AddThis SmartLayers

Journalist deletes Facebook page after abuse from pro-Corbyn ‘trolls’

Rachel WearmouthA regional political journalist accused of being a “warmonger” by internet trolls has deleted her Facebook page after receiving a barrage of abuse over a column she wrote.

Rachel Wearmouth, who writes for Newcastle-based newspapers The Chronicle, The Journal and the Sunday Sun, has taken the step after publishing a column on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

After Rachel published the piece, in which she argued that Mr Corbyn has no future in the role, she was inundated with comments ranging from “risible to downright sinister”.

They included comments describing her as a “warmonger” and a “dumb b****” to accusations of right-wing bias and “pathetic journalism.”

Rachel, pictured above, printed a selection of the comments in a separate column on the abuse she received.

However, she has also taken the decision to unpublish her Facebook page, which had around 250 ‘likes’.

In her latest column, she wrote: “For journalists, having a thick skin comes with the territory.

“Normally, I have no problem shrugging off the odd dig about my ‘shoddy journalism’ (hell, sometimes I agree with them!) but this week I found myself the subject of some serious trolling/online abuse that left me a wee bit shaken.”

Rachel added: “The comments ranged from risible to downright sinister and half my Friday evening was spent deleting them and worrying what would come next when my phone buzzed with another notification.

“I won’t whinge on forever (not outside a pub, anyway) but do want to make a few points.

“Trolling is sadly seen as par for the course these days. Many forget, or don’t care, that there is a person at the other end when they get in front of a keyboard. You aren’t shouting into space though, everyone can hear you.

“I am a local reporter, not editor of The Sun/Daily Mail or part of a conspiracy to control minds.

“Most political hacks will be delighted if something they’ve written sparks a lively debate, but it can never be right that someone suffers abuse for sharing their opinion on an issue of public interest. It is an opinion and therefore can’t be right or wrong.

“Would you rather MPs’ statements were received by complete silence? Do Corbynistas think free speech should only be used to slate Tories?”

27 comments

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • December 1, 2015 at 8:10 am
    Permalink

    The anonymity of the back-bedroom PC turns these weak willed pathetic people into brave keyboard warriors.

    Well done, Rachel for expressing an opinion, though let’s face it, it wasn’t particularly controversial.

    Absolute idiots.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(15)
  • December 1, 2015 at 8:12 am
    Permalink

    I’ve always thought publishing stories with the journalist’s name was lunacy anyway and one thing I really got annoyed by. I stopped reading the comments under my stories because they were so cowardly and nasty, often from people who couldn’t string a sentence together. ‘terrible journalism, they haven’t even named the rape victim’.

    Pearls before swine. Keep writing Rachel (I don’t personally agree on the Corbyn issue but that’s bye the bye)

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • December 1, 2015 at 8:59 am
    Permalink

    I’m guessing Rachel normally doesn’t get too many Facebook comments on her journalism, hence why the account is patched through to her phone. Seems strange that anyone would want to be buzzed every time a troll says something nasty. So first thing would be to disconnect her real life from her work. Don’t even look at the comments, girl, except perhaps how many there have been. Second thing is Corbyn (who I back by the way, particularly on Trident), has a disruptive, bullying element in his grassroots support, people not interested in mainstream politics but in trouble and anarchy. Rachel, you have met those people. Five trolls sitting in a student bedroom drinking cider and sending messages all day can seem like hundreds. Rachel keep calm, disconnect your phone from your work, get out your thick skin overcoat and carry on.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(14)
  • December 1, 2015 at 9:03 am
    Permalink

    So much easier these days than when people had to open the green ink bottle and find a bit of paper, an envelope and a stamp. I suppose there’s some consolation in the thought that someone’s reading it. Can’t help wondering if this would have been a story at all but for the C word, however; the Corbynistas are paranoid because the wretched man can’t blow his nose without the Daily Mail accusing him of spreading avian flu.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • December 1, 2015 at 9:34 am
    Permalink

    Sadly, trolling has now become practically the norm for anybody with a political view, who is on social media. I’ve had my share from Blairites this past few weeks. I’m sorry to say that it’s now a hazard of daring to express an opinion (politics, football whatever) in today’s hi-tech world. You just have to learn to ignore it and not rise to it.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • December 1, 2015 at 9:49 am
    Permalink

    These clowns are the modern equivalent of the playground bully and social media gives them a platform…

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • December 1, 2015 at 9:52 am
    Permalink

    I cannot condone what happened to Rachel. But the sad fact is that political reporting on issues such as Syria is so one sided in Britain that leftists are driven to extreme measures simply because they cannot get their views heard.
    The national press is a disgrace and its journalists deserve much of the blame for failing to give both sides of the story. Ironically, many of these people are in a union (the NUJ), which is supposed to campaign for fairness yet does nothing.
    The BBC is equally extremely biased in favour of the right wing and being anti-Christian. Its propaganda comes across with much more skill than print, but nevertheless is very evident.
    Fortunately, we have the Internet nowadays and people interested in the truth have a whole range of foreign media in English with which to find out what is really going on.
    Muslims, too, have a point in complaining about how their religion is constantly demonised by the popular press.
    Regional dailies often imitate the nationals, but don’t have the panache. Long may national newspaper circulations decline!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(12)
  • December 1, 2015 at 11:02 am
    Permalink

