by Neil Everton
It can be tough to admit that we’ve made a mistake. But the alternative is usually worse. Ask British former MP Louise Mensch.
She’s very active on Twitter. The other day she was trying to demonstrate to her followers how much she was in touch with British Muslims.
“When I think of British Muslims,” she tweeted, “I think of (athlete) Mo Farah, (government minister) Sayeeda Warsi, (writer and broadcaster) Raheem Kassam, (journalist and academic) Sunny Hundal, (politician) Yasmin Quereshi.”
It’s an impressive list of contemporary thinkers and leaders in the UK.
Trouble is, they’re not all Muslims.
Sunny Hundal was born in London to Sikh parents, of Indian origin. After reading her comments on Twitter, Hundal tweeted back: “Erm, I’m not Muslim Louise.”
Now you’d think that was a cue to acknowledge a mistake. Or at the very least end the conversation without making things worse.
But Mensch kept going, returning to Twitter to say: “I’ve thought he was Muslim for ages, based on his politics, tweets.”
Which, of course, quickly spawned the hashtag #tweetlikeamuslim.
Sunny Hundal had the last word. He promised to tweet like a Sikh from now on.
This may seem blindingly obvious – but apparently it’s not: when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.
Neil Everton has distilled a lifetime’s experience with some of the world’s top news organizations into his Media Mastery training aids for anyone worried about talking to reporters. The video, books, e-books and workbooks are available in the Podium Coaching online store.