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I don't know how publicised the case of the release of Jamie Bulgers killers has been in the US, but over the last few weeks it has been extremely big news in the UK.
If you don't know the story, basically 2 10 year old boys abducted a 2 year old boy, and killed him. This happened 8 years ago, and the 2 killers, now aged 18, have just been released and provided with new identities for their own protection.
The following story appeared in the 'News of the World' on Sunday, the biggest selling sunday tabloid in the UK.
Do you feel this is overstepping the mark, and may intice people to hunt down the killer to reap some kind of percieved revenge? Do you feel this kind of sensationalist journalism is justified and in the public interest? Personally I am disgusted at this story, especially after the huge ammounts of violence which followed the 'Name and Shame' campeign the same paper ran last year.
The 'Name and Shame' campeign targetted released paedophiles. They basically posted names and locations of conviced paedophiles who had been released after serving their sentences. The sensationalist manner the stories were written in enticed mobs thousands strong tried to track down and kill the paedophiles, as they believed they were acting in some 'greater good'. Once the mob mentality took over, they would attack anyone they thought could possibly be a paedophile, and any property they thought could possibly belong to a paedophile. Many innocent people were hurt, Many innocent peoples property was destroyed, and the papers continued to publish this information, which further fuelled the mobs.
Although this story differs from the 'Name and Shame' campeign in that the paper is being careful to only publish peoples 'opinions', I fear it will have the same effect.
Do papers have the right to publish this kind of story, basically in the name of profits? Do you think they should be held responsible for any action that is carried out as a reult of this story?
I'm a yank but I was living in Scotland at the time the 'name and shame' thing was going on, and it was just as you said, mob rule and innocent people getting bricks thrown through their window or beaten just because they happened to look similar to a picture of a p(a)edophile published in that newspaper. Of course, an important factor to the vigilante justice was the little girl (Sarah I believe her name was) who was kidnapped and found dead, which kind of aroused passions for that kind of thing. I remember the newspaper came out more shamed than the people who's pictures they posted after all that mess. They also said it's similar to 'Megan's law' in the US, where sex offenders have to post where they live, but I don't think it was, as I can't think of an instance where anyone's been killed or who's property was damaged. But I'd say that the political mentality of the US and UK are a lot different, as are the news sources. I found most British newspapers to be tabloidish (but I did enjoy the Daily Sport...nothing better than boobies in your morning paper) which are more sensational than US papers. There are also many more newspapers in the US and one paper posting something like that wouldn't sweep the nation as much as it would in Britain (it seemed like mostly England). We're only swept by beanie babies and pokemon. Many Americans would just opt for the death penalty for pedophiles, where as the UK has no death penalty.
But anyway, most people agree that news sources, especially TV sources, use shock appeal and sensationalism to sell. It's not really a point of argument, it just is. And there is freedom of press, so they have the right to do it, the only thing that would stop it is a change in the hearts in minds of Americans (and Brits), not just the media. Money corrupts everything. So does Rupert Murdock, who owns 'The Times' in Britain and Fox in the US, two supposed 'unbiased' news outlets.
But if I was Taz, I would just say 'Newspapers are communist rags owned by Russia and China!! Gore is Mao Zedong reincarnated to steal our rice! Castro is the Mayor of Albuquerque! Bleeeeheeheheeheh *drool*
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