In the meantime, what the Murdoch mafiosi want us all to know is that they take domestic violence very seriously indeed, with Press Gazette relaying their claim that “The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over twenty years. Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the Judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court”.
This sounds highly principled. But, sadly for those on the thirteenth floor of the Baby Shard bunker, the reality is somewhat different. Take this example of victim campaigning from October last year: “A HUSBAND today tearfully revealed he battered his wife to death after she branded him ‘limp and useless’ over his erectile dysfunction”. There was more.
“David Pomphret, 51, told a court ‘I killed the woman I love’ after striking Ann Marie, 49, 30 times over the head with a crowbar at the stables where they kept horses … They had gone to pick up tools to fix the shower at their home but the Barclays bank worker claims his ‘volatile’ wife began ‘ranting’ at him and he ‘snapped’ while holding the crowbar”. The article lets us know his wife “had been diagnosed with an autistic personality disorder”.
But that’s a mere trifle when put alongside this report from the Hacked Off campaign. “Hacked Off and leading advocates for victims of domestic violence have written to Home, Culture and Women & Equalities Secretaries Priti Patel, Oliver Dowden and Elizabeth Truss to demand action from the Government to address unethical and dangerous reporting of domestic abuse through Leveson-style regulation”. Why so?
“The letter follows the front pages of The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers on Friday, which trivialised domestic violence and gave voice to a remorseless abuser. Campaigners have long argued that unethical reporting of domestic abuse puts more women at risk”. Luke and Ryan Hart, signatories to the letter, explained why they were involved.
“In 2016, our father shot and killed our Mum, Claire, and 19-year-old sister, Charlotte, with a shotgun before killing himself, just days after we’d escaped from him following decades of struggle. After the murders, we witnessed a commentary by the public and media that described our father as a ‘nice guy’ who was ‘always caring’ and ‘good at DIY’. One report even stated that the murder of our sister and mother was ‘understandable’”. Do go on.
“In every report, there was speculation that the prospect of divorce ‘drove’ our father to murder. Mum and Charlotte were held accountable for their own murders while our father got all the sympathy - it became very clear to us that our society considers men’s feelings vastly more important than women’s lives”. Add to that the “I slapped JK and I’m not sorry” front page splash about Jo Rowling’s first husband, and you see a pattern emerging.
And that pattern is to milk stories for sales and clicks, whichever side of the argument is taken. The Sun’s principles are a mere chimera. But you knew that anyway.
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