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Thursday 6 June 2013

They’ll Always Have Paris

[Update at end of post]

No, I’m not channelling Casablanca, but observing once again the press pack in rampant pursuit of more cheap shock horror outrage column inches in order to sell more papers and enrich Themselves Personally Now. Nothing, despite the carping of the so-called “Leveson Chill”, is off limits. Under age girls? Check. Potential suicide? Check. Privacy invasion? Check.
All of these strands have come together with the news that the late Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris has – apparently – been whisked to hospital after a suicide attempt, although this is not known for certain. But, as ever, not knowing for certain means the cheaper end of the Fourth Estate must fill the gap with speculation and any other old crap they can lay their hands on.

So the Super Soaraway Currant Bun has led the pack with “‘Suicidal’ Paris Jackson in Marilyn Manson bust-up” (note the S-word is in quotes, just to get over the legal hurdle). And what has Marilyn Manson to do with it? Er, nothing. He was just in the area headlining a concert. But Ms Jackson wanted to go to it, so he gets in on the act, willingly or otherwise.

Rupe’s downmarket troops then swing briefly through allegations of self-harm, overdoses, and suicide notes before we get the full Jacko family history and an intervention from the Sun’s agony aunt, as if the Murdoch press gives a flying foxtrot about any of the slebs or their offspring that they exploit in order to persuade the public to waste their hard earned money on their dubiously sourced product.

Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s dwindling band of hacks at the Express are also working their quote marks on the story, telling “Paris Jackson 'wanted attention' as her suicide attempt is branded as 'a cry for help'”. And what about the PCC code on this kind of thing? Oh, stuff that, the Express ain’t in the PCC any more. And Des has to keep the cash flow up. Priorities, priorities.

But the biscuit is well and truly taken by Mail Online, which has run as many stories as it can muster in pursuit of more hit-bait. For starters, readers get “Paris Jackson rushed to hospital after 'suicide attempt'”. Ho yus. Was there an overdose? Er, possibly. Self-harm? Well, according to an “insider”, which means someone standing within shouting range of the Daily Mail news desk.

Following this comes “Paris Jackson pictured with worrying self-harm scars on her arm weeks before suicide attempt” (cue lots of close-up photos of the 15 year old) and “Paris Jackson 'wanted to be saved'... teenager called suicide helpline before attempt to take her own life”, with the Very Expensive House She Lives In Because She’s A Sleb And Therefore Fair Game. Not much Leveson chilling there.

But lots of reasons to implement Leveson PDQ, so thanks to all concerned.

[UPDATE 9 June 1515 hours: the Mail has been on Paris Jackson's case again, this time about her possibly not returning to the same school because of bullying. Yes, she's still at school. And in the meantime, I've been looking at the PCC Editor's Code Of Practice, to check on what it says about school age children. This does not make good reading for the Mail, whose editor was in charge of writing it.

In Section 6 (Children), it states "A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child's welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents ... editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child's private life".

The only exception to this is that headed Public Interest, which further states "In cases involving children under 16, editors must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interest of the child".

The only "public interest" apparent here is the interest of the Mail in selling more copies of itself to that same public, which isn't really a public interest at all. This is the code that the Mail has claimed to operate within, yet it has clearly breached it openly with its pursuit of Paris Jackson.

So all the more reason to implement the Leveson recommendations, then]

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