Fear. Fear! FEAR! Fear of immigrants. Fear of otherness. Fear of teenagers. Fear of knives. Fear of brown people. Fear of Muslims. Fear of terrorism. Fear of tax. Fear of everything, pretty much.
That's what newspapers dish up on a regular basis. The fear is never questioned. It's not questioned whether the 'liquid bomb' bombs would really have gone off, even though it took expert scientists who make bombs for a living 30 attempts to make them go off - all we see is footage of the one bomb they made go off the most spectacularly, presented as 'what could have happened'. Yes, what could have happened, if lots of variables were changed and lots of things happened which didn't happen, if these people are guilty, if they were there, if they did the things which they're accused of... if if if... but newspapers need to change ifs to definites. What's the point of concocting a smell of fear if you're not going to go the whole hog? There's money in fear. There's money in scaremongering. There's money in lies. And if it isn't a true representation of what's really going on, so what? Is it the job of journalism to present the truth, or a fabricated version of the truth to scare the shit out of you?
Maybe we should just regard newspapers and their attendant websites as rollercoasters - there to scare you, to create a false sense of fear, maybe even give you some strange kind of a thrill, and then you leave them behind, buy a nasty hot-dog and go on the dodgems. I don't know. But the days of accurate reporting, intelligent comment and a true representation of facts are gone. Dead and buried. There's no point in bothering with any of that, or hankering for it to return. It is never coming back. It's sad, but that's that.
More fear today in the form of violent crime - which is going down if you believe the statistics, but going up if you believe nutcases on messageboards who say that cities are becoming no-go areas and we're all going to be stabbed in our beds by hoodies and eek, they've got more human rights than us, and so on, and so on, and so bloody on and on and on, the useless ignorant pricks.
I want to have a look, though, at a particular article in my paper of choice, the Mail, which shows a few interesting things. It's this one here, about a man who was stabbed to death in Oxford Street.
Man stabbed to death in Oxford Street was on bail for horrific acid gang rape
Two things going on here. 1. Imply that he did it, without explicitly saying so. 2. He's dead, so we can say what we like! Two things that should tell you whether the Mail is a newspaper or a fearmongering piece of shit. Yes, you can't libel the dead, but it is an attitude that is contemptuous of human beings if you use that piece of legal knowledge to deliberately attack someone who has not been convicted of a crime. That is a disgrace to journalism.
The man stabbed to death in front of shoppers in Oxford Street was on bail for a gang rape and another stabbing, it was revealed today.
Steven Bigby, 22, had been charged with raping a 16-year-old girl who had caustic soda poured over her body to destroy DNA evidence.
So that's charged with a crime. Not convicted of a crime. Except... he's dead, so we can say what we like! Hooray!
The Mail handily print a picture of Bigby dying on the pavement. Aww, that's nice for his family and friends. Is it all right because he was charged with an offence but not convicted of it? Does that mean we can just use photos of dying people? Is the Daily Mail trying to be NothingToxic, ramping up the website clicks with a bit of snuff? Since when was it all right to use pictures of a dying man? We don't use it for images of Afghanistan, Iraq or any other conflict, especially when it's photos of 'our boys', when perhaps there might be the justification of showing the horrors of war. Yet when it's some bloke in the street - might it be going too far to mention his colour at this point? - then it doesn't matter, that's fair game. Since when did newspapers do this, thinking it was all right? I'm not for censorship of graphic material if its use is justified, but I really don't think it is here. What is the point of showing a man dying? Just because you can? Just because you think other people will?
On plods the Hate:
Detectives say they believe the attack in Oxford Street was a "spontaneous" incident sparked after Bigby threw a cup of water over four men outside the McDonald's. However, they are also investigating the possibility that he was targeted by a rival gang in retaliation for the rape or the gang attack.
The rape for which he wasn't tried or convicted, do you mean? The attack for which he hadn't been tried or convicted?
I must go off at a tangent for a moment, because here comes a beautiful piece of jargon that only a police officer would ever come out with:
He added: "At the moment we understand four men were walking up and down Oxford Street during the afternoon, they were described as promenading.
