When working through the seemingly endless list of requests for correction, complaints and queries sent to the readers’ editor’s office by email each day, the desire to provide responses to as many messages as possible – and within a reasonable time – sometimes leads to a too-hasty rush to judgment.
Oh..? *fetches popcorn*
This was perhaps the case just over a week ago, after a few readers complained about a Comment piece by the Conservative MP Nick Herbert. The article, published a couple of days after the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, opened with a reference to that famous oration, then went to criticise modern-day campaigners who take direct action on issues such as fracking and badger culls, saying: “King’s heirs are not the pygmy protesters who move from one fashionable campsite and cause to another. They are those who fight courageously for human rights that are still denied across the world.”At the heart of the complaints was the suggestion that the use of the phrase “pygmy protesters” was racist, although one reader also said that its use denigrated “small people in general”.
War is hell, so they say, but so too must be the daily grind of assuaging the CiF comment crowd…