This has been peppered all over the internets today, but I thought I’d have to stick my oar in as it’s something I’ve been following closely. HERE WE GO:
The other day, The Daily Star (red-top tabloid, fact fans) printed a story (you can see it here in linked form) about a new videogame, book and movie being released, all based on the shenanigans of one Raoul Moat (dead murderer, fact fans). The book, apparently, was real. The movie, no one knows. The game was said to be Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury, and was accompanied by an image purported to be the game’s cover. As this was such a shocking game to be seeing release, The Daily Star contacted the family of the girl who was shot in all that nonsense the other week, asking her grandmother what she thought of the fact a game was being made of all this. Understandably she was upset and confused by Rockstar’s (developers of the GTA series) decision.
Only it wasn’t Rockstar’s decision. It wasn’t anyone’s decision. Because it wasn’t real. Literally the second this stuff broke was the second all gamers and most people with two brain cells to rub together concluded the image of the game’s cover was a very poorly-made Photoshop, ala all of the images I put up here. Anyway, I’m getting lost in explanations and it’s boring me, so let’s cut to what I’m laughing about today.
The Daily Star have issued a hugely grovelling apology, indicating they didn’t even do anything they were supposed to do to make sure their story was in any way accurate, and that they’ve paid Rockstar money to back up this apology. Aside from the hilariously-quick turnaround, it’s one of the most straightforward and intense apologies ever seen in newspapers. Probably. It just shows what having a multi-million selling franchise that isn’t just about murdering prostitutes can do for your company with regards to the lawyers it can hire.
But there is one thing I want to know: Jerry Lawton, who wrote the story. Will he still have a job this time next week? I’m guessing yes. Papers put aside money to pay off settlement fees and journalists seem to receive little more than a slap on the wrist for simply not doing their job, even if this does involve bringing extra, completely unnecessary suffering to a grieving family member. I think the attention The Daily Star got out of this – the increase in traffic to their site and the increase in sales of the paper itself – will more than make up for what will likely be written off as a faux-pas. Lawton will carry on doing his job, nothing will happen and people complaining will eventually move on to other subjects.
I don’t do my work, I am in trouble. You work in a shop and you don’t do your job you’re in trouble. You join the army and don’t kill the people you’re told to kill you’re in trouble. You become a plumber’s apprentice and don’t plumb anything you’re in trouble. You work for the Queen and don’t bother working for the Queen you’re in trouble.
You become a journalist and don’t hold up any of the basic tenets of the profession in the slightest bit, at all, and nothing seems to happen. I hope I am proven wrong, I really do. I hope that cunt gets fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun. Not the newspaper. This is the kind of thing that makes me sick for sometimes describing myself as a ‘journalist’.