News Ltd.

Jan 19, 2012

We definitely did not use a paparazzi shot to illustrate this story about Pippa Middleton being harassed by paparazzi

How cruel an irony it is that in order to illu

Pure Poison IconHow cruel an irony it is that in order to illustrate an article about Pippa Middleton being harassed by paparazzi, many newspaper and website editors have to buy photos by those very same paparazzi.

What else are they to do? Use a shot Pippa consented to have taken? Use a photograph of the paparazzi themselves instead of their target?


Clearly posed in a studio close up with Middleton’s consent. Doesn’t look at all like a long shot by paparazzi beside something blurred out to the right of the photograph as Pippa was doing something provocatively newsworthy like walking down the street and looking to the side.

I wonder if the precious website hits make their sad duty easier to bear.

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22 comments

22 thoughts on “We definitely did not use a paparazzi shot to illustrate this story about Pippa Middleton being harassed by paparazzi

  1. Howard,B.

    Matthew

    No, I’m not PdM, and no, there was no nihilism in posts previous, merely an attempt to clarify what it is we are talking about and whether it is an issue of morals as opposed to intellectual dishonesty and the more objective reasoning required to assert the later. I’m afraid this point has passed you by.

    Let me reiterate: I share your subjective opinion regarding the news worthiness of such celebrity culture dross, however there appears to be a large demographic for whom the trials and tribulations of Pippa Middleton hold some inexplicable appeal. Whilst I would question such tastes, I would hesitate to call them ‘catatonic imbeciles’ if for no other reason than they include my dear old mum. She probably feels the same about our taste for news of the politcial, Matthew.

    And whilst such celebrity fixation does indeed appear to be a self-perpetuating racket to a degree, I cannot call this particular article ‘intellectually dishonest’ for the reasons I’ve already highlighted in this thread ad nausem.

    As for the issue of privacy in general, I’d resubmit the question: does anyone have a right not to be photographed in public?

  2. Matthew of Canberra

    HB … you’re not PdM using another login, are you? Because there’s a bit of overlap between his nihilistic “what is reality” nonsense and that post.

    I say it’s ‘@!#$’ journalism because it serves no useful purpose. If I published an article declaring “random man on street hates being punched” purely so that I could print a picture of said man getting a biff on the conk … what would be the point? It would probably sell some units, because there are some people out there who quite like seeing people getting punched up the snout, but it wouldn’t be news, and it would be ‘@!#$’ journalism. Likewise, there are people out there who quite like to love-hate celebrities, and the royal family (and people who can arguably be linked to it) has been cultivated for this purpose because it’s sort of considered “public property” and a bit limited in how it’s allowed to respond (set a couple of beefeaters on the paps and I reckon it’d be over pretty quickly, but it’s not allowed, is it?)

    So it’s a story that doesn’t inform anyone about anything that a catatonic imbecile couldn’t figure out from first principles. But it DOES let them publish a picture of a pissed-off pippa …. you know, the one who got a bit above her station with the nice bum and the wedding pics and the younger prince and the pics on that yacht on the mediterranean, snotty cow an’ all.

    There is nobody alive who would not (eventually) object to the invasions of privacy of the cretins on the royal beat in london. It hardly needs to be said.

    So why the heck is this a story? Oh yes, that’s right, so they can print those paparazzi photographs. It’s an exploitation story, pure and simple. It’s crap journalism.

    Any questions?

  3. Howard,B.

    Matthew of Canberra

    When you say it is ‘@!#$’ journalism, do you mean in the subjective sense that you think it’s trashy celebrity gossip of no discernable value (a sentiment with which I thoroughly concur), or do you mean so in an objective manner: is it factually inaccurate or distortionate etc?

    The moral dimension of the use of the pics, and the irony created thereby, has already been acknowledged. Was it ‘nice’ of the editor et al in this case to feed the paparrazi beast in a story about the the possible excesses thereof? That is a subjective moral question and, unless said editor et al has been critical of said excesses before, not one of objective intellectual honesty which is the ostensible raison d’etre of this blog.

    Imagine National Geographic doing a story on a tribe of natives who believe having their picture taken will steal their soul, for which they sent a bunch of freelance photographers to take pictures of said natives for the story. Ironic? Yes. Immoral? Perhaps. Intellectually dishonest? Not unless the magazine had a history about spouting off about the importance of respecting this particular superstition.

    In answer to your question, the potential for ‘intellectual dishonesty’ in this circumstance lies in a prior public stance against the manner the photographs were obtained, or the mores the manner violated, not in the use of the photographs themselves, which is, as I have said, a question of subjective morals.

    Regarding the general issue of celebrity culture, tabloids and the papparazzi: I don’t know. Does anyone have the right not to be photographed in a public space?

