Friday, October 16, 2009

Jan Moir's 15 minutes of fame

Earlier today, few people knew who Jan Moir was. I did, but then I'm a part-time journalist. However, after her article in The Daily Mail about the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, Ms Moir has become well known in Warholian style.

As I write this, over 1,000 complaints about her piece have been received by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). It's all down to Twitter and Facebook, both of which have been buzzing with the news. That's close to a record number of complaints, and shows the immense power of social media to shape opinion in an instant.

I've read Ms Moir's piece (I'm not sure that all the complainants have), in which she says that Gately's death struck a blow to the "happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships". She also says "Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this".

Strong words. That's what columnists are paid for. They are obviously causing offence to many people. I don't agree with her either. However, having read the piece a couple of times, I'm not convinced that she's said anything which is actionable.

Time, and the PCC will tell. But it's interesting to see that because of Twitter, Andy Warhol may have been right after all.

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