Newspapers; From Bad to Worse
by, 4th July 2010 at 12:18 AM (1183 Views)
This blog post breaks from the site's tech theme. I know, it's a tech site and this is probably a tech-based blog system but it's also my only blog at the moment. It gets a little political, think of it as a personal post.
As some are aware, I've been taking an interest in the surroundings of the Hackney fox attacks and particularly the diabolical news coverage of it. One particular paper has been it's usual shameful self and I find it pretty sad I have to see it's front page when I go to buy my sandwiches in the morning. Somehow they have stooped even lower and after a protracted campaign against the native British species are now going after the story's detractors.
The situation began when a claim was made that a fox snuck through an open door in Hackney, London and "mauled" two infant twins in their beds. Newspapers reported the matter and you think that would be the end after radio reports (from XFM) described it as "the first incident of it's kind in over ten years" and a "one in a million occurence."
However, not long after the incident the infamous Daily Mail newspaper ran a story about foxes being spotted in the local area. This was poor reporting in itself given foxes are common in London and it is effectively their natural habitat. The stories kept flowing with the incident being dragged out by the newspaper about the twins recovering but being permanently scarred and of more foxes being spotted, trapped and killed in the garden.
Then the public need for greed took over, suddenly there were reports ranging from the petty to the downright absurd. Schools locking doors and windows and keeping pupils inside because a fox was spotted on the grounds, people being bitten on the foot by one, even reports appearing of a fox defecating inside a house was deemed newsworthy.
Thanks to some of the most hyped up and horrific media coverage of a minor incident, the British Red Fox was turned from the timid and minor nuisance it is to something portrayed as "a werewolf running round and attacking everybody" as one friend put it. Suddenly, desperate for a bit of fame, people were pulling out stories of foxes being brave and popping their heads in windows and claiming to have been bitten. One story involved a child touching a sleeping fox's tail and a rather irate fox turning round and biting him. What else would happen if you surprise a wild animal and touch it?
Now the fearmongering has taken a more absurd and dangerous turn. A recent article by the very same paper was published attacking the detractors of the story in a vicious manner. The paper had gone out of it's way to hunt down people posting offensive comments on the Internet aimed at the couple (people posting abuse on the Internet? Oh no!), claiming to have smashed their anonymity and casting their own slurs at the posters. The article linked above really is the most terrible and shocking example of journalism I have seen and more in keeping with a personal blog then a professional article in it's tone. The comments system has also been suspiciously docked, with posts supporting the couple rated obscenely high and ones criticising the article and the people involved given a very deep negative rating.
The article also has a go at the job status of the people involved, including criticism of one Internet user who is in the traditional family role of housewife with working husband as an unemployed and lazy individual who is funded by taxpayers for her "vile activities." This is the point where the hyped up reporting on the Hackney attacks has hit rock bottom and become completely unacceptable. Surely the regulators need to step in and find out what is going on and why the story is being permitted to continue to run?
So I'll close the post with the following; I am a well educated professional in full-time work and I think the family are behaving in a disgusting manner by milking the story. Yes, I feel for the Koupparis family as injury to any child can be shocking for the parents, but enough is enough. It is encouraging some terrible events with the mindless slaughter of a native British species and absurd media coverage handled with the finesse of a blunt hammer. It is far from the public interest and frankly enough is enough.
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