Lucy Meadows, Jacintha Saldanha and the Daily Mail’s ‘culture of casual cruelty’
SOME say Lucy Meadows died as a result of what Richard Littlejohn said in his Daily Mail column. Littlejohn ‘monstered’ the teacher who had left the Lancashire school the male Nathan Upton and returned as the female Lucy Meadows.
Your view of the story may well rest on your view of the Mail and Littlejohn. But here’s what the Daily Mail said when Australian radio DJs pranked Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse in the hospital where pregnancy Duchess Kate was being treated for morning sickness. Saldanha, a parent (like Meadows) soon after putting through a bogus call to Kate’s rooms was found hanged.
One Mail headline thundered:
DJs behind fatal royal prank phone call ‘will remain in hiding with bodyguards for MONTHS’
It was the phone call what dunnit, says the Mail. It was “fatal” phone call.
Janet Street-Porter wrote in the Mail:
That prank call – broadcast across the BBC, under the feeble excuse of ‘news’ – was made for one reason: to grab ratings in a highly competitive market…The Romans’ idea of entertainment was chucking slaves in the arena to beat each other to death. We haven’t progressed much.
The Mail was shocked – in capital leters:
Australian radio station boss refuses to sack Royal prank DJs and claims THEY are the victims
The Mail saw the vulnerable woman:
The Mail on Sunday understands that one of the DJs telephoned the hospital back within an hour of the call and spoke to Ms Saldanha again, telling her they had played a prank which they were about to broadcast. The revelation is believed to have left Ms Saldanha, who had no experience of dealing with the media, feeling confused and agitated.
Much like Lucy Meadows, then?
The Mail chose to tell us this:
A neighbour said: ‘What these Australian guys did is not acceptable. Their prank has killed our beloved Jacintha. Her death should be blamed on them.’
The Mail reported on an expert:
NRI industrialist Swraj Paul feels that public humiliation by the Press may have driven Indian nurse Jacintha Saldanha to take her own life.
The Mail Richard Kay called the prank call “bullying” and “cruel“.
Bel Mooney wrote in the Mail that Jacintha was “a victim of today’s culture of casual cruelty“:
The consequences for everybody involved – from the distressed royal couple, to the shocked and hounded Australian DJs, and most of all to the tragic nurse Jacintha Saldanha and her family – are a reminder that every thoughtless prank has a victim and that nobody can predict how a vulnerable individual will react to what somebody else thinks of as ‘a bit of fun’… Thus casual cruelty is dished up as prime-time entertainment with as much callous indifference as the Romans showed to the Christians and lions fighting to the death in their arenas.
The Mail said that the DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian had not acted alone. Who approved the broadcast?
So who signed off the hoax call that ended in tragedy? Australian radio station refuses to identify executive who approved broadcast
They weren’t to know that their crass stunt would end so catastrophically in the death of a dedicated nurse and devoted mother.
Can we read “dedicated teacher and devoted parent” – you know, like Lucy Meadows was?