As some Zelo Street regulars will know, I am no stranger to the watering holes of the City of Chester. But Rosies Nightclub on Northgate Street is not on my radar (on the other hand, the Pied Bull Inn, further up the same street on the other side, certainly is). Nor is it frequented by Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, despite featuring on today’s front page.
“Towering Stupidity” thunders the headline, after someone at the Sun trawled social media sites, found that two students at the University of Chester had posted photos of going to Rosies dressed as the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center, entering a competition which they won, and then lifting the content and rebranding it as a “Sun Exclusive”. Ker-ching!
That the students involved are 19 year old women, one of whom has an apparently ample amount of what Pete and Dud would have called “busty substances”, would no doubt not have influenced the Murdoch hackery in the least (Oh yes it would – Ed). So this morning, Amber Langford and Annie Collinge find themselves the subject of tabloid vilification.
Now, there are good arguments for not using an event that killed around three thousand people as a vehicle for winning a £150 “best dressed” award. But equally there are counter arguments against intrusive poring over of social media in order to generate free copy and whip up outrage against two teenagers, much of it by intruding on those who lost family and friends on 9/11.
And yes, there is once again that salutary warning to anyone posting anything to any publicly viewable site: such is the pressure on journalists nowadays that, had the Sun not gone in with both feet, the Mail or Express would have been there in its place. But when it comes to the question of who has caused the most damage, I have to tell the Murdoch hacks that it ain’t the two students.
Ms Langford and Ms Collinge did something silly. But, guess what, judgmental hacks and pundits, they’re only 19 years old. Teenagers do daft things. Part of this is because they’re teenagers (see also the Mail On Sunday’s vicious luring of the unfortunate Paris Brown). The only reason for the outrage is that the Sun, followed by other parts of the Fourth Estate, have generated it themselves.
That’s not to say the press should not be free to report what it likes, when it likes. This is all part of having a free press. But when it comes to pinning the blame for the whole saga on someone, the Murdoch hacks and all the others who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet must shoulder the most part of it. They are, after all, the only ones exploiting it for significant commercial gain.
What you will not read in any of those papers today. No change there, then.