After the Manchester bombing, with the sad inevitability of night following day, has come the continuing spectre of press intrusion, the grotesque invasion into the privacy of grieving families, relatives and friends by the Fourth Estate, newly emboldened in their plumbing of even greater depths by the knowledge that they have Theresa May in their pocket and can carry on behaving as they like.
Who f***ing says we're intrusive, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
And at the head of those intruding on families’ grief have been the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker at the Mail titles, and most notoriously Mail Online, who want Facebook subjected to the harshest of sanctions, while protesting long and loud that they are part of our free and fearless press, and can please themselves.
The moment of truth for all those who thought press intrusion was just a ruse cooked up by the folks at Hacked Off came just before 1025 hours today when the Daily Mail Twitter feed told its followers “First aider reveals eight-year-old terror victim cried out for her mother in her final moments … SAFFIE’S FINAL MOMENTS”. The reaction was immediate.
“You utter slime bags give proper decent journalists a bad name. Congratulations on plumbing new depths … Disgusting … not OK to publish this information … Delete this … You have no shame? No dignity? The question is rhetorical … Piss poor journalism and you know it is, this has to be deleted … shame on you”.
There was more, and remember, these are people who consciously follow the Mail’s Twitter account. “Of course she cried out for her mother - she was 8, terrified and dying … Imagine the grief for her family … The Daily Mail are disgusting … Shame on you, you sick, sick people … Have some decency and respect … Somebody’s dying words should be private … You are a repulsive disgrace … why would you even print this”.
The condemnation was unceasing: “How low can you sink? Shame on you … This is disgraceful … Take this down … Do we need to know this? This was an 8 year old kid. For goodness sake, remove this story … This is not news, this is the opposite of journalism … Please take this down. Show some respect for the child and consideration for her friends and family. Journalism at its worst”. There was much more in this vein.
The Mail did, eventually, take the Tweet down. But the story is still up - this typed at 1200 hours today - at Mail Online. One wonders if the first responder whose testimony the Mail has used actually knew who he was talking to, and to what use it would be put. But once again, as has been warned so many times in the past, by press campaigners and groups like Hacked Off, the press behaves like this - because they can.
Unless the family of this unfortunate little girl complain to sham press regulator IPSO, the Mail will not even bother to apologise. Even then, because they took the Tweet down, there will most likely not even be a rap on the knuckles. And this is the kind of behaviour that Theresa May and her party is happy to see continue.
This is the kind of Strength and Stability voters are being sold - the kind that screws over the little people in order to score more sales and clicks. You have been warned.