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Wee gripe: crime-porn

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, July 18th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:

This endless crime-porn. Night after night of fetishistic coverage of the latest unusual crime or trial. Call yourselves journalists? Bollocks. You run this because it’s titallating and it’s cheap. There’s no news value. And there’s certainly no respect for the people whose lives are at the centre.

You don’t get these are real human beings. Real tragedies. To you it’s all just a soap opera. A ratings grabber. You don’t even understand that you’re just turning more and more people off your vapid, vampiric mediums every day.

They should never have allowed cameras into courtrooms. Just enables these pornographers who call themselves journalists.

27 comments on “Wee gripe: crime-porn”

  1. ghostwhowalks 1

    The Chief Justices comments about Courts being angry places these days, made me think are the cameras ( and their need for raw emotion ) making the ‘anger’ worse.
    Surely its allways been there. The guillotines were operated in public to great effect. Part of the appeal of court ‘news’ is its certainity: send a reporter who is guaranteed a story. Big earthquakes are much less likely

    More and more of public events are scripted for the cameras its not surprising they are taking over the court process as well.
    jury verdicts at 6:05PM any one ?

  2. Ianmac 2

    We do still turn on the TV News at 6, but don’t really watch for the first 10 minutes or so because it will be crime and accidents and maybe a bit of news after that, and then sport which does not excite- so why bother! I get more news online and topical discussions via Blog-sites especially The Standard.
    Note by the way Fran O’Sullivan actually largely supporting the Elias discussion!
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10585121

  3. no leftie 3

    Can I ask what you think news is?

    If it isn’t what’s happening in the world today, what is it?

    Don’t hide behind nonsense slogans like “crime-porn”, say something that actually means something.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      He did – you just didn’t get it (or you’re purposefully avoiding it).

    • Zetetic 3.2

      You don’t get what is meant by ‘crime-porn’? Oh dear.

      The coverage of crime for titillation, shock, excitement rather than for the purpose of informing

  4. Johnno 4

    Having spent a lot of time in various courtrooms (District, High and Appeal), I firmly believe the cameras in court have made little or no difference to the way trials are conducted. Lawyers really have their eyes on the prize – the verdict. Any grandstanding or theatrics are done for the benefit of the jury. You would be surprised at how little the courtroom activities change when the cameras are in court. The real difference in behaviour occurs when the jury is out of the room. All of a sudden the defendant, who had been sitting upright and paying attention, will pick up a novel, or close their eyes.

    I wouldn’t make a judgement as to the news value of various trials. That is something that I would leave to the experts. There are certain legal problems with allowing all media other than television cameras in to court. You either ban them all, or none of them. However, I would say that the difference between what happens in court and what is reported each night on the TV news can be quite marked. Trials are often characterised by very boring detailed testimony. A courtroom can be a very dull place. There seems to be great degree of self-censorship conducted by the broadcast journalists. Some of the things you hear can be quite disturbing, the images placed before the jury are harrowing. It is very rare, in my experience, for a TV report to get even close to the horror that sometimes is shown or talked about in the courtroom. Day after day of SOCO photos projected onto the court screens makes for grim type of humour amongst court staff, and in my observations that sometimes extends to the journalists covering the case.

  5. coolas 5

    Spot on. Coverage of Weatherstone trial hit a new low. Totally irresponsible. Vicarious entertainment. Real life sordid drama served up like a ‘reality’ production. Sick. And if W is a narcissistic compulsive he was rewarded for his crime by all the publicity.

    We’ve always had tabloid journalism appealing the gossip & voyeur in us, but it’s growth and popularity is a bit like the rise of Junk Food. We’re swamped and a whole bunch of people have been sucked in, addicted to shite, and think it’s real. So too with the media seeking the lowest common denominator and abandoning its responsibility as the 4th Estate.

    • So Bored 5.1

      Well said Coolas, I was left feeling tainted and unclean after watching a murderer blame his victim, her poor family having that whole episode on air must have been devastated. Its a fine line for the media to judge what they show, IMHO in this case they definitely got it wrong.

