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Why do The Sun think it's OK to print horrific details on the front page of their newspaper?

(15 Posts)
glasjam Fri 04-Sep-09 13:39:45

I have deliberately been avoiding the details of the recent case concerning the two young boys who horrifically assaulted two children. I think it's enough to know that they did something despicable and that they have been to court and I am interested in the debate about what could possibly be done to have prevented this (if anything).

So I was pissed off to say the least when I was confronted with a hideously detailed headline on The Sun in my local petrol station. How can they justify putting such detail on the front page? I managed to stop myself reading it all but not before I had instantly absorbed a few details that I wish weren't in my head right now. I'm thinking of all the millions of people who are reading those headlines - do you think we are better off for being informed of these details? Does it do any good? Is it right to deny people the right to NOT be informed of all the detail of the horrific things that happened? I feel as though my choice was taken away from me.

PeedOffWithNits Fri 04-Sep-09 13:46:06

shocking headlines sells papers, plain and simple, that is why they do it

it has nothing to do with them beleiving we have a right to know the details!

and I agree BTW, many a time i have been asked difficult Qs by my kids about stuff they have seen on billboards and front pages

serajen Fri 04-Sep-09 14:21:18

The media rules in current society, look at all the shallow 'celebrities' (what a stupid word) whose lifeblood is media-related, take that away and they wouldn't exist. Sad, sad state of affairs, in all respects

thedollshouse Fri 04-Sep-09 14:25:09

It isn't just The Sun. I buy The Times and all the gruesome details were on their front page too.

Bigboots Fri 04-Sep-09 14:28:29

I find the constant recapping of headlines on the radio equally tricky with my DSs. Especially when it's a subject, like this, that you'd rather they didn't know about. What's wrong with simple hourly bulletins anyway? angry

glasjam Fri 04-Sep-09 14:39:32

I didn't see the Times and I understand that they may have had the details in the body of the text on the front page and I have got very good at scanning paragraphs and missing the bits I know I don't want to read - but this was in BIG BIG letters that were visible from a couple of feet away. Shocking headlines I know sell papers but this barely qualified for being headlines - it was just Big text.

I am sure the Sun could have come up with some pithy headline in its usual sensationalist style - I'd expect nothing less but this is different. It's like when I talk to an acquaintance of mine who always likes the lurid details of any rape/murder/abuse case and who cannot help themselves from dropping into conversation the nastiest detail even though I am saying, I don't need to know.

I know she's just processing the horror of the story in her way, and part of her way of processing it is by discussing it in detail with other people. It's as if she feels that, because it's in her head, she needs it to be in my head too. And it needs to be gone over and added to and sometimes embellished. Some odd psychology at work I think.

CatherineofMumbles Fri 04-Sep-09 14:56:00

Bigboots totally agree. I had five live on the way to school and there were very graphic references the case which I did not want to hear, let alone the DC

MrsEricBanaMT Fri 04-Sep-09 17:17:21

This is nothing like 'shallow celebs' , this is pornography. Don't just accept it. Write to the press compliaints commission www.pcc.org.uk/

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 04-Sep-09 17:25:11

Completely agree with you glasjam. It is despicable and shameful. Making profit from torture and suffering. Disgusting.

When the BabyP story first broke I had to avoid all television and radio news and be very careful about what I read in the papers because I really did not want to know the details of what happened to him. And yet I do still know, somehow, because it was everywhere. Even on thread titles on Mumsnet.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 04-Sep-09 18:20:19

Message withdrawn

glasjam Sat 05-Sep-09 11:52:22

I tried to complain on the PCC site but have read through the Code of Conduct and cannot find a specific clause that The Sun has contravened. I have made a complaint anyway in as lucid a way as I can manage while my kids are distracted by watching Basil Brush and am hoping that they take it forward.

There was also something that said I had to provide a link to the article or send a hard copy. Reluctantly, after sending off my initial email, I went searching to see if I could find the front page from yesterday. I must admit I was nervous about doing this because I don't want to read it or read anymore of it than I did yesterday BUT anyway I could only find today's Sun headlines.

I haven't got the time or the inclination to go searching through The Sun's archive to find it to be honest. I just hope they take on board my comments and get back to me. It would be a shame if they simply didn't pursue it because I couldn't link to the front page in question but that might be the case.

Interested to read your points StewieGriffinsMom about the difference between the British and Canadian Press.

glasjam Mon 07-Sep-09 14:29:26

Just got a response from the PCC and as predicted, The Sun have not contravened any clause on their Code of Conduct. Would appear it's a taste and decency/offensiveness issue.

Feel a little powerless because I don't know where to go next. Don't feel a letter to The Sun editor would do much good - they would probably rip me to shreds for not being able to quote verbatim from a front-page that I didn't read in its entirety. And one letter from what could be perceived as "an oversensitive mother" isn't going to have them rethinking their editorial policy is it? The only think that would do that is if people stopped buying their paper.

Oh well.

Nancy66 Mon 07-Sep-09 14:45:59

what was the headline? headlines are only ever a few words long so it couldn't have been that detailed.

glasjam Mon 07-Sep-09 16:36:07

Yes Nancy66, I know headline is probably the wrong word in this instance but I don't know what the correct terminology in this case would be. It was probably a whole sentence writ large - without printing the detail it itemised some of acts that were carried out in the following way:

"They xx on their xx, blah blah with stinging nettles, xx-ed their xx..." (I stopped myself reading beyond about the stinging nettles line, as my stomach actually lurched, I believe they itemised some of the other acts that occurred)

So that was written in as large a type as space would allow and I think in a non-black ink and then I think there might have been a paragraph under that in normal-size type. So it wasn't your usual 3 or 4 word headline a la "Up Your Junta".

It just over-stepped the mark in my opinion - just far too graphic. I don't like it and I think it set a precedent. I feel like I'm on a hiding to nothing because what I am objecting to is not WHAT was printed, but how that printed word was used - in a lurid, gratuitous way in order to shock (who needed this level of detail to be shocked by it - the barest outline of the case was shocking enough surely?) and to sell newspapers. And by putting it on the front page it didn't allow you to be selective as a reader. Anyone walking into a newsagent would be confronted by it. My choice NOT to read that level of detail was removed.

I know you're a journalist Nancy66 and I've worked in the media myself - this just really angered me.

piprabbit Mon 07-Sep-09 17:06:01

I was horrified by this headline too. For some reason my DH decided to by The Sun on Friday.

The whole front page consisted of the headline - starting with "Schoolkids' Sex Torture Horror" going on to detail some of the actions of the boys in about 50 words and ending with "A noose was tied around his neck and he was told to die in this ditch by the...HELL BOYS". All accompanied with a photo of said ditch. Large white font on a black background.

I've dug the paper out of the recycling, so if anyone really wants the full details they are very welcome.

My problem was that my 5yo daughter could read the whole thing shock - being the Sun none of the words are very long. She wouldn't bother to open a paper and read the articles, but she may well have spotted the headline and read it if the paper hadn't hit the recycling box pronto.

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