Ex-Guardian (now New European) writer Michael White has what can be described as a prickly and condescending manner in his Twitter interactions, such as this patronising interaction with what turned out, embarrassingly, to be a fellow journalist who was suggesting he should read something informative:
Yesterday, however, he managed to offend both the living and the memory of the dead of an entire city in 140 characters.
His tweet in response, to a Scouser who – understandably as well as correctly – was lambasting Tories for the damage they have done and the worse they wanted to do, was a dismissal of the experience and integrity of all Liverpudlians:
That comment about a city that suffered smears and lies from the mainstream media about the tragedy of Hillsborough was bound to cause outrage – and did. You’d think Mr White would see the sense of a quick apology or at least retraction, but he appeared instead to ‘double down’ with a further spiky – and to some, hypocritical – tweet to the person whose comment he had seen fit to jump in on to begin with:
As Marc Letford points out, it’s hard to see the threat in the comment he was responding to – but what does he mean by ‘You’re not at home now‘? An insinuation that Mr Flanagan is a perpetrator of domestic violence? Another insult to Scousers, implying that Liverpudlians are inherently violent? Something else? Whatever he meant, it felt unpleasant.
The people of Liverpool are among the warmest and most welcoming you’ll find anywhere – and if they bear a sense of grievance, it is with ample reason.
They’re also an example to others in many ways; for example, they have no truck with Murdoch publications, most are wise enough to be deeply anti-Tory – and they won their dignified fight for Hillsborough justice years after many people would have given up in despair.
Warm, welcoming and dignified are not words that I would apply to Mr White. However, he describes himself on his Twitter profile as a ‘hack’ – and we don’t feel inclined to argue.
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