John Redwood should show his readers some respect

This entry was posted on
Thursday, September 13th, 2007
10:00 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Mirror – Fury as Vulcan attacks: Tory MP John Redwood launched a vicious attack on the parents of Madeleine McCann yesterday. He said Kate and Gerry were more interested in spinning to the media than finding their daughter. And he asked where was the evidence to back the abduction claim.

Daily Mail – Gerry McCann: ‘Kate and I are 100% confident in each other’s innocence’: Senior Tory John Redwood made an extraordinary intervention in the Madeleine case yesterday. The former cabinet minister said on his blog that Gerry and Kate McCann had fallen victim to the “modern disease of fighting battles through the media instead of people getting on and doing their jobs diligently”. He added: “Maybe the McCanns should employ a private detective rather than a spin doctor, to find evidence of the abduction they are sure happened and the trail to her present whereabouts.” Last night Mr Redwood said he bore no ill will towards the couple. “I didn’t mean to be hurtful. I was trying to be helpful.”

Mirror – Vulcan ditches Net slur: John Redwood was forced to back down last night after he launched a vicious attack on the McCann family. Yesterday Mr Redwood removed the offensive passage from his online blog. A spokesman said: “He felt what he was saying was being misrepresented.”

Let me absolutely clear about this; I’m making no comment here on what John Redwood has the right to say about the McCanns, legally or morally. I also happily acknowledge that some of this outrage, at the very least the beginnings of it, could well be the of the faux, fabricated, OTT and/or strategic variety, just as it was in the case of two Labour bloggers I’m about to mention.

The point I want to make here is about accountability, respect, and retromoderation.

When Bob Piper was set upon over a repeat of a ‘racist’ image, he removed the item in question, apologised, and made a note of it on his weblog.

When Tom Watson was copping stick over Sion Simon’s video, he removed the item in question, apologised, and made a note of it on his weblog.

And what has John Redwood done when faced with the same level of unwelcome MSM attention?

He has simply deleted the offending post without explanation or notation.

[Note: that post is still live in Google’s cache, and will probably remain there for a few days.]

I’ve seen quite a few Tories posing as bloggers doing this. Some of them are shameless about it. I’m aware of the curious Tory code (often credited to Benjamin Disraeli and far too often adopted by senior politicians of all parties) that one should “never explain, never apologise”, but often it goes deeper than that; this bad habit of ‘disappearing’ information extends into comments… via a series of deceitful machinations and/or outright deletion, information submitted by readers often disappears into the ether, too.

John’s a beginner, so I’ll patiently explain this to him in case he’s not aware:

When you begin a weblog, you also begin a relationship with those who read and interact with it. To simply delete content without explanation shows a complete lack of regard for this relationship and/or respect for those who take part in it.

Just a short note will do, John… when you’re ready.


[Note: Of course, there’s no mention of any of this on the weblog Tory propaganda machine Iain Dale runs, or on Paul Staines’ site. And, yes, I’ve had to remove a post myself this morning…. I haven’t apologised, but after removing the item in question, I did make a note of it on my weblog.]

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