This weekend Catherine Bennett castigated me, along with others, for being part of a mob that had taken exception to the prospect of Rod Liddle being appointed editor of the Independent. She’s right â€“ I refuse to buy the Indy ever again (or link to it) if Liddle is appointed editor. More than 4,000 people share my concern, and with good reason.
In all these cases the so-called “mob” has been accused of suppressing free speech. But what you can hear screaming isn’t the Twitter or Facebook mob, it’s newspaper columnists terrified at the idea that their critics could organise themselves and do damage to their reputations.
What the likes of Bennett, Cohen and others protesting about the “mob” don’t seem to understand is that these are real people, their own readers, trying to do something about the world around them. They join Facebook groups, retweet about court injunctions or state #welovetheNHS because, occasionally, they have the opportunity to be part of an spontaneous movement that can have a big impact. Not all lead somewhere, of course, but some do. And the more people realise the power of the collective the more they’ll join in.
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