Just a quickie, as I have just come away from watching the News at Ten ...
There are a couple of stories tonight that have caught the attention of Mrs Vern Acular and me - not because of the content, but because of the delivery. The first is the terrible waste of human life in the west of Cumbria at the hands of Derrick Bird; the second is a report of an explosion in Kandahar where thirty-nine people were killed (they were all guests at a wedding). Both are terrible events, and both tell us much about the poverty of human nature at times.
But it is not about that stories themselves that I am annoyed - it is the style of media coverage. In the case of the story in Cumbria, we had prolonged film highlights of people observing a minutes' silence. In the case of the Afghan terrorist act, we were offered the ten-to-fifteen-second clip of a man alone in a street, crouched to his knees, sobbing.
I know what a silence looks like, and I can imagine a little of the grief of one who has lost a loved one to terrorism. What I am begining to resent is becoming a passive voyeur into intimate moments of people's worst nightmares. To tell you the truth, I am going to start voting with my feet and turn off the goggle-box!
When a camera crew sees a man in a state of near hysterical convulsing sobs, where is their humanity? Why would any decent person flick on the green button and press the red, focus and remain their filming? - console the man, or failing that, preserve his privacy and dignity - not bloody film him weeping.
But let us not blame the media types - after all, they are only meeting a market need. We watch so they film. Shame on us.