Sinéad O Connor – prurient coverage masquerading as public-interest journalism

No need to publish intimate details

Like many others, I’ve watched in dismay as Sinéad O Connor posted a series of anguished Facebook entries that showed she was going through an extremely difficult period in her life. Those posts gave reason to believe she might take her own life, but luckily somebody made contact and now Sinéad is being looked after.

That’s all I need to say about it. You have the entire story in that paragraph.

I don’t need to repeat every word of every post, line by excruciating line and yet that’s exactly what certain journalists are doing, while dressing their stories in a veneer of public interest.

What’s worse than gutter-press red-top journalism of the Rupert Murdoch kind?

Hyena journalism, that’s what. Muck-raking masquerading as responsible reportage.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by repeating the intimate details of Sinéad O Connor’s Facebook posts which I sincerely hope will be removed soon.  I didn’t need to see them and I certainly won’t be reproducing them because to do so would be to compound the woman’s pain.

These posts were placed on Facebook by a very vulnerable person and any responsible journalist should know that. Too many people have viewed them already and it serves no useful purpose to spread them around even further, apart from a venal desire to attract readers.  Even though they were placed on a public forum, they should only be replicated with the express permission of the person who created them once that person is feeling safer and less vulnerable.

Publishing these posts at a time when the person who wrote them is still so vulnerable amounts to an act of humiliation and exploitation. And any journalist who claims otherwise is simply a hypocrite.

____________________

Elsewhere.

Samaritans’ media guide on reporting suicide. “Avoid reporting the contents of a suicide note”.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Sinéad O Connor – prurient coverage masquerading as public-interest journalism

  1. Well said bock. A horrendous situation compounded by idiot pretend journalists all feeding into the “sure she’s mad that one” social media commenters who were probably changing their profile pics for a mental health cause only weeks ago. Regardless of who she is or what she is perceived to have done I hope sinead can finally get the help she needs.

  2. While I do hope that Sinead O’Connor does get whatever appropriate help she needs you can’t blame the media entirely, remember that this woman was perfectly happy to use the media as a vehicle to get some of her crazier notions spread to the public at large with no regard to people who might be adversely affected by her “preachings”, a little more responsibility and sensitivity on her part might not go amiss. She is doing those people afflicted with the mental health stigma no favours here.

  3. “Even though they were placed on a public forum, they should only be replicated with the express permission of the person who created them once that person is feeling safer and less vulnerable.”

    I agree.

    She’s easy prey to a bunch of vultures though.
    Prior to this, when she was presumably feeling better, she seemed to be divulging a little bit too much about herself online…and others for that matter.
    Hopefully she’ll back away from doing at some stage, for her own good.

  4. I haven’t read anything about this ‘story’ other than on this website.

    While i have no desire to defend the gutter press, is there not an argument that mental health issues need to be brought out more into open discussion in order to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness?

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