      Zet, this gripe really hits home. Im sick of crime TV.

    • coolas – look at it from another perspective – there won’t be a crim in any NZ prison who doesn’t know who CW is now, and doesn’t know what he admitted doing to SE (I don’t think that could be prejudicial to a fair trial) – when CW is finally sentenced, and sent off to “get over it” (his words- not mine btw), he will have all the attention he can handle, and quite a bit more. Ain’t karma wonderful?

    • blacksand 5.3

      yeah, it kind of mystifies me as to why we get a photo of him every single day in the Dompost. New photo, same face, same expression. Pretty much the same story too. Stretches the meaning of ‘news’ does it not?

  6. RedLogix 6

    Many years ago I was told a piece of wisdom by an American friend who had worked in the media industry all his life. He told me that ‘whatever you tolerate on your TV screens, you will have to tolerate in your homes and streets 10-15 years later.’.

    It was a long time ago that he told me that, and in that time his words have been proven in my mind fairly accurate.

  7. stormspiral 7

    You’re not wrong. I’ve spent a few years (as in 50 or so active years) taking part in and watching the 4th Estate, and have seen the shift from responsible public right-to-know journalism to a salacious, sensationalist ‘feed the public appetite for gossip and disaster, and watch the victims weep; “..if we can’t get ’em to cry, there must be something wrong with them”.’ It’s all about spectacle. Nothing much has changed since rhe gladiators of Rome, and for as far back as we can imagine. But there’s more of it these days. Progress or retrogression?

    We can’t go back to other days, but surely we can be aware of what’s happening, and make a fuss about it. That’s the first step toward awareness and change.

    Whether cameras affect Court proceedings isn’t relevant to this argument, not while we’ve got people like Sian Elias. What is relevant is we don’t have to wallow in it, and call it news. It’s not news; it’s voyeurism.

    And it’s not about censorship either; it’s about responsibility and commonsense.

    • Ag 7.1

      You’re right that it is the public appetite that fuels these things, so why not blame the public? No one ever wants to do that, and so we have conspiracy theories about the media leading with crime, when people just like to watch violence.

  8. stormspiral 8

    Not. Responsibility and ethics versus appetite? Tail wagging the dog?

  9. no leftie 9

    Nothing to add eh.

    I thought so.

    Those in the news media will take a lot of notice of an opinion you’re not even prepared to explain let alone defend.

    Oh and Draco, bitching about what you don’t like isn’t saying what you don’t want.

    • stormspiral 9.1

      Oh yes plenty of substantivce comment could be added, but I’ll just illustrate by simple analogy.

      Free choice no restraints, anything the public wants, because they create the demand

      ergo, child pornographers should be encouraged, because of course, there’s a demand for their services. Their activities simply fulfill this need.

      and ‘No Leftie’, please don’t make personal or derogatary comments when somebody has a different point of view from yours.

      The subject of your comments I find somewhat tedious, and will not reply to this kind of arrogance again. I have better, more constructive thibgs to do.

    • Zetetic 9.2

      I hadn’t replied because I wasn’t around. I scheduled this post on Friday for Saturday.

      Still not much to add because I think the post speaks for itself and everyone else seems have understood.Most seem to agree.

  10. jcuknz 10

    I have recently reduced my TV watching to simply the news and switch off when sport arrives and with the Christchurch trial I have used the mute button until I see the front person again. I’m also sick of being reminded of the number of knife blows every time the trial is mentioned on radio. I am sure it is all what many want but I don’t think it says much for them.

  11. T 11

    I totally agree. The Weatherston trial is the worst. The media are treating it like a soap opera. The news is the worst with updates like “Find out what Weatherston said about his sex life with Sophie Elliot after the break”.

    The public also doesn’t need to know every single detail about her injuries. She deserves dignity in death not pages upon pages of body parts and blood.

