Welcome back, everyone.
Today, we turn our attention to the Daily Mail again. For once, they aren’t focusing on violent films, but violent computer games, after they published this idiotic article earlier this week. I hope you will indulge me, as I digress from talking about extreme cinema, and Thank you for letting me sidestep away from our usual themes and topics.
Regular readers will know of my stance on the Daily Mail. I loathe them, and everyone who works for them, with every fibre of my being. The editor, Paul Dacre, is famous for being an overpaid, foul-mouthed reprobate, who happily labels any staff member who dares to question his decisions, as an explicit four-letter genital expletive, (colloquially known as “C U Next Tuesday”)!
The sheer hypocrisy from this latest “article” is astonishing. Not only is much of the article factually inaccurate, but the very thing they blame as being the root cause of this young man’s death, they are happy to include a trailer for, with a “Not suitable for children” warning, but nothing to stop anyone under the age of 16 from viewing! In essence, what you have is a "This is what we think caused the killing. This is what we at the Daily Mail find disgusting and offensive and want banning immediately. And now, just so you can all be outraged and offended too, here is the video, photo, image of the disgusting and offensive material that you can all view in the comfort of your own home or workplace, and be offended even more! And we'll let anyone of any age view the material, so that even more people can be offended and disgusted too."
Genius! You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!
Like many of you, I have played many of the CALL OF DUTY, CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE, and CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS games. I enjoy them. I relish playing them. I find them to be great stress-relievers. At no point in the past three years or so of owning an XBox 360, (I know, I’m late to the party, so-to-speak!), have I ever felt that I wanted to go out and harm another living being – human, animal, or otherwise, either before, during or after playing these games.
I do not deny that the games are violent. I was unhappy with the rather unashamed brutality that the subject of torture features in BLACK OPS, but that’s just my personal opinion. The torture was fake. No one actually got hurt in the making of the game, and thus, I don’t generally have a problem with 18-year-olds and over, playing it.
But I do have a major problem with the tabloid press, and the way it deals with stories like this. The Press should – in my view only - publish stories that are only newsworthy. That is, stories that are factual, not based on supposition, second-guessing, that can be proven with evidence and statements. I do NOT want to see the Press publishing tittle-tattle, salacious celebrity gossip, who’s wearing what clothing, as news. That is NOT news! It’s prurient junk. If you want to publish such stuff, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t get to call yourself a newspaper if that is the kind of tosh you wish to promote.
Many of you may have recently heard about Prince Harry’s Las Vegas episode, in which he partied with some girls in a hotel room and swimming pool. At that event, he got his kit off, and went 100% commando. The guy’s 27 years old, so this kind of behaviour, is hardly news-worthy. I should imagine, a fair amount of the world’s population of young men, have – at one time or another – acted in such a manner, and regretted doing so. This is not Earth-shattering journalism. It’s not in the public interest at all.
Anyway, as you all probably know, TMZ, a US-based gossip website, published photos of the Prince, sans clothing. In the UK, we are currently awaiting publication of the Leveson Report, about the behaviour of our press and media, as several of them were involved in illegal phone-hacking. (You can read more about it here should you want to find out more.)
After two days, most of the UK press had decided that they would NOT publish the pictures. This was a good thing. The pictures were not news-worthy. The pictures were not justifiable as being news-worthy, nor were the images “in the public interest”, even though some sections of the public were interested.
One paper DID print the images, though it wasn’t the Daily Mail. THE SUN newspaper published the photo. The owner of THE SUN is one Rupert Murdoch. He also owned the NEWS OF THE WORLD before it got closed down, due to the Phone-Hacking Scandal.
Murdoch said that he was publishing the photos, because:
1 - it was necessary to make a point about the lack of "free press" in Britain.
2 – According to a Twitter comment he posted, the "Internet makes mockery of these issues. 1st amendment please."
3 - The Sun's decision to publish was widely seen as a defiant act, coming just 48 hours after Prince Charles's personal solicitors issued a letter to newspapers warning them there was no justification for publication in English law. (That is, the photos were neither news-worthy, nor in the public interest.)
Essentially, Murdoch was sticking two fingers up at the Establishment, after the Establishment hauled him (and his papers) over the coals during the Leveson Enquiry and the Phone-Hacking Scandal. He was, in essence, taking revenge in a stupid tit-for-tat manner.
