A half-arsed apology from the Mirror..

The good folks at Vital Forest were cunning enough to get hold of the email address of the Mirror’s editor, and appear to have illicited a response from him in regard to Brian Reade’s ill-thought out prattle about Brian Clough.  To be frank, it’s not much of an apology, which you can judge for yourselves below:

“Thank you for your note and the reflection of comments on your site. By its very nature Brian Reade’s column sails close to the wind as you will know. And occasionally he oversteps the mark.”

So apparently scandalously disrespectful comments not only to Clough, his family and those fans who raised the cash for the statue, are ‘acceptable collatoral damage’ from an egotistical bigot who has gained whatever reputation he may have through ‘sailing close to the wind.’  What a crock.

“I do regret that his comments – designed as a joke, however lame – have caused you and others such distress. For that I can only apologise. As you may imagine we assimilate and publish millions of words and pictures each week. Sometimes we get it wrong, as perhaps we did in this case although it is never our intention to upset or alienate readers.”

This is the cunning, and patronising bit.  Not once is there an actual apology there – he regrets they caused distress, well great – he even concedes that sometimes a newspaper of the Daily Mirror’s magnitude can occasionally get things wrong – however, in the case of Reade’s comments, this is presently merely as an example where perhaps they got it wrong.  Of course it’s never their intention to alienate readers, that would be silly since they pay for the scurrilous rag.

“Again, my thanks for getting in touch and making your feelings known. The Mirror is not normally in the business of upsetting readers, it’s not our style. And I hope you will see it as an error rather than an editorial stance.”

The pleasantries at the end are less contentious – interestingly they’re not normally in the business of upsetting readers, so sometimes apparently they are!  And finally we have a hope that we will see it as an error – which of course it is – although Mr Editor is cunning enough not to acknowledge it as such.  That leaves me far from satisfied, and I would like to see something both in print and on their website.

So for me, right now, this doesn’t change anything.  This isn’t an unequivocal apology, it’s a bunch of lame soothsaying without admitting anything.  I wasn’t holding out hope for an apology from the Scouse-sympathising Brian Reade himself, but I had hoped the powers-that-be at The Mirror would have done so more convincingly than this.  So keep sending emails – if you’d like to contact the editor himself, then you can do so by emailing richard.wallace@mirror.co.uk.

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10 Responses

  1. I agree thats not an apology. I was watching the Forest milwall highlights and there is some zombie reading from a script.Can someone do something to get rid of him and either stick to the original commentary or find a Forest supporter with a bit of feeling to replace him.Thanks in anticipation.Lets hope Forest don’t show too much respect to swansea or they have had it.They can win it if players are played in their own positions and they stay on the attack…It should be a fantastic game If the right Forest side comes out……..

  2. Do you not think you’re taking this a bit far? Granted, it was bad taste, but I’m sure you and many other fans have chanted worse things at matches to opposing teams and managers…..it’s hardly worth losing sleep over is it.

    Also, remember, in England we are entitled to free speech.

    What do you actually and realistically hope to achieve with all of these e-mails to the editor? All that will happen is that a standard reply will come back to you!!

  3. Hi John,

    I agree sadly about the likely outcome, and whilst of course we have the right to free speech, I do think that the National Press in particular have a responsibility to at least report on things tastefully.

    I’m sure many fans may well have chanted far worse things, I can’t think of an instance where I have, though. As for taking things a bit far, it takes five minutes to send an email, which I don’t think is too long for something you feel strongly about.

    Cheers!

  4. John

    Yes, we are entitled to free speech in this country. But the article contained factual inaccuracies and as such the paper should publish an apology.

  5. “…I can only apologise” sounds like an apology to me. Now let it lie, eh?

  6. Indeed, there is a very definitive apology in there.

    ’caused you and others such distress. For that I can only apologise’

    Quite clearly an apology. Whilst I agree with the sentiment of the emails, I think you were looking for an obstinate respons, which you didn’t get.

    At the end of the day, they are well aware of Clough’s achievements and downfalls, as Forest fans, we tend to ignore the bad parts.

    Implying Clough liked a drink is not inaccurate, to say it is would be a lie. The joke was in poor taste, but it was merely a joke. Clough himself would have been able to see it as a joke.

    The only factual inaccuracy is to do with the raising of the funds. I see this as quite a trivial inaccuracy, but the only one for which any form of rescinding needs to take place.

    Perhaps a donation to the cause from the Mirror, or a promise of coverage of the unveiling would be a good gesture of apology from the Mirror? It would certainly make me buy it!

  7. The apology is for the distress, not the comment itself… it’s subtle, but pretty clearly not an apology for the original remark.

    You’re right to imply it’s pedantic, but it’s not like we have any transfers or anything to write about, is it? 🙂

  8. Guess I’m a cock and a wanker coz I thought it was quite a funny line.

  9. I wrote to the editor, for what its worth…

    Dear Mr Wallace,

    I am writing to let you know how disappointed I was to read Brian Reade’s column dated 26th January 2008, in which he makes reference to the Brian Clough statue, soon to be erected in Nottingham. Firstly, he incorrectly suggests that the Council put up the money, which is incorrect; the money was raised in a number of different ways, but mainly by supporters’ donations. However, this is a point I would be willing to gloss over.

    However, I and many other of Clough’s fans no doubt, will not be as willing to forgive the comments that the council should have named a bottle bank after Clough. While Clough had his well-publicised drink problems, I feel the comment is unnecessary. In a week that should have been one for the Clough family to be proud of, they have to suffer once more. I’m sure it was not meant to offend, but I felt it a cheap shot, and a joke I don’t imagine he would have made about George Best for example.

    As a journalist, Reade, of course, has a right to free speech and opinion, and I’m sure his opinion doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the Newspaper as a whole, but I wonder if he would be big enough to publish an apology, both to the Clough family and the many fans who were upset by the comment?

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Regards,

  10. One of my more tenacious readers got a bit further with this…

    He got the standard apology email above, with an extra bit on the end:

    “The Mirror is not the type of paper that is about insulting the people who ultimately pay our wages. We let you down badly on this occasion. Again, my thanks for getting in touch and making your feelings plainly known. We do listen.”

    This is already better, but he didn’t let it lie there, and eventually ended up with:

    “Appreciated – I can assure you Brian Reade’s column next Saturday will address the issue… ”

    Result. So long as it makes it onto the website too, as I’m not buying it on Saturday to check!

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