Simon Kelner: My week of sleeping.. and waking with Mrs Mensch

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Somebody told me yesterday that neither Louise Mensch nor Tom Watson was on the radio. Thank God, I said. I thought I'd gone deaf in my left ear.

The ubiquity of these opposite poles from the Culture Select Committee in recent days has said a lot about the way in which modern media, a voracious beast that needs feeding every minute, is prone to turning in on itself.

I am well aware that the unravelling of the Murdoch empire is so much more than a media story, but nevertheless there is a limit to how much of Mrs Mensch or Mr Watson we can take as they pop up on every medium, at every hour of the day, rehearsing the same arguments.

If you watch Newsnight and listen to Today, it's been possible to go to sleep and wake up with Louise Mensch. As the author of chick-lit like Venus Envy and A Kept Woman, the former Louise Bagshawe knows all about the publicity game. Get on the telly and radio, do the newspapers; sell some more books.

As a politician, she has a different product to market – herself and her ideas. She understands that, as one of the more photogenic and media literate of our Members of Parliament, she's going to appeal to the middle-aged men who run our newspapers and TV stations.

So although Conservative members of the select committee voted against the killer finding that Rupert Murdoch was unfit to run a major company, it was Mrs Mensch, inset, who was endlessly wheeled out to explain their position.

This she did coherently and articulately and I have some sympathy with her belief that the committee (or "her committee", as she injudiciously referred to it on Newsnight) over-reached itself in search of a grand-standing conclusion.

However, there is, as she well knows, another side to all this publicity and it wasn't much of a shock to see her do one more round of interviews and appearances highlighting the abuse she received on Twitter for standing up for what she believes in.

Bullying, misogynistic comments poured in to her Inbox. Violent, sexually explicit threats descended on her. She left the most offensive ones there for the world to see, in order to illustrate how social networks are used for ill intent, with particular abuse targeted at women.

I'm only surprised that she's surprised. She's been on Twitter long enough – she has 50,000 followers, for heaven's sake – to recognise that this is the side effect of being able to get your message out quickly and efficiently. You just don't know who is going to answer you back.

The Internet provides the cloak of anonymity and Twitter gives 140 characters: just about right for that hurtful personal insult. A colleague of mine, who earns his living in the digital world, pointed out one of the anonymous tweets that had been sent to Mrs Mensch. It read: "@LouiseMensch. Lol. Slut."

"That," he said, "is the Internet."

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