Unfortunately, the publishing of the images by THE SUN, has spectacularly backfired on Murdoch and the paper. Not only have the Press Complaints Commission received over 850 complaints from the public, about the photos being published, not one person has come out and supported THE SUN for doing what they did. This should not surprise anyone. The British Public is famous. We are famous for being both incredibly supportive of others, but equally, have no problems voicing our displeasure at someone else, especially those in authority, if their behaviour isn't to our liking. (Anyone who saw current Chancellor Of The Exchequer George Osbourne attempt to present a medal to the winner of the Men's T38 400m on Monday night at the London 2012 Paralympics, receiving unanimous "boos" from the crowd - all 80,000 people - due to their displeasure at what they feel is his piss-poor record of running the country's finances, should be ample demonstration of the latter.)
But I digress...
The Press, and more importantly, the Tabloid Press need to understand that the British people are sick of your pathetic games. We are sick of you posting stories on your websites and publishing them in your "newspapers" (and I use that term advisedly) that are - to put it bluntly - utter bullshit.
Every recent mass murderer, from James Holmes (the "Batman Killer" I discussed in my previous blog post), to Anders Behring Brevik (who massacred 69 people on the island of Utoya, in Norway, on the 22nd July 2011), through to the horrible James Bulger murder (in Liverpool, back in February 1993) by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, have had their behaviour labelled as stemming from violent computer games (such as the CALL OF DUTY saga) or violent films (THE DARK KNIGHT, CHILDS PLAY 3, or you can insert the name of any one of a hundred thousand titles, of your own choice), and quite frankly, I'm sick of it.
Not only is this lazy journalism, it's sensationalism, it's false accusations, and it's just plain factually wrong!
I can't think of any recent killer, murderer or rapist, in which there has been any actual hard facts that have conclusively proven, (at least beyond a reasonable doubt, if we are talking legally), that X film or X game has been a definitive cause of their crimes. Even when we look in the history of truly controversial cinema, and we list films like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971, Stanley Kubrick), THE EXORCIST (1973, William Friedkin), STRAW DOGS (1971, Sam Peckinpah), SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM (1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini) as just a few off the top of my head, none have been conclusively proven to have been the cause of any crimes. With that said, it could be argued that when Stanley Kubrick's wife Christine and her daughters were threatened with firebombing of their home, rape, and or violent attack, when A CLOCKWORK ORANGE first came out, that Kubrick himself pulling the film from UK distribution, was merely protecting them in case something stupid or awful happened. But, that was a precaution, and I don't think that an actual crime was ever committed where a Judge or Police Officer had conclusively proved that the crime was the result of someone watching the film.
Yet, still, we see time-and-again, of journalists linking a horrible crime with a violent film or computer game in some aspect. The current 24-hour-old case of the shooting of a British family in Chevaline, near the French Alps, where three people were shot in the head, their car was bullet-riddled, and the two daughters somehow managing to survive the attack, (the seven-year-old is in critical condition, in a coma, whilst the youngest, who is just four, is being looked after by French and British police, until other family can be contacted), hasn't yet been pinned on a violent film or game, but I wouldn't put it past the likes of the Daily Mail or The Sun to concoct a story in the next day or so, finding some tenuously stupid and outrageously slim link to some kind of violent media. They'll probably link this shooting, to a film, that happens to feature a killer in the French Alps, and say that that film was the cause, and it should now be banned, or a link to a scene in one of the CALL OF DUTY games, that just happens to be set in/near the Alps, to be blamed as well.
Because that's what they do all of the time, at the Daily Mail.
Find a link, and publish it as fact.
What a shame that in a country where we have quality newspapers like THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (who exposed the MP's Expenses Scandal, which I've talked about in past blog articles), or THE INDEPENDENT and THE GUARDIAN (who campaigned for a full and transparent investigation into the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, after he was battoned across the back of his legs and then shoved with force by a vengeful police officer at the G20 Protests on the 1st April 2009, and whom subsequently died from the injuries the officer caused), that we have them being published alongside the likes of THE SUN, THE DAILY STAR and THE DAILY MAIL, and all of these are also called "newspapers", who are happy to jump on any self-serving bandwagon at a moment's notice, or will produce fictional articles laying the blame for an event, at completely the wrong door, without a single piece of evidence to back such wild claims up with.