I get the feeling that today is going to make me cross. Very. And i will probably end up getting in trouble with my fellow journo’s again.
However, am i the only person starting to get seriously sick of this vindictive and, in the end, pointless obsession by the family of a homicide victim?
Simple story. Back in 2000, Robert Page killed Clive White in the course of a bungled burglary. The killing was particularly vicious – and there can be little sympathy for the perpetrator. Initially convicted of murder and sentenced to life in 2001, Page’s crime was marked down to manslaughter on appeal two years later.
Not clear what the tariff was at that point – though technically it could be longer than the original.
Even then, there were rumblings about the possibility that Page was (repressed) trans of some form – and in the years since, that fact has bloomed, to the point where Page is now taking hormones, called Emma and en route to grs. Possibly. As all of those who have gone thru the system know: there is no certainty of that until it is pretty much done.
In between times, the victim’s family claim to have been told that Page would never be allowed to transition. That’s bad. No professional psych would breach confidence in that way: whereas if police or probation officers were saying that, one really has to question their judgment…pronouncing on mental health issues in which they have no expertise and no direct involvement.
Clive’s brother is up in arms, having been alerted recently to Page’s progress thru the system by a well-balanced story in the People (er…that was sarcasm!).
Apart from just wanting Page to hang – which would be a novel development for manslaughter – they are also jumping on the bandwagon of prisoners not being allowed treatments “like this”.
Not too clear like what: presumably prisoners should get SOME medical attention. But for all i sympathise with the individuals concerned, they are a graphic example of why victims and their relatives should be involved in the judicial process – but that involvement does not give them expertise in the law or other specialised matters.
Well, the family outrage is understandable, though perhaps becoming just a bit shrill.
Less forgiveable is the press response. I’ve been tracking the cost figure in the story since it appeared (£45k for grs: £200 per week for hormones) and, when i can, sticking an oar in and asking for it to be changed.
It is very clear that the press does not have any reason to print that – beyond the fact that the People put that figure up in the first place and therefore that allows some of the cleverer journo’s to write that Clive’s brother “has been informed the op will cost £45k” (you see what they did there: not technically inaccurate, even if the end result is).
But overall, the more i grapple with this cost issue, the more disgusted i am with the newspapers. Its the defensiveness that gets me.
It is absolutely clear that 9 out of 10 papers have not done any hard research on this figure. Each one is following the previous, slavishly. So, if journalism was genuinely about the truth, you’d think they’d be happy to put the facts straight.
But no: call after call is leading to nit-picking defence based around the phrasing used. IN some cases, if one is utterly literal, it is clear that no inaccuracy has been printed: but the impression given is plainly inaccurate.
ANd what is beginning to grate, and why i am going to be losing my rag later today is: they mostly don’t care. Mostly they prefer to defend what they have done, than admit…concede even that they might, just, possibly have got things wrong.