    Don’t be put off Rachel. This is a throw back to Michael Foot times when democracy in the Labour Party went out of the window. I remember a time when I was a Labour Party member and all they wanted to do was take revenge on whoever had a different view….shades of the cold war and Stalinist times! Let’s keep these people at bay, Ken Jackson

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • December 1, 2015 at 11:06 am
    Permalink

    Well done Rachel for sticking up for what you wrote. The anti-brigade follow the dictum of “you can say what you like only as long as you agree with me”. That’s how dictators come to power. Look at history.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • December 1, 2015 at 11:38 am
    Permalink

    It could have been worse. I was bullied from all over the world when I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column about cyclists…. and the leader of the charge appeared to be a journalist.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • December 1, 2015 at 11:48 am
    Permalink

    Having suffered a bit of online bullying myself, although nothing approaching what Rachel has described, I can empathise. But I would urge her to revive her FB account and carry on as normal. We sometimes write things people don’t like and as others have said, green inkers don’t have to go to the trouble of sending a letter to make us feel the heat of their anger. However, once their comments are posted on the Internet they reveal themselves to the world as what they are – bullies, idiots, losers etc. You can always screenshot and report anything that needs reporting and turn off notifications if necessary. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be censored by trolls. As for Corbyn, I don’t think he gets fair coverage in most of the nationals. In fact their treatment of him is shameful. But that does not excuse trolling behaviour by any of his supporters.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • December 1, 2015 at 11:53 am
    Permalink

    I know better than most that columnists have a hole to fill and sometimes it’s a struggle, but this piece really is scraping the barrel. No need for the abuse though as the article is pretty lame.

    As for the suggestion that Corbyn is the wrong man for the job, there’s thousands of people who would disagree. The ones who joined the party just because of Corbyn for starters.

    I think you’ll find that Corbyn is more in tune with Labour members than the Labour MPs who will vote for air strikes. Opinion polls show the majority of the public at large are also of the same mindset.

    If you don’t want abuse from the public don’t write a bylined column and stay away from Facebook.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • December 1, 2015 at 11:57 am
    Permalink

    It’s a kinder, gentler politics.

    Going well that, isn’t it?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • December 1, 2015 at 12:59 pm
    Permalink

    Could have been worse – she could have been being pursued by journalists from the Liverpool Echo continually messaging her social media as per yesterday’s story.
    One rule for the press… can’t really feel sorry for her.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • December 1, 2015 at 12:59 pm
    Permalink

    This is where the whole idea of journalists “engaging” with readers starts to break down. Let’s face it, a lot of our readers are bigoted morons.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • December 1, 2015 at 1:43 pm
    Permalink

    Article that prompted it all: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/news-opinion/how-long-jeremy-corbyn-left-10513904

    I always assumed such opinion pieces are posh bits of writing to rile opposition views, previously to get letters written in, and now to boost comment counts *cough* engagement.

    Opening line of “After yet another pitiful week for Labour the only questions left to answer are when he will go, how he will go and who will replace him” is provocative IMHO, and if you are looking for a response, you will likely get it.

    Job well done really as two articles out of nothing, and lots of engagement all round.

    Clickity click targets met?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • December 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm
    Permalink

    I use it but it is all too often a few seconds of “fame” for some demented soul in need of help from the NHS

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • December 1, 2015 at 5:46 pm
    Permalink

    There’s no excuse for such abuse but surely a columnist needs to develop a thicker skin?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • December 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm
    Permalink

    People who claim to be “leftists” do get their voice heard but they are always venomous human beings. There is no need for what the pro-Corbyn trolls said to Rachel. I’ve seen loads of these “keyboard warriors” calling anyone who disagree with their view as “war mongers”, “fascist” or even “nazi”

    Unsocial media is “great” for sad little people shout people down, they should of challenged Rachel’s view but that would take brain cells to counter her view.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • December 1, 2015 at 8:34 pm
    Permalink

    There’s a fair share of Blairite trolls too. I’ve had experience of them lately.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • December 2, 2015 at 2:04 am
    Permalink

    Don’t give it if you’re not prepared to take it Rachel. Writing stuff like that in the Labour heartland of Newcastle is only asking for trouble.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • December 2, 2015 at 8:20 am
    Permalink

    There are a lot of people who claim to be passionate about free speech, but what they mean is ‘only if you agree with me’. Which of course isn’t very free at all.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • December 2, 2015 at 9:31 am
    Permalink

    LOL at the comments from ‘Harry Blackwood,’ trolling on a story complaining about trolls. And for the record Harry, opinion polls show that more people are in favour of air strikes in Syria than say they aren’t.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • December 3, 2015 at 8:25 am
    Permalink

    left wingers are ‘venomous human beings’? As opposed to those bastions of civility that are the Daily Mail and Sun’s readership? Hitler would wince at some of the stuff posted under your average Daily Mail article.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • December 4, 2015 at 1:31 pm
    Permalink

    @Jeff Jones

    No, if you read my comment, I said “People who claim to be leftists” the keyword is claim. I didn’t say all lefty are like that as its not true at all

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)