Morrissey Controversy

After reading the Morrissey feature story in the NME http://www.nme.com/ today (29 November) I feel it is only right that I vent my spleen regarding the whole affair.  Interestingly NME do not display the feature on their website, readers have to buy a copy to witness the controversy.

Here is a summation of the debate from http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/

 NME v Morrissey

Magazine interview causes a stir28 Nov 07 – Morrissey and his management team have threatened NME Magazine with legal action today. It follows an article published in the music magazine this week which accuses The Smiths man of using “inflammatory” language centred on the issue of immigration in Britain.Morrissey’s team heard about the possible damaging nature of the feature in an anonymous tip-off in October. In response, NME editor Conor McNicholas reportedly said on 29 October they were just “rumours and untruths” and that Morrissey’s words were “benign when argued in isolation.”The NME journalist that carried out the interview, namely Tim Jonze, has personally written to Mozza’s representative Merck Mercuriadis denying that the comments had anything to do with him. The credits for the piece read: Interview: Tim Jonze / Words: NME.According to true-to-you.net, Jonze, who also writes for The Guardian, said:“I should mention that for reasons I’ll probably never understand, NME have rewritten the Moz piece. I had a read and virtually none of it is my words or beliefs so I’ve asked for my name to be taken off it. Just so you know when you read it.”Merck claims that upon receiving this, he immediately wrote to NME Editor Conor McNicholas, who allegedly replied after three days.

In response, McNicholas claims that the comments in the piece are “fair and balanced”, and writes: “Obviously no-one is accusing Morrissey of racism – that would be mad given what Morrissey says – but we do say that the language Morrissey uses is very unhelpful at a time of great tensions.”

  • Tim Jonze, the journalist in question , should be responsible for his own work.  It was his feature and therefore his questions.  Provoking a negative reaction from a well-known, outspoken, social critique is lazy and irresponsible journalism.  To bait Morrissey on these issues was inciteful and malicious.
  • It occured to me whilst reading the article that Morrissey was very willing to discuss the immigration issue in an open manner.  However this was only fuelled by Jonze’s desire to extract as much controversy as possible.  Clearly the whole interview didn’t need to focus on this one issue, but because of the journalists antagonizing this is what eventuated.  No NME reader wanted to read a whole page of this discourse, surely it would have been in everyones interest to eventually discuss something else.
  • There was no other reference used apart from England.  If Tim Jonze wanted a balanced article shouldn’t he have asked Morrissey what he thought of immigration issues in other countries where he has resided.  
  • Morrissey is clearly expressing concerns that are engulfing the whole country.  Whether in Politics, Sport or Education this has become a very important issue that the whole country needs to debate.  Michel Platini expressed similar concerns the other day when discussing the English Premier League and he was not labeled a racist for his views.  
  •  The social fibre of England is frayed when debates such as this are systematically beaten down and lambasted in the fight to appear liberally just.  This marginalising of a serious political issue only contributes to the support of the radical fringes of society.
  • Why did the NME contribute to the feature by adding their own negative, accusational editorial.  This set the tone and mood for the piece that threw Morrisssey’s interview out of context.  
     
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