Did media ‘help pull the trigger’?

The values of 24 hour rolling news are being questioned after the hunt for Raoul Moat came to its tumultuous conclusion on Sunday.

“I think I am probably the only person in the UK who has watched their brother die on television,” said Angus Moat, brother of Raoul after news channels carried constant live footage of the six-hour stand-off that preceded Raoul’s death.

They’re working up to what could be a public execution in modern Britain of my little brother,” Angus said of live news channels in the Daily Telegraph.

During the eight days it took forces to find Raoul, Northumbria police issued the media with a blackout after he threatened to kill members of the public if “false reporting” about his personal life persisted.

The Independent’s Johann Hari asked whether the media “helped pull the trigger”.

“Journalists are warned by psychologists that, if we are not very careful in our reporting, we will spur copycat attacks by more mentally ill people,” Hari said.

He cites work by American psychologist Dr Park Dietz, who suggests “​s​a​t​u​r​a​t​i​o​n​-​l​e​v​e​l news coverage of mass murder causes, on average, one more mass murder in the next two weeks”.

Questioning the morals of journalists in what they choose to report, Hari claims that the media is making a cold calculation – “that flashier front pages and extra revenue in a slow summer is more important to the press than saving innocent lives”.

(Sources: Telegraph, Independent)





“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”

Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.

(Source: POLIS)


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