Northcliffe Spin Unravels

Following their humiliating defeat in a US court overnight, Northcliffe Media and their bosses at the Daily Mail and General Trust have been desperately trying to spin the spoof twitter account story in their favour. In a statement the Mail subsidiary laughably claimed that their “approach to Twitter was not about freedom of speech, but about a barrage of anonymous tweets that amounted to cyber-bullying and harassment“, insisting “free speech is the lifeblood of our newspapers and websites“. They are telling the press that they withdrew their expensive legal action to save their employees from having to prove emotional distress in court. This line shouldn’t fool anyone.

Guido believes the only reason Northcliffe dropped their case was that they could not find a shred of evidence to substantiate the outrageous claim that the spoof tweeter hacked into the company’s email system. The spoofer’s attorney Frank Sommers expressed his astonishment in court that Northcliffe had failed to provide any evidence for the claim, or any examples of tweets that they claimed were libellous and defamatory. When Guido asked Northcliffe this morning whether they were retracting their allegations they refused to comment.

However they might be trying to spin it, it seems fair to conclude that Northcliffe – backed by bosses at the Mail – used trumped-up claims as an excuse to gag a fierce but ultimately harmless critic. They would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…

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