Below is the text of my communication sent today to the editorial bosses of the Reading Evening Post. I have not attached the article to which I refer to this post, as I do not publish hate speech, but it is attached to the communication I sent, for ease of reference.
To whom it may concern, Reading Evening Post
I would be most interested in your comments on the attached article, published in the Reading Post last week, and which has been sent to me. It appears to have been inspired by my informing the newsdesk that I had published a novel, and that I would be in Reading in some days' time. In fact the Post did send a photographer, as did Reading's other local paper, which also sent a reporter. However, the attached, by an individual styling himself Paul Cassell, who as far as I am aware I have never met, was published separately. Leaving aside the lamentable standard of literacy in the words allegedly written by Mr Cassell, if he exists ("quiet pleased"), the item was almost entirely copied and pasted from my blog, without attribution, which is deplorable journalistic practice in itself. As you see, it is topped and tailed with abusive personal attacks, and also attributes to me views and feelings I do not have ("quiet pleased" again). No-one from the Post spoke to me at any time - the photocall was arranged by an email exchange between me and Linda Fort. She had no discussion with me.
That the Reading Post should publish savage personal attacks on me is hardly unfamiliar behaviour. It did so regularly for a number of years, rarely seeking any comment from me or allowing me to respond. A person who is in public life must develop the resources to deal with the grubbier elements of the dead-tree press. But it is many years since I was a public representative of any kind in Reading. I simply thought that now my novel has been published it might be of interest to Reading people. Both Reading papers apparently thought so too, which is why they photographed me with the book. The Reading papers were far from the only media outlets I contacted, or who expressed an interest.
Elderly family members in the Reading area do not deserve the distress which is caused by a hate piece of this kind. The matter is currently with my legal representatives. Ahead of any representation I may make through them I am offering the Reading Post the opportunity to comment on the hate piece they published. I could wish that they had done me the same courtesy. I am also offering the Reading Post the opportunity to make restitution, of a nature to be discussed, and of course to apologise.
I look forward to hearing from you.
My novel is to be found here.