Peaches Geldof: An Untimely Death Was Her Tabloid Destiny
WHEN police announced that Peaches Geldof had died the newspapers rushed to shout “first”. Her death at 25 is a shocks. To her husband and two young children it is a tragedy. To the media it’s a result.
The celebrity death is heralded by people on social media shouting “FIRSTS!” and the “ker-ching” of big media’s cash register. Who can be first to dash out a few hundred words of speculation veering between the mawkish an the insulting about the dead person they never knew?
The smart money is on the tabloids, notably the Daily Mail, which hounded Peaches, memorably publishing a series of pictures featuring the young mum walking down the road with her baby trying to focus as an adult stranger stared at her though a camera’s long lens, possibly shouting her name over and over and over to get her to face his way. The pram Peaches was pushing hit a pothole. The baby took a small tumble. Peaches had strapped her in. No harm done. Peaches kept her cool. The photographer helped the single mum with the baby by taking photos, and the Mail’s Alasdair Glennie noted, apropos of nothing:
Peaches’ mother Paula died from a heroin overdose in 2000 leaving her and her sisters Pixie, Fifi and Tiger Lily to be brought up by Geldof.
The Mail then turned it into a debate, allowing such comments as:
Wow, glad she’s not my mum – Nancy
What an airhead – Try this at home
Wow, from these pictures I see this dimwit is still talking on her damned mobile phone instead of caring for and looking after her baby? Is this an indication of her priorities and common sense? – intrepid001
And if you thought that was abusive, the paper’s Sandra Parsons chimed in with a few hundred to-deadline words:
…when I saw those heart-stopping photos of Peaches Geldof’s baby toppling over in his buggy (right), I certainly didn’t condemn her for being a bad mother…what really disturbs me is that, despite her obvious concern for the baby, it didn’t occur to her to drop her phone.
Sweet Sandra was not condemning. Just disturbed.
This one small incident in a London street illustrates what’s become a global phenomenon: an addiction to new technology that’s so overwhelming it trumps all other needs — including a mother’s visceral instinct to save her child.
To say nothing of the technology behind the Mail’s website that features photos bought from paparazzi who stare and photograph young mums out for a stroll with their child.
This ghoulish waiting for Peaches to stuff up was also noticeable in this hideous story from the Daily Star back in 2010:
So. Let’s see how the papers reported on the death of a young married woman and mum of two:
The Metro goes with the idea that dying at 25 was Peaches’ destiny. All that rubbernecking at her in life has paid off.
The Guardian was quick to join the dots:
We do not know how Peaches Geldof died. But the Sun wants to speculate:
She was also the daughter of Bob Geldof, who is not a “drugs victim”. The Mail appears sober in its front page.
But the opportunistic Sun wants to make some point about drugs and Paula Yates and fate and shifting papers and perhaps – fingers crossed – using a young woman’s death to kickstart a campaign the tabloids so love.
The second word in it story on Peaches is “drugs”. Sure the word “no” appears before it, but “drugs”, readers. DRUGS!
After 8 pages of the Sun’s speculation and gawping, its almost a relief to reach the Daily Express:
It can’t last, this fact-based reporting.
Over in the Daily Mirror – “the intelligent tabloid” – Emily Retter knows what killed Peaches. It was a curse.
You know, the good looking, rich woman called Peaches Geldof – the married one with two healthy children… Well, she was cursed, you see.
The Mirror then sets about milking Peaches Geldof’s corpse:
The Mirror is only copying the Mail, which advises its readers “DON’T MISS” Bob’s pain:
It’s all remarkably ugly.