Saturday, 1 January 2011

The tabloids get the suspect they wanted

The disappearance and murder of landscape architect Joanna Yeates has been front page news for the last couple of weeks in the UK. Just a few days ago, her landlord was arrested on suspicion of her murder ( he's now been released on bail, I've just read.)

Of course, the fact that he's a little eccentric to say the least has delighted our tabloid press. The Sun has jumped in with both feet as usual, digging up as much dirt as has been possible in the short space of time available to them.

It occurs to me that this is exactly the suspect papers like the Sun and the Mail could have wanted. An oddball older man, with a surfeit of apparently strange stories around him - it's easy to paint the picture of a murderer with such a helpful canvas.

In such a context, I admire the bravery of Yeates' family and partner, in releasing the statement that they have today. Apart from the obvious sorrow they are feeling, they managed to spare a thought for Chris Jefferies as well.

"Jo's life was cut short tragically but the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet innocent men has been shameful.
"It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British Press and those that spend their time fixed to the internet in this modern age.

David Walton makes the case for the anonymity of suspects as eloquently as ever, but I feel that the rush to blame someone, anyone, for a tragedy like this, and the tabloid hysteria that rises like scum to the surface at every opportunity, means there's little chance of that ever happening. The media frenzy needs feeding, and Jefferies, who may or may not be innocent, is easy prey.

Hopefully, for the sake of all involved, the whole affair will come to a swift resolution.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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