  12. Turn off the TV 12

    If TV offers you nothing of value, then get your news from somewhere else. Choose a medium that lets you decide what news you receive.

    This is the first I’ve heard of the Weatherston trial, because

    * I don’t have a TV – by choice
    * I don’t read the crime section of stuff.co.nz or nzherald.co.nz and only skim the headlines of the ‘national news’ section.

  13. no leftie 13

    Here’s a tip for all those who don’t want to know things like what bad people do to other people.

    Don’t watch, don’t listen and don’t read.

    Problem solved – no nasties to invade your world.

    The rest of us will go on learning more about the world we live in, regardless of how sad some of those stories are.

    • felix 13.1

      I don’t think you understand what’s being discussed – do you think that crimes and car accidents are the most important things that happen every day?

  14. no leftie 14

    That gets me back to where I came in…

    “Can I ask what you think news is?”

    You seem to know what you don’t want, but have yet to offer an alternative.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      Well one of the classic definitions of news is ‘anything that someone doesn’t want you to know’, so that’s a good place to start. It rules out any story that basically just runs a press release.

      It also should be ‘new’, in the sense of novel, or at the least a development of an ongoing story. 3news tonight ran a few minutes on the Weatherston trial, rounding up what happened last week and saying that this week will be the end of it so be sure to tune in. So that’s not news in either sense. It’s an ad.

      They also told us that it snowed again in Dunedin and that there are some gizmo’s you can buy to attach to your shoes so as to not fall over, though some locals prefer to remain with the time honoured method of wearing some socks over your shoes, that while not as technological has the benefit of frugality assuming the socks are old ones. Other folk down there like the snow as it is beautiful, whilst others still, see the snow as a reminder that spring is on the way.

      The US is asking us to send the SAS to the AF/PAK theatre. Have been asking for some time. The government, Key tells us, is yet to make up it’s mind although apparently Key thinks the bombings in Indonesia are related. I guess our government is trying to work out whether or not it’s a good idea, and whether or not the NZ public think it’s a good idea.

      I think it would be an excellent idea if our news organisations ran a few minutes on the AF/PAK theatre every night. There is no shortage of news from there, nor is there as shortage of pundits that will be willing to help make sense of it all by offering informed opinion from many angles.

      But the only news we get from there is if a bomb happens to go off next to some kiwis. That certainly is news and we should be hearing about it, but we should be hearing much, much more.

  15. no leftie 15

    3 News on a Sunday night isn’t a good example as weekend staffing is always very thin and the insane desire to inflict an hour of news on viewers means even more filler than usual.

    No one is brave enough to say the “news hours” that emerged in the 90s are a bad idea.

    However they got Duncan Garner back in the office to do the story on the canning of folic acid and I can’t imagine anyone complaining about that – content aside.

    The rest was totally disposable. I record the news every night and rip through it all in 20 minutes if that.

    Investigative news is indeed the best but the days of having reporters being able to spend days/weeks/months digging up the goods to bring down a government are fading fast.

  16. Pascal's bookie 16

    “However they got Duncan Garner back in the office to do the story on the canning of folic acid and I can’t imagine anyone complaining about that content aside.”

    heh. Yeah the obligatory live cut to an empty parliament for Garner to say nothing that couldn’t be said by gingercrush on his toilet.

  17. T 17

    Here’s a tip for all those who don’t want to know things like what bad people do to other people.

    Don’t watch, don’t listen and don’t read.

    Way to totally miss the point there buddy.

    News should be what the public needs to know. In the case of the Weatherston trial they don’t need to know the full extent of Elliot’s injuries in gruesome detail over and over and over again. They don’t need to know about Elliot’s sexual history. They don’t need her diary published. They don’t need close-ups of her parents crying.

    All they need to know is what the basic argument of the Defence and Crown. Then the verdict. The end. Done and dusted.

    They don’t need to cater to the sick fucks desperate to know exactly which body parts she lost. Especially the sick fucks who hide behind a ‘need to know about the world’ attitude.

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