One thing I love - well, I say 'love' but I mean 'feel a bit of sick in my mouth' - about the way the Mail covers stories is the way it gently pushes its readers into the desired pigpen, even if it doesn't do it itself. Today's story about a tragic accident that killed a child is a perfect example.
The story is this: a buggy with children in it rolled down a slope, and one of the children drowned. At first, most media outlets, including the Mail, were sympathetic and restrained about the people involved - perhaps because of the reason that a child had just died and that was quite a bad thing to happen.
But fear not. A few days have passed so it's time to put the boot in all the way up to the laces.
Father of toddler who drowned in sea 'let go of buggy handles to kiss mistress'
You can almost smell the disapproval searing through the words. If he hadn't been doing that, then the child would have lived! It's all his fault! He was a shit parent! That's the implication:
The father of a two-year-old girl who drowned after her pushchair rolled into the sea is said to have let go of the handles to kiss his mistress.
Andrew Hopper has admitted he was with his lover when the tragic accident took place.
A gust of wind blew Rebecca Hopper and her eight-month-old brother Lewis into the sea as their father embraced his female companion, believed to be a work colleague.
The pair had been strapped into a double buggy when Mr Hopper let go for a matter of seconds.
So it was a gust of wind, not the evilness of lust and depravity, that really cost the child its life. And the thing about 'mistress'... are the couple together or are they separated? It's not made clear in the story - not that it's anyone's bloody business except theirs, obviously; it's just that once again, the implication is that the husband was playing away behind his wife's back and had even brought the kids along to a romantic tryst with her. But that may not be the case at all. This couple may be separated and she may simply be his new partner. Describing the woman concerned as a 'mistress' puts a whole different slant on things, doesn't it?
There is no mention of an eyewitness, no corroboration for this allegation about the kiss. Nothing is said at all. No-one is quoted. This could be because (a) it's lifted from another news source or (b) they couldn't give a shit about whether this really did happen or not. I'm guessing the former but I won't rule out the latter.
I'm not so sure that the death of a small child is really the kind of story where the Brains Trust of Daily Mail commenters should be allowed to spray around their views like a garden sprinkler full of liquid shite, but there you go. They clearly feel more confident in their readers than I do. Let's see what kind of wise words these readers come up with, given that no witness is quoted, this story isn't verified, and the family situation hasn't been made clear:
An accident for sure. Plain and simple. I feel for him. But he perhaps shouldn't have been smooching the mistress and been with the wife?
- Dee Miller
Perhaps they were separated? Perhaps you could think about things before you jump to conclusions?
That man should be totally disgusted with himself. What sort of woman goes for a little stroll with someone else's husband and babies!!!! I hope the feel guilty for the rest of their lives, they deserve nothing but pain, how tragic that two little children had to become so tragically involved with the sick games of adults. If I were the babies Mother I would seriously look at whether that man is fit to see poor baby Lewis.
- Kathryn, Shrivenham,
Yes, let's not bother with waiting to see what the facts of this case really are - we've been told to knee this grieving parent in the nuts, so let's just do it. He clearly deserves 'nothing but pain'. There really are some vicious people in the world, aren't there? Let's remind you once again: this was a tragic accident; we don't know the family situation; no witness is quoted in the story; we don't know what happened. But fuck all that:
A tragic accident yes, caused by the stupidity of a man who's brain was quite clearly in his trousers! What a selfish man to have taken his 2 babies along to a date with his mistress, that poor girl would have been old enough to understand the woman he was kissing was not her mummy!! And what of the woman? What kind of woman chases a man who is married with a young family? The term "homewrecker" could not be more fitting if not an understatement!! Selfish selfish people!!!
- Jo, kent,
Because when you have an affair with someone (and we don't even know that's the case in this particular instance) that means you're recklessly endangering your children. That's quite obvious, isn't it?
I suspect (though I'm not sure) that this nonsensical comment might be a spoof:
This makes me sick.
If he had let go of the handles to kiss his wife, that little angel might still be alive today.
- Jonny, glasgow,
Hmm not sure. Anyway, here's someone making a fairly valid point, in my opinion:
Kick a man while he's down - you make it sound like he did it on puropse? He was having an affair, so what? It could just as easily have happened had he ben kissing the woman he was married to. It was an ACCIDENT, very tragic but still, an accident.
- Sarah, Surrey, 18/2/2009 13:00
Oh here we go again - are you people so morally superior that you can sit in judgement on this poor family. That so called "pig" is going to have to live with this for rest of his life, surely punishment enough without being judged.
You`ve no need to call him names, I`m sure that nothing you can think of will be any worse than what he`s calling himself.
Pity his poor wife - of course - but remember that he`s human, unlike you people who obviously believe that you`re Gods.
- julie harte
And my favourite:
Not one person wildly speculating here can say, hand on heart, that they know the true facts of this dreadful tragedy.
Please, have some compassion and - for once - stop judging. Unless you know the exact circumstances it would be both wise and humane to refrain from posting such vitriolic messages.
In the middle of this story a family is grieving. They certainly don't need strangers gossiping, blaming and second guessing.
Jules in Norwich - you sound almost gleeful. Shame on you all.
- Louise, London, 18/2/2009 11:55
It's a fairly pointless discussion, though. What have we learned? That some idiots are quick to judge, quick to pile in with anger and froth when they don't know the facts, and when newspapers shepherd them towards certain conclusions. It just seems a bit distasteful when there's a dead child in the equation, that's all.
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