Friday, February 27, 2009

Knitting round the guillotine 21st century style

Excuse me if this turns into a rant, am trying to be level headed honest!!

This week I have to comment on the media. Three events in particular have occured, all of which I think certain media elements are taking to extremes.

Jade Goody, allegedly a celeb, is dying from cancer. I can't stand the woman, BUT I would not wish this on her. Nor would I wish the loss of their mother on her two sons. Whatever she has or hasn't done, she is a human being, she does not deserve this to happen and I do feel genuinely very sorry for her.

Wendy Richards, former Eastenders actress has died, also from cancer. A lady much loved by the soap viewing world, what a tragic event to befall her.

Ivan, the 6yr old son of David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, died this week. he had cerebal palsy and severe eplilepsy. 6 yrs old .... no words will ever be enough to express just how tragic his loss is.

All these are tragic events, devastating for the families. Of that there is no doubt. But the reaction of certain media outlets threatens to turn death into something akin to a spectator sport. Jade Goody, it is reported, sold the tv and magazine rights to her wedding for £1m. Everywhere you turn at thew moment there seems to be pictures of her, reports and interviews, each one earning her a nice little packet. I felt somewhat repelled by this, but after discussing the situation with a friend, simmered down a little. My friend pointed out that Jade is doing this for her sons, earning money to be invested for their futures. Well, I can understand that, and maybe she is right to do so. However where do we draw the line? It is widely reported that Jade has a TV crew following her, that she wants them to follow her story up to and including her death. Sorry, but that really, truly turns my stomach. death is not, or certainly should not be a form of entertainment. Do we really want to go back to the days where old women sat around the guillotine knitting, whilst men and women were executed? This kind of media circus that has sprung up around Jade Goody is no better than that. No dount when it is televised there will be viewers who will get their cupof tea, box of chocs and settle down to watch. To watch what though? To watch a fellow human being, a woman, a mother dying from cancer? What good will it do? I doubt it will do much good. She has already publicised her plight, reminding thousands of women to get themselves a smear test. Good on her and all respect for that. But what earthly good will fiming her death then broadcasting it do? Please if anyone understands why then please explain it, because I truly do not get it.

Ivan Cameron is another kettle of fish altogether. As many of my readers will know, the loss of a child is a tragedy that all too many have to face. No parent should ever have to bury their child, so many have to, its heartbreaking. The Camerons issued a press statement, explaining what had happened and asking for the press to respect their privacy at this time. Did they listen? Did they heck. Not all I hasten to add, many newspapers and TV news programmes/channels have been very good, reporting the facts, expressing their sympathy and condolences ... but one paper had a full page picture of the Camerons returning home just hours after Ivan had died. The pain and misery etched on the faces of the two loving parents was awful. It was a moment of extreme privacy, a moment that should have been for them and them alone. yet one paper had decided to sit and wait on their doorstep to catch them in all their misery. How dare they. How dare they intrude on the grief of a family who had just hourrs before suffered the worst tragedy that can befall any family. It was not good journalism, it was voyouerism pure and simple. I hope karma comes and bites the paper concerned on the backside very soon. They were not alone, a popular daytime/morning programme dedicated the first 15 minutes of their show to speculation as to what caused Ivan's death. FFS this was less than 12 hours after he died. Have some respect will you. Nor did they improve the next day, when they had a phione in dedicated to bereaved parents who might be suffering as Ivans death would of prompted bad memories. Yeah sure as if any bereaved parent does not remember their child every day anyway. It was patronising and intrusive in my opinion.

Wendy Richards, died quietly, out of the public eye. As , in my opinion anyway, it should be. The last moments of a persons life should be private, a time to be spent with loved ones, the time after the loss of a loved one should be private too, should be given to the family and friends of the person wgho died. Not a media circus.

I hope for many things this week, that Jade Goody can have a peacful death, that the TV comapny will have a dose of common sense and leave her dying moments to those who love her, not every man and his dog watching the goggle box, that she, Wendy Richards and Ivan Cameron can be laid to rest in dignity and peace. That their respective families can be allowed the peace, privacy and space to mourn.

But then we are talking about the British Press so no breath holding going on here!! There is a balance to be reached, between reporting the news and intruding at a time where privacy should be paramount. Some news outlets manage it, some papers report with sensitivity, someTV stations show an ounce or two of decorum. All respect goes to those people. For the rest, well heres hoping karma delivers judgement soon hey!!


DafadDdoniol said...

Not that I'm religious but can I Amen that!

The Life of a Paed Heart Transplant Recipient said...

Amen from me too.