The excuse so often advanced by the press when asked why they are once again serving up a diet of Wayward Sleb Shock Horror stories – apart from falling back on the tired but reliable “it must be what our readers want because they keep on buying our paper” – is that there is a public interest justification. The public need to know, it will somehow benefit them, is the ultimate get-out clause.
Peaches Geldof enjoying a happy moment. Unlike Katie
Well, with the latest ghoulish expose to be splashed across the front page of all the red-tops, and well-represented elsewhere, the Fourth Estate is going to have a problem: there are some stories where we don’t need to know, and the fallout from the untimely death of Peaches Geldof is one of them. That has not dissuaded the tabs: one jumps, and the others feel obliged to follow.
And the one jumping first was, to no surprise at all, the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, telling readers “Peaches’ Heroin Secrets ... Overdose 10 times bigger than Paula’s ... Baby was in house with body for 17 hours ... She lied over habit and hid stash in loft”. How much of that do we need to know? None.
So there is no excuse for the Mirror, which follows obediently after its right-leaning rival with “Tragic Star’s Drugs Hell ... Peaches’ baby alone with body for 17 hours ... Horror of heroin addict’s last day ... Fatal dose hidden in sweet box”. It’s only fatal if you administer it, not knowing what’s in the deal.
That leaves the Daily Star, which, given Dirty Des’ latest staff cuts, won’t be offering anything original. And so it came to pass, with “Peaches hid her heroin in a sweetie box ... like mum who kept drugs in Smarties tube”. Did Paula Yates do that? What the hell, she’s dead and so there won’t be any blowback.
The Desmond cost-cutting extends to the Express, so to back up another of those cruel hoaxes on older readers – “Single Jab To Fight Arthritis” – readers are treated to “Peaches: Heroin kept in sweetie box”. Same wording as the Daily Star? So Des’ remaining hacks are saving on manpower already.
And no Daily Mail reader should feel left out: despite not making the front page, there is an article going into a not-really-necessary level of detail. The headline, “Peaches' heroin overdose was 10 times bigger than the one that killed her mother Paula: Baby son was alone with the body for 17 hours, inquest is told” tells you more than you need to know.
Someone who was occasionally on telly has died prematurely, and there has been an inquest into their death. It’s not news. They already reported on the death. And there is a family that might benefit from a little peace and quiet. This coverage has no public interest: it is just another shameless excuse to flog more copies.
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