Sunday, 11 July 2010

Media Watch: It's not even Raoul Moately interesting

Anyone watching the BBC News 24 and Sky News coverage of the Raoul Moat siege on Friday night/Saturday morning will have been shocked, appalled and, most probably, gripped with morbid fascination.

The behaviour of BBC reporter Jon Sopel was nothing short of scandalous – corralling locals before stealing their mobile phones, imposing on personal conversations and petrifying stranded relatives. Both news services even tried to contrive some sort of “carnival atmosphere” as the essentially bland events unfolded.

Thankfully I didn’t watch much of the coverage, but it wasn’t because my sense of apaul compelled me – it was because nothing was happening. I felt myself willing the reporters to impose more and more. Why can’t you burst through the police cordon and get some decent footage? Why haven’t the residents taken any footage and uploaded it to YouTube? Why hasn’t Sopel wrestled Moat to the ground before turning the gun on the police and then himself?

So who’s to blame for this sick news merry-go-round? It is the 24-hour news broadcasters themselves – forced not just to report the news but to create it? Or is it us, the sick viewing public, that demands this nauseatingly grotesque voyeurism?

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