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    Thursday, 12 July 2007

    Journalists behaving badly

    On the day after Sir Christopher Meyer emphasised that journalistic lapses are inevitable, there is much in the newspapers on press and media types behaving badly. First off, the BBC has had to apologise to the Queen on account of its misrepresentation of an episode during the Queen's recent tour of the US (1,2). While shooting the Queen in formal garb, the photographer Annie Leibovitz suggested that she removed her crown for a 'less dressy' picture. A trailer for a BBC documentary on the Queen's year was cut in such a way as to imply that the Queen had then stormed out of the shoot. This didn't happen, but the Queen's face - stilled on the Guardian website - nonetheless tells a story in itself. No sign yet of an equivalent apology from the Guardian for its description of the episode as "a very royal flounce".

    Next up, a US female television journalist - who was caught on video wearing a swimsuit at the home of a man whose wife disappeared two months ago, a story she had been assigned to cover - has described the episode as a 'horrible mistake' (1). She maintains that she had been taking her children out for a swim when she got a call from the man's sister, and chose to kill two birds with one stone (the latter being the hope of becoming friendly with the family in order to get to the bottom of the story). She insists that it was wrong for competiting stations to insinuate some form of relationship. She doesn't seem to concern herself, however, over the implicit intention to engage in emotional manipulation of her subjects.

    Finally, a paparazzi photographer has been convicted of assaulting Heather Mills Macartney by grabbing her shoulder in order to twist her around for a better shot. I confess that when I first read this story I dismissed it as a fantasy on the part of Ms Mills, given that her own father is alleged to have described her as being a stranger to the truth. Clearly, I was wrong. The Guardian informs us that the defendant possessed 132 prior convictions for dishonesty - so Mills was trumped and thumped ...


    Anonymous said...

    Amy Jacobson, the TV reporter, obviously hadn't read Janet Malcolm's exploration of journalism's moral boundaries, The Journalist and The Murderer.

    Anonymous said...

    The pap involved in the Heather Mills Macartney incident was subsequently sentenced to community service - see:

    Photographer sentenced for Mills McCartney assault