Friday, April 03, 2009

You Sick Bastards, Stop Being Fascinated By The Stuff We Fill Our Newspapers With

By Darryl Mason

The Daily Telegraph is into its third day of mad rantings about the "sick" people who gather at scenes of car accidents, emergencies and other assorted human tragedies. As people do, as they have always done.

Some recent headlines :
Sick Sydney Thrilled By Violent Crash Deaths

Sick Sydney Gore Porn

Inhale the stench of hypocrisy :

The tragic late-night deaths of a young mother and a truck driver in Sydney had one thing in common - both victims spent their final moments as macabre suburban entertainment.

And yet The Daily Telegraph publishes photographs of the crash scene, ensuring the horror moves from "suburban entertainment" into mainstream entertainment.

They died as mothers in pyjamas and dressing gowns watched on with dozy toddlers.

They jostled to find a clearer view. They laughed, maybe at a private joke, and took photographs.

The bodies were still in view. Gore porn.
And here's a photograph of one of the crash scenes discussed, run in the Daily Telegraph, on the same story where it berates its readers for taking photographs at car accident scenes :

The stunning moralising continues :
Crash victims too often die, not only in excruciating pain but as a public spectacle.

The final screams of a dying man, the last breath of a dying woman, in front of a thrilled audience murmuring at the horror of it all, yet sipping from a mug of hot coffee as they move closer to the action.

Most of the rubberneckers who stopped to see the carnage just watch. could give the crash victims the dignity of dying without spectators, their children in tow, treating crime scenes as movie theatres with snacks and drinks.
And the first thing the family of fatal crash victim usually sees is journalists showing up on their doorstep asking for photographs of the deceased, and interviews with the family members.

So where did all these people get the idea it was acceptable to take photographs at the scenes of car accidents?

Maybe they've just seen the media in action, close up, or perhaps they read The Daily Telegraph which actively encourages the "gawking public" to take photos of news events and send them in for publication :

However, they won't pay you for your photos, and they may not even give you a credit for your free news gathering :
  1. You acknowledge that News may use all intellectual property rights in your content throughout the world, in perpetuity, without restriction and without making payment to you, including publication of that material in hard copy publications or in electronic media, using your content in advertising and promotional material for News and permitting others to do any of these, including when News and others receive payment for this.
  2. You waive all moral rights in your content and consent to anything which News (or any person permitted to do so by News) may do in relation to your content which would otherwise be in breach of your moral rights. This includes that News may use your content without attributing you as the source of your content.
If you don't want people to take photos of crash scenes, don't ask them to take photos of local news events and send them into your newspaper.

As for the behaviour of locals at a car crash scene, anyone who has been unfortunate enough to live near an accident blackout knows that car accidents have always drawn people from their homes, even late at night. It's usually that startling sound of screaming tyres and the horrific crunch of metal that does it. Neighbours gather, those who can help usually will, and some kids act like idiots, but it's insane to berate the public for being morbidly fascinated by car accidents when you're a newspaper that regularly fills its pages with exactly this kind of news fodder. And photographs.