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Day 283 – The Public Interest

January 7, 2015

Song of the Day: Tommy Gun – The Clash

Sickening news from Paris today. Is that the way to win an idealogical argument? I find it horrible the way the media are feeding on it like hyenas. On the Mirror’s online site you can watch a video of a policeman being shot dead by the murderers as they leave. But why would you want to? What possible purpose does it serve to make this sort of footage public, other than feeding an apparently growing appetite for voyeurism into other people’s tragedies?

When I was growing up, British newspapers and TV made a policy of not showing graphic images of death. A good decision – it serves no purpose other than to chill and titillate the darker side of our souls. They still don’t tend to publish it in print or show it on TV but they’ve decided that it’s ok to put it online?

There’s a phrase they use to justify this sort of reporting: “it’s in the public interest”. Is it bollocks. The public interest means it serves the interests of society to make certain information public; it doesn’t mean “show anything that members of the public might find interesting”.

The trouble with the internet is that it’s left to us to do our own editing. The days when well trained experts did it for you are long gone, with the result that we consume unprecedented quantities of shite. For the media companies it’s like the Wild West: they know there’s gold in them thar graphic images of murder and death and there ain’t no-one stoppin’ em from gettin’ it.

In other words, they’re cashing in on an innocent man’s execution. Again.

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From → The law

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