Andrew Marr does not deserve this retribution
By owning up to his gagging order, the BBC man has unleashed the wrath of venomous bloggers
Andrew Marr, whose spry frame, geeky grin and big ears come straight out of Mad magazine, was a brilliant political correspondent for the BBC. His penchant for wild metaphor and sheer energy – often appearing on the box several times in one night when a big story broke - brought to life the most turgid political wrangles of the Blair years.
The public now knows, because Marr has felt it right to admit to a super injunction, what many of his fellow journalists have known for ages - that he had an extramarital affair eight years ago.
He took the decision to own up to the gagging order because, he says, he felt embarrassed by it. "I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists."
But by allowing the full story to come out, he appears to have taken the risk, all these years later, of our prurient public interest creating as much pain for his family as the affair itself must have done at the time.
A simple Google search reveals the viciousness of the jeering crowd online.
One blogger, calling himself Max Farquar, brands Marr a 'cunt' and posts a grotesque photo of the BBC man, with a cauliflower for a nose. Clearly on a roll, Farquar writes, "I mean, what woman, in their right mind, would want anyone else to know that they had been 'bobbing up and down' on this?"
Max Farquar may be a saintly family man, but his blog caters to all tastes, including a regular feature called 'Totty' - under which he has posted a photo of a topless 16-year-old Ruby (The Heartbreaker) of Berlusconi fame, who at this tender age, looks like a plump and vulnerable candidate for paedophiles.
Yet the moral outrage seems grossly out of proportion: Marr's affair was not with a leopardskin-clad girl at a bunga-bunga party but with a fellow political correspondent.
Ian Hislop, editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye, has accused Marr of being a 'hypocrite' for asking for a super-injunction when, as a journalist, he must ask incisive questions of politicians and press for the truth.
Hislop, like many satirists, has a profound moral core, and out of context, his judgment can seem harsh at times. But he is consistent. He banished presenter Angus Deayton from Have I Got News For You when photos were published in the tabloids following Deayton's cocaine-snorting romps with silly blondes. Neither Deayton's career, nor HIGNFY, has ever recovered.
But Marr has not behaved like an idiot. There is no need for anyone other than his wife to castigate him and those who feel the need should look in the mirror. The British are quick to condemn the fanatical Moral Majority in America, and yet Fleet Street and now internet bloggers let rip with as much venom as the deranged priest in the pulpit.
And, of course, the Max Farquars of this world are just giving more ammunition to those injunction-happy judges. ·
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