The overly graphic nature of journalism

Last night when I got home from work I sat down with a cup of tea and had a read of Saturday’s Daily Telegraph. I found myself unable to read much of the reports on the attack in Nice to be honest, as the level of graphic detail employed in many of the articles was just too much. I’m not singling the Telegraph out in terms of this approach to reporting on the aftermath of such acts of terror, its just that that’s the paper I had there to read – in its digital form anyway. The Telegraph itself committed the first ten pages to the horrific events which is fair enough, such tragedies have so many points of view, angles to explore, and touch so many lives. I am however unsure as to whom the real … graphic blood and guts style of reporting is really aimed at. I find it hard to believe that any normal minded person would find such graphic accounts of the massacre in progress, and its aftermath, to be even remotely palatable. Such great swathes of articles were dedicated to describing in detail how many came to their end, including children, and even babies in pushchairs. I appreciate that this is the true horror of events in Nice – however it is my feeling that this style of reporting is totally unnecessary, and can even go some way to encouraging further evil.

The implications of this style of journalism simply go beyond the taste boundaries of individuals when we are dealing with an epidemic of terrorism inspired by a same shared twisted ideology, and when this shared twisted ideology is threatening similar attacks imminently – is it really wise to sensationalise the results? I know that any journalist who has written such articles on the attack in Nice would stand up straight away and protest that their words were not a sensationalisation of evil, but a true account of the reality of the terror we face. The truth is though, that it is both. Let’s face it, as a terrorist attack – it was an extremely successful job done – full marks for carnage and devastation from an extremist’s perspective.

To the incredibly vast majority of normal minded people it reads as an accurate but likely pretty unpalatable account of terror, however to that tiny but significant few who share that same twisted ideology, and maybe even harbour their own ambitions or urges to carry out their own atrocities, I think that such graphic accounts in our press can ultimately serve as a sensationalist fantasy of inspirational extremist porn for the radicalised. We know that there are currently people in this country that have been radicalised, and probably a great deal who are on the cusp – I just feel that journalism like this can feed this mindset further and as a result go some way towards increasing the threat that we face.

If I’m off the mark here then fair enough. Maybe I’m just getting overly sensitive to stuff in my old age, but I just feel that this adoption of overly graphic journalism is totally unnecessary for most, and may just be adding further fuel to an already out of control fire.

Just my tuppence worth.

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