It appears that at least a few people are beginning to express concern at the latest media feeding frenzy. The parents who have more that once expressed their wish to be allowed to gieve in peace. The headmaster of the local school, the Public prosocuter and now the police are expressing their doubts about the possibility of being able to conduct an unpredjudiced trial. It has been a sad event that appears to have been hijacked by the media and turned into a tragic circus. When will it stop. Or is there some deepseated need to use this sad event as a form of emotional purgative for the public at large and administered by the media.
I feel that the Media intruded too deeply into personal grief. Look at the way when there is a disaster of any type they are zooming in on the crying relatives and asking banal questions of them when people want to left alone to mourn. One of the worst examples was when Princess Grace of Monaco died and they had close ups of a grief striken Prince Ranier at the funeral.
In this particular case I too think that the Media stepped over the line. The families and the people of Soham should be left alone as they have grief enough to come again when the trial of those arrested takes place.
I agree with Paterbrat's postulate. There is a theory of the "Tragic Catharsis" in drama.
I wonder why this wasn't mentioned by anyone before.
Perhaps because a fair number of the born-again critics were glued to their boxes while the whole murder mystery was being played out -- and now that it's all over bar the shouting, they'd like to pretend that they were never part of the whole distasteful business.
The only feeding frenzy has come from the audience which wants to be fed. It's a little like blaming the zoo-keeper for handing out fish to the penguins.
While I firmly believe that the media should not breach Contempt of Court legislation in order to ensure a fair trial, I have to add that, in my opinion, the majority of the news coverage of this event has been conducted with a high level of respect -- especially given the sensitivity of the issue. I suppose some of the armchair experts here would know better. Funny how it's okay to be an armchair expert on journalism, but not on flying an aircraft...
No, I don't agree with intruding on grief. Neither does any journalist of any repute -- this aspect is clearly laid down in the code of conduct drawn up by the journalist associations themselves.
Last edited by Kalium Chloride; 25th Aug 2002 at 10:29.
One aspect of the media frenzy which disturbs me is the affect it has on other children.My grandson who is nine has become to frightened to go out alone.I know you have to be careful and protect children, but why can we not have a newpaper headline saying millions of children play every day and live to tell the tale.
KC a badly trained and sloppy Pilot could potentally kill many people both SLF and on the ground. A sloppy journo, of which there are many might in the worst case kill one person who commits suicide owing to their writing about them.
But what would happen to the reputation of pilots if any Tom, Dick or Harry was allowed to fly passengers on a commercial aircraft?
That reputation for safety and discipline wouldn't last a month. It wouldn't matter how good a pilot you were. You'd be lumped in with the rest of the crowd by those who think they know better.
That's exactly what has happened to journalism. Thanks to the Internet and desktop publishing, it's become easy for any idiot to set themself up as a journalist. To the detriment of the genuinely-skilled, highly-trained individuals who constantly have to fend off crude and naive generalisations about "the media".
I forget who it was that stated that the irony of the communications age is that it's given credibility to uninformed opinion, but he/she was absolutely bang on.
People don't die with biased journalism. But the truth does. And people easily forget how much their version of the truth is shaped by the skill (or lack of skill) of a journalist.
It's nonsense to start comparing the jobs of a journalist and pilot. They are completely different. Yes, a crap pilot might kill 200 passengers. And a crap journalist might have left President Nixon in office. Can you say which would have had the greater consequences? I can't.
Journalism is job that requires taking on a huge responsibility. The fact that a fair number are appallingly bad at it doesn't change the fact. It simply means that -- as with 'professional' pilots who risk lives by turning up drunk -- the shoddy journalists should be fired in order not to bring the rest of their colleagues and their profession into disrepute.
Last edited by Kalium Chloride; 25th Aug 2002 at 15:58.
Here's a business proposition for you. Set up a newspaper which only reports good news (like the fact that millions of kids play safely every day).
Hire the best journalists in the world, with the specific instructions that they only report similar feel-good stories.
Since the public is always criticising the media for sensationalist headlines and dwelling on bad news, this new paper of yours ought to be a runaway success.
We'll see how long it lasts.
My prediction is that it will be an expensive exercise which will simply teach you that it's the public which dictates what appears on the front page. It's the public which wants ghastly headlines and shock-value stories.
Want proof? Which PPRuNe topics get posted and read most often? The ones talking about jolly things, or the ones about job losses and accidents?
People want to read about the things which might affect their own lives. If you have kids, which paper are you more likely to pick up -- the one with a full report on how safely a million kids are playing today, or the one which is going to tell you about the paedophile who quietly moved into your town last week?
