A statement from Mail Online received late on Friday night confirmed to Journalism.co.uk that the title had indeed pulled advertising from a heavily criticised column by Jan Moir on the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately.
“Following the publication of advertisers’ telephone numbers by the heavily orchestrated campaign attacking Jan Moir’s column, Mail Online – of its own volition – withdrew the ads alongside her article,” the statement said.
“As Jan Moir, who has gone on record supporting civil partnerships, says in her statement, this intensely choreographed campaign mischievously misrepresents her carefully argued article.
“In the interest of free speech Mail Online is carrying comments both for and against her column, but regrets the heavy-handed tactics by the campaign which is clearly being fanned by many people who haven’t even read Jan’s views.”
However, in a week where the once ‘old’ and ‘new’ worlds of media joined forces to overturn threats to freedom of the press by contesting legal firm Carter-Ruck’s attempt to gag the Guardian, the Mail’s argument that Moir has been the victim of an ‘intensely choreographed campaign’ does not ring true.
“Moir, or her editors, or both, misjudged the speed and breadth of the real-time web and social media in their power to highlight and pressurise at speed and with force. To see the Daily Mail taught a lesson about public outrage in the electronic age would no doubt have raised a weak, battered smile at the BBC.”