Daily Mail and horrific deaths

I’m not sure if it is just me, or has the Daily Mail been making more effort to report in great, lurid detail more and more terrible deaths? It seems to me that thousands of people die across the UK each day for a variety of reasons and the vast majority of these deaths are not considered newsworthy. However, should you die in circumstances that raise a snigger, an eyebrow or tweak the horror senses then your death is news, your death sells newspapers.

The recent and utterly shameful reporting of the young woman who died from a heart condition whilst using a vibrator was splashed – complete with big picture – over the web pages of the Metro and Daily Mail was not an exception, but an all-t0 common example of how the press has no boundaries, no line that it will not cross in the abuse of someone’s death.

Today a strange story in the same vain appeared, it first aroused the readers with some ‘tragedy porn’:

Smiling shyly in his smart riding clothes as he sits astride his beloved horse, this is the last picture of the little boy killed in a tragic accident on a rope swing at his family home…

His mother Sarah Bray tried frantically to give him mouth-to-mouth – and thought she had saved his life when he started to breathe again.

But tragically the little boy lost consciousness and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Southampton hospital at 6pm on Tuesday.

And then follows it up with some ‘envy porn’, cramming in every detail about the house and lifestyle of the grieving family:

Nine-year-old Jamie Bray had been playing on the rope swing in the back garden of his family’s five bedroom country house…

A horse, horse box and stables are set to the left of the picturesque £800,000 home in Bishops Waltham, near Southampton, where Jamie lived with his mother, his father Richard and his older brother Sam.

The picturesque house is set at the top of a 20 metre dirt track and is surrounded by fields.

A Porsche Cayenne 4×4 and a silver-coloured Volkswagen were parked outside of the home on Friday, where a tree house by the front gate had flowers and a candle laid underneath as a tribute to the youngster.

Quite what relevance this extract from what seems like MTV Cribs has to the story seems utterly beyond me, but seems rather typical of the Daily Mail who seem to think that their readers absolutely must know the net worth of any protagonist, starting with the value of their house. The story doesn’t give the reader any particular advice to avoid such an accident – apart from don’t let your kids use a rope swing unsupervised, so it is hardly a shock story to warn parents of danger. Rather it seems that ‘freak’ deaths sell newspapers, especially if the victim lived a dream lifestyle.

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