April Jones – A Study in Media Cruelty
I watched agog as a campaign to raise awareness turned into missing girl porn. It was plain when the public response which had been a help to the police, became a huge hindrance. I can identify the moment when the media’s mock concern for a little girl, turned into a morbid hunt for a corpse.
If all these things were entirely clear to me, a man on the Clapham omnibus, they cannot have been unknown to the television executives who made the decision to continue to feed the story.
What makes it particularly distasteful is that by no means could this be considered a “slow news week” – quite the opposite. And so, I posit, the tabloid-isation of the media industry is matter of choice; not necessity. Because it is easy.
In the climate of filling the 24 hour cycle with this sort of pornographic aesthetic of personal tragedy, Kay Burley confronting volunteers with the reality that the little girl is probably dead is simply the money-shot.
And still hacks continue to confront people with that harsh probability. People feebly respond “we have to keep hope alive”. The vans stay put. The cameras chase and the boom microphones assault.
This is a village in grief. Denial is a perfectly legitimate first stage to dealing with it. Like wicked buzzards the media appear to be saying: “Excuse me, but we’re on a schedule here. Could you get on with it? We would like good close-up shots of anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance before the day is out. Thanks.”
How about leaving them the hell alone? Anyone with a shred of humanity? No.