So much, so grim, but today has brought the reporting of the tragedy, and while some papers have shown restraint - the Express and Guardian used the same still photo of Ward and Ms Parker, for instance - others have succumbed to the temptation to use the story to flog a few more copies. The Mirror, showing a horrified Ms Parker, is typical (the Mail also used that same image). And then there was the Sun.
The Murdoch tabloids have, shall we say, form for using death porn as a way of boosting sales, as New Yorkers know all too well. The New York Post, back in 2012, was roundly condemned for splashing on a photo showing a Subway train bearing down on a man who had been pushed off the platform. “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die … DOOMED” was the headline. Yes, Rupe’s downmarket troops have previous.
So it was with the Sun, with the photo not only showing the murder weapon being pointed at Ms Parker, but the muzzle flash, just to make sure readers knew what was going on. That much was bad enough, but, as Nick Sutton warned prospective purchasers, “If you think the front page is shocking - inside tomorrow's Sun are five more photos taken from the gunman's video”. And, as the man said, there’s more.
Look again at the front page: at the lower left of the page, readers are told “Watch the chilling video at thesun.co.uk”. Yeah, buy our paper and you can watch two members of our own profession getting executed! Well, we all get our jollies somehow, I suppose, but that has to have crossed the decency line. It easily beats the Reeva Steenkamp front page, with its “Look, she’s hot … and she’s dead” message.
So where is the Sun’s PR and spin counter-initiative this morning? Seemingly, it isn’t. Both managing editor Stig Abell, the agreeable and highly intelligent public face of the Murdoch rabble, and his far less agreeable PR man Dylan Sharpe, have been keeping their heads down. So that means they’re not going to say sorry, and unless a relative of the deceased complains, sham press regulator IPSO won’t do anything about it.
The Murdoch press is so sick that it doesn’t even care for the dignity of its own profession. Worse, it’s prepared to take punters’ money in exchange for a sight of those two journalists being shot dead. The staff at WDBJ7 and the families of the dead have experienced a traumatic and harrowing loss, but meanwhile, other people calling themselves journalists are just happy to sit there and watch the money roll in.