This is George Monbiot's "Abject Apology to Lord McAlpine" (Monbiot's own title for it I should note)
'I felt a powerful compulsion to do what I have done throughout my career: to help the voiceless be heard. But in this case I did so without any of the care I usually take when assessing and reporting an issue. I allowed myself to be carried away by a sense of moral outrage. As a result, far from addressing an awful injustice, I contributed to one.
'I have acted in an unprofessional, thoughtless and cruel manner, and I am sorry beyond words.'
Monbiot had already apologized on Twitter but felt compelled to go even further by posting the "abject apology" on his website. As David Edwards remarked:
The fourth filter: flak:
'Flak refers to negative responses to a media statement or programme. It may take the form of letters, telegrams, phone calls, petitions, lawsuits, speeches and bills before Congress, and other modes of complaint, threat, and punitive action… If flak is produced on a large scale, or by individuals or groups with substantial resources, it can be both uncomfortable and costly to the media… The ability to produce flak, and especially flak that is costly and threatening, is related to power.' (Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon, 1988, p.26)
People without substantial resources can be accused of supporting 'genocide denial' in articles with titles like 'Media Cleanse' with complete impunity.
That's obviously true. Monbiot has never expressed any contrition at all over the following articles though all of them were slanderous: Media Cleanse, Naming the Genocide Deniers, See no Evil.
In the last article, Monbiot asked "How did genocide denial become a doctrine of the internationalist left?'
Monbiot clearly knows who can be slandered with impunity and who cannot, and so, I should add, do his editors at the Guardian who shielded Monbiot from rebuttal.