A message to the gentle folk of the press

by Stephen Tall on October 12, 2007

And in particular for the benefit of Andrew Pierce of The Daily Telegraph and Hélène Mulholland of The Guardian.

First, please do try and get our name right. It’s simple common courtesy. A look at the mast-head or website address may help. This is Liberal Democrat Voice. We can happily live with Lib Dem Voice. But we are not Liberal Voice. Any more than you are the Torygraph and Grauniad.

Secondly, you say Lib Dem Voice has been “swamped” by grassroots activists demanding Ming quit. I assume you refer to this thread, Lib Dem MP: “We have to think about where we want to be in 18 months’ time”, which has indeed attracted a large number of comments: 61 and counting. Some are supportive of Ming; many make the valid point that it’s policy which matters; and some are unsupportive of Ming. I counted seven people calling for Ming to go. Perhaps you regard this as “swamping”: I call it statistically insignificant.

Thirdly, the view is repeated in the Grauniad that, “Chatter about Sir Menzies’s leadership overshadowed last month’s annual conference in Brighton”. This depends: if you are talking about media chatter you’re right. If you’re talking about Lib Dem conference delegates who were there, you are wrong.

Finally, thank you for highlighting Liberal Democrat Voice in your newspapers. It’s good to know you’re watching. Perhaps next time the Lib Dems announce we’re going to raise the threshold of inheritance tax, or replace air passenger duty with a tax on planes, or start taxing non-doms you’ll remember to report that, too, rather than assuming the Tories originated them.

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6 comments

Now that’s some goooood bitch-slapping.

by Chris on October 12, 2007 at 3:38 pm. Reply #

Copy of email to Guardian readers’ editor . . .

Dear Readers’ Editor

Re: Lib Dem leader may face challenge as poll ratings drop
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/libdems/story/0,,2189705,00.html

I am writing to complain about two specific points in the above article – the first and minor complaint is the website you refer to as “Liberal Voice” – which is actually called “Liberal Democrat Voice”.

The second is the comment “Grassroot supporters have swamped a popular website, Liberal Voice with messages demanding the leader’s resignation.”

This simply isn’t true and is just lazy journalism – copying the sentence almost word-for-word from the Telegraph article on which your article is based.

There are a very small number of complaints about Campbell’s leadership in a post on Liberal Democrat Voice – the majority of these, and specifically the ones quoted in the Telegraph article, are anonymous and unverifiable, and could easily be from the same person, who is not necessarily a Liberal Democrat – and could easily be a political opponent trying to cause trouble.

It’s clear, when coupled with the mistake in the site’s name, that no Guardian journalist has attempted to make an assessment of the story – and perhaps has even not looked at the material it’s reporting on.

I expected more from the Guardian, which seemingly has abandoned any pretence to considered reporting in this field.

by Grammar Police on October 12, 2007 at 3:42 pm. Reply #

Quite right.

I examined the claim that “chatter about the leadership dominated the conference” a bit more fully here.

by Jeremy Hargreaves on October 12, 2007 at 5:57 pm. Reply #

I’m sorry Voice, but what the hell is this? Two newspapers publicly say Ming is under threat, many lib dem’s are not happy (I’m one) and our poll ratings, for what was until recently an election period, are crap. On top of this, last May we lost hundreds of councillors.

I am sick and tired of the same old Cowley Street nonsense and propaganda stitched together and broadcast endlessly by mindless party hacks like yourselves. WAKE UP! EVERYTHING IS NOT OK!

Our leaader has clearly and very sadly failed. Ming is a great guy, intelligent and honest. But he is not a leader and must go now. Lets deal with that reality!

by mindstar on October 12, 2007 at 8:37 pm. Reply #

Whether Ming is good or bad, and indeed whether the mood in the Party is to get rid of Ming or not, the articles in the Telegraph and the Guardian (even worse!) are lazy, unsubstantiated rubbish. Stories written just because that’s the story they wanted to tell. For all anyone knows the quotes they lifted for the Telegraph piece were written by a Telegraph journalist. A ‘liberal’ country needs a better press than this.

by Grammar "Special" on October 12, 2007 at 8:50 pm. Reply #

Mindstar, I couldn’t even tell you the way to Cowley Street.

There IS a real problem here and it has got nothing to do with any leadership discussion which may or may not need to happen. It is to do with the flagrant misreporting of an online discussion thread. If you are in any doubt about this, please see today’s blogs for a fuller account (and you may note en route that I personally am neither pro- nor anti-Ming, and that is because I don’t feel I know enough about him to comment).

If you want to have a discussion about the leadership, all well and good, but if you support the telegraph and the grauniad in what they printed today, then frankly you deserve to have your opinion twisted beyond recognition in any way those unchallengeable mouthpieces wish.

by Alix on October 12, 2007 at 9:45 pm. Reply #

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