Professional provocateurs – and the organisations that employ them – turn comment into a race to the bottom
• Nesrine Malik is a writer and commentator
At the weekend, many of us had the pleasure of meeting a new troll for the first time, someone hitherto inflicted only on Irish readers. In a column in that country’s edition of the Sunday Times, one Kevin Myers commented that women who wanted pay parity with men had to, in summary, earn it by being more ambitious and not having babies. The article was a stinking piece of professional misogyny of a kind we are now unfortunately too accustomed to, but just to make sure that he would get the fireworks he no doubt felt his original thinking deserved, Myers threw in some rank antisemitism for good measure. Commenting on the pay packets of the Jewish journalists Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman, he wrote “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity”.