaving in a bigoted, unchristian manner towards her, of stigmatising her and cruelly taunting her for being a single mother”. And how had the paper stood up its story?

The Mail journalist had spoken to one member of the congregation, quoted in the newspaper, who had not seen Rowling’s article”. Yes, present someone with less than the full facts in order to extract the desired quote from them. The Guardian’s report, citing solicitor-advocate Keith Schilling, illustrates the Mail’s behaviour well.

Schilling said: ‘Publication of the allegations left the claimant understandably distressed. This distress was exacerbated by the dismissive manner in which the defendant dealt with the claimant’s complaint in respect of an obviously defamatory and indefensible article’. For several months, Associated Newspapers denied that their article was capable of defaming Rowling”. That suggests the Mail’s first reaction was to tell her to shove off.

You can see this story at the Independent, and also at the BBC website. But one place you will not see it is, to no surprise, at the Mail, whose own website is, instead, reporting on Ms Rowling’s reaction to actor Matthew Lewis’ appearance in Attitude magazine. This story was sourced by scouring Twitter - a rather safer bet for the Dacre doggies. But they will not let up in the constant probing of their target’s defences.

Why should that be? Ah well. Jo Rowling has appeared before the Leveson Inquiry. She has passed highly adverse comment on the activities of papers like the Mail. She is a signatory to the Hacked Off “Leveson Declaration”. She has preferred the Guardian to the Mail when it comes to giving interviews. She is, being a single parent, not the Daily Mail’s kind of person. So she has, if possible, to be brought down a peg or two.

Fortunately, she also has the resources to fight back. Well done Jo Rowling.

1 comment:

AndyC said...

It must confuse the DM when a rich successful person has opinions diametrically opposed to their narrow minded world view.