Rod Liddle is no longer in the running for the Independent’s editorship. The decision will be seen as a significant victory for campaigners using social networking tools.
On his Guardian blog, Roy Greenslade writes:
Negotiations to install Rod Liddle as the editor of the Independent after its purchase by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev are understood to have ended yesterday.
The decision to end talks is understood to have been taken after a meeting between Liddle and Simon Kelner, the managing director and editor-in-chief of the Independent and Independent on Sunday. “He will not be the editor,” one source with knowledge of the talks said …
“The liberal howl-around was so intense that he can’t afford to alienate the Independent staff by appointing Liddle so he will appoint someone else,” the source said.
Since Guardian Media first broke the story about Liddle’s potential appointment in January there has been a concerted campaign on facebook with regular reports on Liberal Conspiracy and Left Foot Forward. The campaign built a head of steam after the Mail on Sunday revealed that Liddle had been posting offensive remarks on a Millwall FC bulletin board.
With the help of online civil society organisation, 38 Degrees, over £700 was raised for an advert in the Independent making the case against the appointment. The advert was rejected and the money will now be given to:
- Refuge, the charity for victims of domestic violence, like Liddle’s own wife – Liddle accepted a caution after allegedly punching his pregnant wife;
- The Campaign Against Climate Change in light of Liddle’s denial of global warming
In recent days, close to 3,000 emails were sent to Independent owner, Alexander Lebedev, via 38 Degrees. Executive Director David Babbs told Left Foot Forward:
“This is a great example of people power in action – thousands of us got involved through twitter, facebook, and the 38 Degrees web site, and together we’ve persuaded Lebedev to think again.”
Alex Higgins, who founded the facebook group ‘If Rod Liddle becomes editor of The Independent, I will not buy it again‘ told this blog:
“I hope that the Independent has learned the lesson from this about the need to respect their readership. If they were now to make a disappointing appointment they would have missed the point.
“The Independent should show at least as much respect for its readers as the Daily Mail shows to its readers. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported the campaign and I hope they all feel that they really can make a difference.”