Monday, August 08, 2005

The Press and Journal joins the lowest of the low

This blogmeister thought it would be business as usual as he headed up to RsMcColl’s to buy the P&J and read the usual ‘excuse’ to the press for NCFC throwing the game away on Saturday but outrage was to ensue at the front page banner headline:
‘Cook’s widow ‘hysterical’ as she gave the kiss of life’. The P&J had printed an account of the 49 minute call to the emergency ambulance centre with information from a certain Heather MacKintosh (complete with Mrs Mackintosh’s picture) on how she tried to help the ‘very distressed’ Gaynor Cook.
'He was very calm but she was quite hysterical. She was crying and it was very difficult because she asked where he was going to be taken.' Oh poor Mrs Mackintosh, it was very difficult for you.
Well it can’t be fun to watch life ebb away from your loved one at the best of times, especially on top of a remote mountain, and if you happen to be hysterical then you are only being human. It can only compound this woman’s suffering that her conversations with the emergency service and her state of mind during her husband’s death have been made public: is this normal? Shouldn’t this type of thing remain private unless the information is needed to be exposed in a court case or similar arena?
It is perhaps interesting to know that there was a 49 minute call made from the hill and efforts were made to help Mr Cook’s party but why do we have to me made into voyeurs with this sort of information? I hope when Mrs Cook starts to recover from the immediate shock of the death of her husband she considers with lawyers the information revealed by Mrs Heather MacKintosh and her organisation.
Surely we should be safe in the knowledge that if we have to phone the emergency services in a tragedy then intimate details of the conversations will not be revealed to the press the following Monday morning?


Cornelius Fenestrifex said...

Absolutely right. This is intrusion into privacy of the nastiest kind. The newspaper and its informant have behaved shamefully.

Nairn said...

This seems to be a low point of the year for news, so an event such as the demise of Robin Cook was jumped upon by certain rags. I don't condone the P & J's coverage of the sad event, however we can all protest either with our feet (don't buy the paper gain), a letter to the editor, or put our comments in the public domain as Craisg has with this blog.
For what it's worth I thought Robin Cook was a 1st class b****** for the way in which he dumped his 1st wife, but respected his political career for dropping the Labour party for their stance (war) on Iraq

Nurngal said...

I wouldn’t point the finger at the operator; she carried out her job which must indeed have been very stressful, and I would say she has been naive rather than shameful. It would seem that she, and the Control Room Manager, had been interviewed by a journalist, Fergus Macneill, who, no doubt, prompted them into revealing details of the situation, but why were they talking to the press in the first place? Surely no member of the ambulance service should be revealing details of calls? Maybe the Ambulance service needs to take a look at their procedures with regards to their staff talking to the Press?

Ignoring that this case involved someone famous, I find the P&J article disturbing for several reasons mainly because of the headline and the emphasis on ‘hysterical’. It would appear that the reporter (or the person who wrote the headline) is quoting the operator’s use of the word, fair enough if this was her impression of how Mrs Cook seemed to be, but the word is then used to create a snidey, supercilious and offensive headline. Why shouldn’t Mrs Cook be ‘hysterical’, is this a crime or does it make her some sort of lesser human being? Some little woman who can’t cope with what is happening? For God’s sake, the woman was stuck on a mountain with her dying husband! I doubt if many of us would be cool, calm and collected in a situation like this, we would all probably be panicking in some way or other.

This is a shoddy piece of reporting, something you would expect to see in a bottom of the range tabloid. Is this where the P&J is heading?

Garry said...

The P&J is owned by Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd which is part of the Daily Mail organisation. It seems that the P&J is morphing into Daily Mail, North-East edition.