Why not Liddle?

If you’re currently an Indy reader it’s probably easy to agree on why the newspaper shouldn’t be entrusted to Rod Liddle’s editorial caresses. But why should his potential employer care about Liddle’s reputation? Maybe Lebedev thinks the Indy would be more profitable with Liddle’s paranoid rants deciding the front page. Maybe he’s blithely unconcerned about monkemfc’s preferences in violent sexual contact with female newsreaders. But even if the content of Liddle’s message board contributions doesn’t trouble Lebedev, the fact that everyone now knows about them should.

If Liddle is hired, he’s probably going to be overseeing the paper’s gradual move away from print and into predominantly online distribution, yet he’s already shown himself thoroughly incompetent in online communication. He treated published comments on a message board as though they were private statements, and although he’s claimed that the most outrageous of the monkemfc posts were made by a hacker, he didn’t have the nous to protect his online reputation in a forum where he was still an active member by getting the alleged hacker’s posts deleted.

Interviewed by Kate Silverton on 5 Live this morning, he said: “I didn’t have time to go back and check the URL on every post,” suggesting a breezy disconnect from the words published under his name – not exactly taking ownership of his output in the way that an editor really ought to. This could be the why the monkemfc comments are ultimately damaging to Liddle: not because they show that he’s prone to blurts of contrarian offensiveness (because we knew that already) but because they show that that he doesn’t understand the medium he’s going to be working in. He can’t manage an online reputation and he can’t control the words that appear under his own username on a forum, never mind across a whole newspaper.

Text © Sarah Ditum, 2010

3 thoughts on “Why not Liddle?

  1. I think in this Liddle discussion (hehe) people have actually forgotten one key point that underpins any decisions made at the Indy – they can’t make it any worse than it is right now.

  2. I hadn’t thought of it that way. You’re right. Well said.

    Though, and I hope you don’t mind me asking, aren’t you just a part of the Guardian attempts to destroy the reputation of Liddle Rod – which I think we would both agree is entirely more appropriate – and all the Righteousness for which He Stands? You know what I mean, and don’t pretend you don’t: the Guardian’s conspiracy to mercilessly and unjustifiably attack all of their rivals?

    I heard part of the interview too. What a paranoid ass. I was thinking – less intelligently than you, of course – that regardless of his politics, I don’t want him editor of the Indy or anything else JUST because he’s a massive dick-head. Will and Jonah agreed, when I voiced this very opinion, so it must be true.

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