Promenading?! Ha ha! What, like Robert de Saint-Loup in Balbec? What the fuck does that mean?
Anyway, here come the Mail readers.
Why was this vermin on bail? Gang rape - they thought the girl was going to die. It just gets worse. Now, targeted stop and search over the next year, not just for a few days. And what are they going to do when they find a knife? Release the vermin on bail? Find a knife should mean jail.
- Laura Roberts, London, UK
Hello Laura. Hi. You do realise, don't you, that this man hadn't been convicted, don't you? You do understand, don't you, that sometimes people are released on bail before they go on trial? You do know, don't you, the difference between being charged with something and being convicted of it? Do you? No, probably not. But I'm bound to be sitting on a fucking jury with you one day, aren't I, while you fail to get into your thick fucking head any concept of the judicial process. I'm sure you'd like to see all 'vermin' locked up for crimes they haven't been convicted of. If the coppers said they did it, THEY MUST HAVE DONE IT!
And, 'targeted stop and search'. Hmm. Am I wrong Laura - and please tell me I am if I am - that you're suggesting stopping and searching people of a particular ethnic background? Is that wrong, or am I reading something in your words that isn't there? But then how can we 'target' a stop and search? Don't you realise it's already targeted - at black people?
If the prisons are all full, then why not make those awaiting bail help to build another one? When will the Government see that Britain has become a very unsafe place to live and zero tolerance is the only way forward.
- Brian Hubbard, San Javier, Spain
*sigh* look Brian, I'm sure you're a decent cove. But that would cost millions and millions and millions of pounds. Where would the land be found? Where would the prisoners stay? How would they be supervised, and by whom? And guess who's paying - you are! Except you're not, because you're in Spain. But the British taxpayer would be.
As expected, this was not a random killing with no motive! When people feel that the legal system is letting them down and releasing criminals. It is not unexpected that they will take the law into their hands.
- Ludwik, Leeds, UK
What's the evidence for that, Ludwik? Or shall we all just jump to fucking conclusions all the time?
If it turns out this was a revenge killing, then the courts and the current judicial have only themselves to blame. If they aren't prepared to punish people for heinous crimes, then it's only a matter of time before people start to take the law into their own hands.
- Helana, London
OK. One more time. Are you reading, Helana? Have a look at the words I'm going to write. Have a look and see what they say. HE WAS AWAITING TRIAL. HE WAS GOING ON TRIAL. HE WAS GOING TO BE TRIED. HE HADN'T BEEN CONVICTED OF THESE OFFENCES. BECAUSE THE TRIAL HADN'T STARTED. BECAUSE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, SO MANY FUCKING PEOPLE COME BEFORE THE COURTS NOWADAYS, AND SO MANY PEOPLE GET PUT INTO JAIL, DESPITE WHAT CUNTS LIKE YOU THINK, THAT THERE AREN'T THE RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH IT. There, I hope that's cleared things up a wee bit.
I'm not saying it's right but he had a past which probably warranted his end. I'm sure the girl who he raped won't be sending flowers to his funeral.
- Glenn Woolley, Newark,UK
Fucking hell, I give up. So 'charged=convicted' for Mail readers like Glenn. If you're charged with something, that means you did it. I fucking give up. The wilful ignorance, the brainlessness, the madness, the insanity, it just builds and builds. It all comes from the fear, carefully generated for maximum impact by the newspapers, who refuse to acknowledge the rarity of crime in this country and concentrate on 'another example of violent Britain', not because it's necessarily true but because it fits in with their political and other prejudices, their narrative of Jock McBottler = responsible for every single problem ever.
So if anyone gets charged with this, that means they must have done it, doesn't it? Why bother with the annoying formalities of a trial, then? Let's just put the gallows up in Oxford Street and execute the nearest people we can find. As soon as they're charged, they're clearly guilty, and that 'zero tolerance' will sort every single bloody problem in the world out, won't it.
Fucking hell. There are some seriously stupid people in the world.
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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