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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 

Scum-watch: "They must have deserved it".

The Sun, still amazed that anyone could possibly find Raoul Moat worthy of sympathy, dedicates most of its leader column to contrasting the funerals of Moat and Alex Higgins. Higgins, in case you couldn't guess, is a hero, whilst Moat is a zero. The paper intones:

Moat was only a hero to anti-police ghouls. The fact people travelled miles to display admiration shows how damaged Britain has become.

One woman dragged her three teenage sons from Surrey on the overnight bus. She thinks Moat is a hero. She "absolutely loved him".

To the innocents injured and killed she said: "Fair enough, people died. But they must have deserved it."

The leader writer has a point. Why bother travelling miles to display admiration or declare that people who were killed must have deserved it when you can do the latter on the paper's website? For reasons known only to themselves, the paper has left the comment section open on the article detailing the death in prison of Robert Coello, who was serving a life term for raping a child. The responses are wholly predictable:

why waste 7 1/2 hours of nhs time and resorces?...sounded like the guy was sub-human any way. they should have taken him to a vet and had him put down

There are, it must be said, some noble individuals going against the grain:

whilst he was vile, i don't believe anyone should take the law into their own hands. it makes that person as sick as the offender, despite the fact that this coello clearly deserved it

Well, clearly. To be fair, there are two others in the thread who demur from open celebration at the taking of Coello's life, but they're most certainly in the minority.

While hinting at it, the Sun's article doesn't explain how Grendon is different to other prisons, only noting it "offers unique therapeutic care for warped offenders who are required to express a genuine desire to change and stay drug free". The BBC steps into the breach:

If a prisoner is identified as a potential candidate for the treatment available at Grendon, staff assemble probation and psychiatric reports and intelligence from the prison service's offender assessment system. The prison's head of psychology decides which prisoners are appropriate to be admitted.

Once admitted, inmates are subject to three months of initial assessments before being allocated to one of five wings, each of which operates as an autonomous "therapeutic community".

These details might have softened the feelings expressed by some in the Sun's comment section, although probably not all of them.

In any case, this is hardly the first time the paper has "forgot" to close the comment section when reporting on the suspicious death of a convicted sex offender: it left them open when Gordon Boon was killed, subsequently it turned out by a fellow con and not by a vigilante, and also when Andy Cunningham was murdered, both with the same gleeful end result. Boon's son made the obvious point when appealing for information about his father's death:

"Even if you can't forgive him, please remember what we are going through," he said. "We can't ignore what he's done, but nobody deserves to be murdered."

Coello almost certainly has relatives and friends out there now in the same situation, who loathed his crime but still loved him as a family member or former companion. Seeing comments openly welcoming his death and lauding his murderer, even if they might have expected as much, is far beneath what a newspaper should ever consider publishing, regardless of how it comes to appear on their site. For a paper so disgusted and outraged that anyone could ever feel sympathy for or think a murderer should be celebrated as a hero, it's strange that it seems to think it's perfectly acceptable when the victim is also a criminal.

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I have nothing much to say on Moat I did not know him or his problems, so what ever I say will, be meaningless.

But I do know about the media, not to long ago the BBC phone me to ask what I thought about welfare reforms under labour and what I thought about it under the Tories.

I get asked often, so I say well working as a disabled person I'd love to return to work, sadly it's finding the right type of work, and they say yes but you must be annoyed your being forced, and you say well know not really I do not mind having a real job.

Then you see the program or the interview, and you know what type of person they were looking for.

Young man comes on TV and says why should I work, clears his throat spits on floor, says F*cking hell(Bleep) why should I work I've a disability mate, my finger nail was broken badly, I cannot work now piss off I'm late for the pub.

The fact is the media will always want to look for the person who comments will get a reaction make people comment or meet what the media like the sun and BBC want to hear.

I've done three programs about disability, I've been with people and you sit back and think to your self, his education is zero, he is from the lowest and I mean the lowest education field in society, he is picking his nose, and obviously he has no disability, they ask me one question, they ask him about ten because he is the one who is getting the response the media want.

When it eventually emerges that the 25 year old lifer, who killed the paedophile in Grendon, is also a sex offender I wonder what all those people will say who wrote comments of praise in such as Sky News and the Sun comments pages?

Good article.

This witch hunt for child molesters/paedophiles has to end. It's worrying to live in a society where people hold the opinions of the Sun's commentators.

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