If so, briefly and without any bias on my part the story is as follows:-
A few weeks ago two girls of about 11 were at a barbecue in a quiet town called Soham in Cambridgshire in the East of England. They wandered off together and failed to return after a few hours, the Police were called, a huge search took place over many days availing nothing. The school caretaker and his girlfriend were questioned by the Police and have now been charged in connection with the murder of the two girls who were found dead near the USAF Base at Lakenheath , Suffolk about 15 miles from their home. Both are now in custody, the man in Rampton, a secure State Mental Asylum, the woman in Holloway(Womens') Prison in London awaiting trial.
The issue under debate herein is that the way the Media, both printed and electronic , publicised and covered this matter was sensationalist and both intruded on private grief (that of the parents of the two girls) and whipped up strong feelings against the accused especially amongst the local populace resulting in angry protests outside the Police Station in which they were being held.
I hope that is sufficient to inform you what this discussion is about in the specific, there are other underlying and longer term issues as well here in the UK which this latest tragic event has re-ignited.
For more detailed information and background I suggest the BBC or ITN News Websites or those of the British Quality Newspapers, The Times, Daily Telegraph, and their Sunday equivalents.
I tend to find that the rumours put about on PPRuNe similarly bear little resemblance to the truth. Doesn't stop me reading it though.
I think I'd argue that it was the murder of two 10-year old girls that prompted the baying mob outside of the courthouse rather than any reporting by the journalists, particularly since the information on the couple arrested was being released directly to the press from the major incident centre of Cambridgeshire Police, rather than being obtained by "intrusive" means.
Last edited by Kalium Chloride; 25th Aug 2002 at 19:48.
Everyone had heard of OJ Simpson and he was found not guilty.
Jury members are not allowed to serve if they know the accused personally. But there's no rule against "knowing" them via news reports.
I'm sure that if you were serving on the jury, you'd be quite offended if anyone suggested you couldn't make your own mind up over the evidence. I'm pretty certain that any one of you would vehemently claim to be able to dismiss any media reports and listen to a case in an unbiased fashion.
And if you can claim to be able to think for yourself, surely it's a bit rich to assume you're the only one?
Last edited by Kalium Chloride; 25th Aug 2002 at 20:02.
KC, I was merely outlining the background to this discussion for the benefit of Wino. I feel that the angry scenes outside the Police Station were an outpouring of people's grief, anger ,disgust and outrage. Whether the Press and TV added to this or merely reported the facts is the subject of debate.
You already know my views about the flaws in the Jury system and why I would not wish to serve on one. (See JB passim). This is a case which I feel ought to be tried by three senior judges without a jury.
KC re your remark why had no-one mentioned it before, it has been mentioned before. I have certainly commented on it before. It reminds me of the grief fest that was whipped up over Dianna. To some she was nothing less than a Goddess/ Saint/ Icon/ Fairytale Princess all rolled into one; to others she was simply a manipulative, reasonably pretty, fairly emotionaly and psychologicaly unstable young mother who had a very good idea of how to use the press to her advantage. But when she died it was treated as though the world had come to a stop. The emotional overindulgence was quite breathtaking and continues to this day, she in fact competes quite handily with Elvis. The press the TV the journos all love it, it is a rich vein to be drawn upon.
I do not consider myself a totaly cold and unemotional person, and am quite capapable of being moved to joy or grief but there comes a point where it become a self feeding travesty. The OJ trial was indeed another of these media events that seems to have been totaly blown out of all reasonable proportion. The media will see what they feel to be a good thing fasten onto it with bulldog persistance and milk it for all it is worth. And if it is sensational enough and can be fanned from a small fire into a huge forest fire it will sell copy. Selling copy is what papers are all about. Selling copy and manipulating peoples opinions because that is power. Quite literaly influencing large blocks of people.The way in which events can be used like this becomes extremely distasteful
We will never convince you, I am sure, but it has to be said that the jury system is the cornerstone of the citizen's protection against the might of the state. And even the most dreadful criminal is entitled to that protection.
Hard cases make bad law. Always have done, always will.
Hello again U_R , still havent met up to buy you that pint.
Anyway, you are correct, I havent changed on the subject of the Jury System Lottery. Ironically, this is one case where TG the great scourge of the criminal, the Prosecutor's Friend at Court so to speak actually feels that the accused would get a fairer trial by three skilled Senior Judges without a jury. Now as you are a JP yourself you are used to that system in dealing less serious types of crime. I feel that the three Judges, having by definition a Lawyer's mindset, would not be influenced by any advance publicity and sensationalism and would therefore apply their judgement in a more objective manner.
So, Tartan, how would you deal with Lord Denning's declared preference for police evidence? We have lots of other judges we can give as examples. So long as we hang someone, justice is served? What do you think of my idea of a lottery: crime gets committed, ignore the rules of evidence altogether, get ERNIE (if he still exists in the UK) to select a name at random by computer? Hang whoever has the name selected. He will be innocent, but you don't care about that. Time saved. Money saved.