Smug tweet after tragedy was taste­less

Bray People - - OPINION - With Deb­o­rah Cole­man

THE decision of News Corp chief Ru­pert Mur­doch to tweet a con­grat­u­a­tory mes­sage to one of his ti­tles in the wake of the Syd­ney gun siege last week has bee branded by many as heart­less and smug.

He de­cided to let ev­ery­one know how quick off the mark the Daily Tele­graph was in break­ing the out­come of the tragic in­ci­dent which left two in­no­cent peo­ple dead along with the gun­man.

His tweet showed how far re­moved he is from the or­di­nary reader or per­son on the ground.

While as a busi­ness­man of course he is right to be con­cerned about per­for­mance and some would say he has a right to cel­e­brate such suc­cess in terms of an in­ter­na­tional news story of this mag­ni­tude but to be so overtly tri­umphant is taste­less.

What is worse is that Mur­doch is an Aus­tralian na­tive and not even this link to the coun­try hit by this shock­ing siege in­spired any sort of pub­lic sym­pa­thy.

His tweet showed com­plete dis­re­gard for the fam­i­lies and loved ones of the de­ceased, both of whom have been hailed as he­roes for their brav­ery dur­ing a hor­rific and un­think­able in­ci­dent that ul­ti­mately cost them their lives.

The con­flict that ev­ery jour­nal­ist faces is that while one al­ways wants to do the best job pos­si­ble and de­liver the news as quick as it breaks it is never right to revel in the mis­for­tunes of oth­ers. A common com­plaint I hear is that ‘ there are no good news sto­ries’ in news­pa­pers to­day.

For a start this isn’t true but as much as peo­ple say they care about good news they also want to know about the bad news.

While good news can be pos­i­tively shared and cel­e­brated the same can­not be sad for tragedies and suf­fer­ing.

There must be re­spect and un­der­stand- ing for those who have been hurt.

Get­ting in­for­ma­tion about the so called ‘ bad news’ is nec­es­sary and while peo­ple want to be in­formed they cer­tainly don’t want those who re­lay the in­for­ma­tion to be seen to be glee­ful about their suc­cess. The pub­lic smug­ness was what an­gered peo­ple the most. A man of Mur­doch’s wealth and in­flu­ence should be seen to be a lit­tle more savvy but he prob­a­bly doesn’t care what peo­ple think any­way.

Was that tweet se­ri­ously the only thing he had to say about the tragedy? A small bit of em­pa­thy would have gone a long way and would have cost him ab­so­lutely noth­ing.

Ru­pert Mur­doch.

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