Some media outlets tried a little too hard to exploit Robin Williams’ unexpected death, and two of those have come badly unstuck as a result. One – to no surprise at all – is the shower that is Mail Online, where a lame attempt has been made to kick the hated BBC, because their story on Williams’ death appeared on a “most popular” list next to one about the late Jimmy Savile.
So the usual level of Northcliffe House desperation, then: the Mail found just one Tweet connecting the two. Rather more serious – and Mail Online was so keen to kick the Beeb that they missed it – was Sky News (“first for breaking wind”), where someone had dug out a film clip of Williams talking about suicide and unwisely included it in a news report. As of 1700 hours it is still there on YouTube.
And, just to show the revulsion, Zelo Street has more than just the one Tweet. “Sky news showing a clip from a recent film where Robin Williams looks at [the] camera and talks about suicide. Poor Taste” was followed by “Sky News currently airing the most inappropriate tribute clip to Robin Williams”. There was more. Much more.
“Sky News showing a clip of Robin Williams in World’s Greatest Dad saying that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. V v sad” posted one user. “Sky news have just shown a clip from World’s Greatest Dad where Robin Williams’ character discusses suicide and depression” observed another.
“Sky News why did you show such a poignant clip of Robin Williams in World’s Greatest Dad where he says suicide is a long term solution #sick” asked Mick Thompson. Katie agreed: “Sky News are playing the clip from World’s Greatest Dad where he talks about suicide being a permanent solution, bit inappropriate”.
Matt Mansfield observed “Sky News just showed a clip of Robin Williams talking about suicide in World’s Greatest Dad twice in a row like they were proud they found it”. Tom Byrne told that “Can’t believe Sky News have taken the clip of Robin Williams from World’s Greatest Dad addressing suicide. Totally inappropriate”.
Jonathan Kershaw was equally unimpressed: “Sky News don’t think that was the best clip to show of Robin Williams from World’s Greatest Dad!” Rob Taylor mused “Hmm, Sky News playing Robin Williams clip from World’s Greatest Dad talking about suicide and depression. Imagine tasking someone to find that”. Quite.
Sky News made a real and serious gaffe, unlike the Beeb, whose only mistake was to have Mail Online watching. But Sky got let off. Until now. Say sorry, Sky News.
I don't normally find much to disagree with on your excellent blog, but I think that Sky News used the clip very well. They walked you through a summary of his career, coming to his current problems at the end of the report. The clip used is a heartfelt plea from the heart NOT to commit suicide.
I have suffered from depression and at its blackest you only want to escape the pain and suicide does seem like the answer as you can't see things ever getting better. But, as Robin states, suicide is something you can never come back from, but you WILL come through depression with the right help.
I can only speak for myself, but even when I was hurting the most the full quote used, "permanent solution to a temporary problem", would not have encouraged me to go through with it.
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