Thursday, 21 July 2011

Shoddy Mail Journalism

I have used the title of 'shoddy' journalism for the Mail, as I struggled to think of a more apt word, but I hope you agree that their front page today goes beyond shoddy, and in my eyes should be illegal.

The Mail appears not to have heard of the presumption of 'Innocent until proven guilty'
It may or may not turn out to be the case that this nurse was in fact responsible for the deaths of patients at Stepping Hill hospital. If she did indeed tamper with the saline bags then clearly she is a reprehensible individual who should be dealt with by the full force of the law.

However, she should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and a front page splash like this is no way to treat an innocent individual. If it were to be found that she was in fact innocent, this nurse could well have her career ruined as patients recognise her face as being the one that the Mail claimed was responsible. Social ties that she has made and recently had broken as they peel away in disgust may never be remade.

Whatever the outcome of this, guilty or innocent, this nurse has had her life changed in a major way, and had it changed irreversibly.

It is the exact same kind of disgusting journalism I commented on at the time of the arrest of Chris Jefferies over the murder of Joanna Yeates. He was made to fit the profile of a murderer and so help the tabloids to sell more copies. The exact same thing has happened here, with the Mail releasing information about her personal tastes to give character to the story.

It eventually turned out that Chris Jefferies was innocent, but I suspect his life has never been the same since. Whether this nurse turns out to be guilty or not is irrelevant, it is wholly irresponsible, and if the media won't stop doing it voluntarily, someone should make them.

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