Upon learning that former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher had died of a stroke on Monday, the Daily Telegraph published an obituary that stated she “was not only Britain’s first woman prime minister, she was also the outstanding peacetime leader of the 20th century.”
But just hours later, the newspaper had to shut down all comment sections on articles related to the passing of the 87-year-old baroness due to “abuse” by posters discussing both positive and negative stories about Thatcher.
Tony Gallagher (@gallaghereditor), editor of the Daily Telegraph, tweeted:
We have closed comments on every #Thatcher story today -- even our address to email tributes is filled with abuse.
In response, one leftist Thatcher hater complained: “And yet you protest for freedom of speech?”
A Thatcher defender countered: “freedom of speech means they can publish what they want to and not what others tell them to,” to which Gallagher replied “quite so.”
However, we can get a glimpse of the angry comments that filled the Telegraph's site from people who used Twitter to vent their venom about the woman also known as the “Iron Lady.” These comments were published on the Twitchy website.
“My mum is phoning all her pals and away to get champagne already hahaha,” posted @_christydevlin.
“Goodbye, Maggie, and good riddance,” noted @tedrall. “Along with Reagan, Thatcher destroyed the safety net and the social contract in the West.”
@DarkestAngeI.31 also declared Monday as “party time!!!!!! Thatcher's dead!! The witch has snuffed it!! *does a dance*”
“Adios, Thatcher. You won't be missed, you old bitch,” growled @WeAreAllSimmie.
"This is awesome,” remarked @monkeyhanger189. “Show me which grave i piss/dance on.”
Along those lines, @ossier.am commented: “If they bury Thatcher, it will be the busiest public urinal and dance floor in the world.”
However, Thatcher also has her share of detractors “across the pond,” and many of them took advantage of the opportunity to attack American Republicans.
“Seeing people in the UK reacting to Margaret Thatcher's death makes me jealous [former GOP vice president Dick] Cheney hasn't died yet,” @daveanthony posted.
@_JoshMurphy stated: “Come back to me when George Bush or Dick Cheney die, then we can celebrate.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, many people in the American press took delight in slamming Thatcher and her record even on the day of her passing.
During Monday morning's edition of NBC's Today program, co-host Matt Lauer noted that the baroness was “known as the Iron Lady and for her conservative politics.” He added that she was “determined, dynamic and deeply controversial.”
Later that morning, reporter Natalie Morales seized on praise for Margaret Thatcher as the “perfect segue” to promote Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president in 2016.
After learning of Thatcher's death, MSNBC”s Martin Bashir claimed that she was a ”divisive and selfish” woman who “instigated race riots” in England.
Not to be outdone, reporter Mark Phillips commented during CBS This Morning that Thatcher was once called “Plunder-Woman” by a British union leader and was “famous for breaking the back of the very strong labor movement in Britain.”
Later in the day, CNN correspondent Max Foster charged that the Iron Lady had “decimated entire industries” and communities during her time in office. “A lot of people absolutely despise her legacy,” he added.
Not surprisingly, several conservatives posted many messages online that thanked her “for being a role model for ladies to lead with their lady smarts not their lady parts” and being “a true example of liberty.”
But the greatest praise she received came from that obituary in the Daily Telegraph, which also stated:
For more than a decade, Margaret Thatcher enjoyed almost unchallenged political mastery, winning three successive general elections. The policies she pursued with ferocious energy and unyielding will resulted in a transformation of Britain’s economic performance.
Above all, in America and in Eastern Europe, she was regarded, alongside her friend Ronald Reagan, as one of the two great architects of the West’s victory in the Cold War. Of modern British prime ministers, only Margaret Thatcher’s girlhood hero, Winston Churchill, acquired a higher international reputation.
After reading such high (and deserved) praise for the former prime minister, it's no wonder the Iron Lady's enemies couldn't let it go unanswered without overwhelming the comment sections of the newspaper's online site.
Along those lines, I want to add my thanks to Margaret Thatcher. She, along with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, were “people of destiny” who were in the right place at the right time, and we're still enjoying the benefits of their worldwide leadership.