  4. Matthew of Canberra

    Howard,B

    I think you’re reaching a bit. They’re reporting on her distress (which wouldn’t be newsworthy unless distress was generally considered to be A Bad Thing), talking about people camping out at her house, her being at her wit’s end … while obviously contributing to it. They COULD have reported that without any pictures at all. In fact, if they (and others) weren’t publishing the pictures (and therefore buying them) there actually wouldn’t be any story at all. It’s exploitation, pure and simple – the story is just an thin excuse to publish the pictures … that happen to create the story.

    Intellectual dishonesty? Dunno. Depends on your definitions. But it’s @!#$ journalism, beyond any doubt.

    The UK press is particularly obnoxious about this sort of thing. The actual obsessive stalking behaviour is one thing, but what really boils my blood is hearing somebody from their ranks trying to justify it.

    I have actually heard these things said by newsies and paparazzis in radio interviews: Celebrities – they ask for it, see? They NEED the press, but want everything on their own terms. They don’t want to give anything back. The public wants it, the celebs are keeping it all to themselves, and it’s the role of the papers to get it. It’s in the public interest – and they’re actually just doing what the celebrities really need, because without the exposure, where’d they be? They’d be nobody, that’s what. They deserve it. Puritans who want to crush the crucial freedoms of the press are just playing into the hands of the celebrities, serving their selfish interests. Who’s looking out for the little guy? That’s right – the tabloids.

    Sound familiar? If this described a relationship, these guys would be a one-way ticket to spousal abuse. They’re creeps with cameras.

  5. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    whilst that of Randi’s blog claims to be nothing more than the thoughts of a News Ltd. columnist, that of this blog points to something more noble and high-minded

    I’m reeling from Howard’s shock imputation that Devine is ignoble and base.

  6. Howard,B.

    The story’s written as if it’s above the fray. As if it’s just commenting on a practice in which it isn’t involved.

    No, it appears to be merely reporting Middleton’s discontent, and possible distress, with such practices. It appears to be making no judgement on the practice itself or prentending that it is ‘above the fray’. Unless the editor or journo in question is on the record as being critical of the practices that have resulted in the photographs used here, then there appears to be no intellectual dishonesty on their part.
    Is there a question moral impropriety and general standards of media behavior? Perhaps. But I guess that is question for the new ‘Understanding the World of a Sub-Editor’ thread.

  7. Jeremy Sear

    Unless the specific journalist or editor in question here is on the record as critizing the practice of photographing people in public spaces (as these pics seem to be), it’s still a bit hard to see who you’re charging with intellectual dishonesty.

    The story’s written as if it’s above the fray. As if it’s just commenting on a practice in which it isn’t involved.

    Which it clearly is, because they’re running a paparazzi shot.

  8. Howard,B.

    Come now, Jack. ‘About box’, ‘mission statement’, call it what you will, but whilst that of Randi’s blog claims to be nothing more than the thoughts of a News Ltd. columnist, that of this blog points to something more noble and high-minded.

    At any rate, I see Jeremy has (in at least a partial concession?) moved to nullify any such further cavils with the addition of the “Understanding the World of a Sub-Editor” thread.

  9. monkeywrench

    So, howard….happy with that new, improved hair-splitter the missus got you for Xmas, then…

  10. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    “About” box = “Mission Statement”

    That’s a novel slant, Howard.

    According to Randi Devine’s About Profile box, her Mission Statement is to be “a leading columnist with The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.”

    One day…

  11. SHV

    Every time they run a story about child pornography they always include explicit images of child pornography to illustrate the thing they are condemning.

    (reality back on)

  12. Howard,B.

    Jack

    I’m flattered, and maybe even a little curious, to have found myself the object of your affections. However, to what ‘quote’ of mine are you refering?
    In general though, I’d hope you’d come to agree that when discussing what this, or any other, blog states itself to be, considering the mission statement as a whole would be more ‘intellectually honest’.

    That PP remains blissfully free of said device of asininity, and that it is a point in its favour, is a fact conceded.

  13. Howard,B.

    Jeremy

    Unless the specific journalist or editor in question here is on the record as critizing the practice of photographing people in public spaces (as these pics seem to be), it’s still a bit hard to see who you’re charging with intellectual dishonesty. If one section of the media criticizes the more intrusive practices of the paparazzi, does that mean the next unrelated outlet who uses a photograph obtained in a public place is intellectually dishonest? I don’t think so.
    But, yes, very good, the media pays people for photographs.

  14. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    … the context from which you shamelessly divorced your quote …

    Darn. Exposed! How shameless of me to enclose my ‘quote’ in ellipses to indicate the ‘context’ from which I’d ‘divorced’ it. (Oh see…? I’ve went and done it again above!)

    Which, as it happens, would be the same ‘context’ from which you’d diligently (I guess) ‘divorced’ your ‘quote’.

    Howard, you’re a scream and I loves ya! Mmmmwwaahhh!!

    Please enjoy the opportunity here of debating matters of politics, society, as well as this blog’s ‘widening remit’, without the imposition of an asinine device such as TrollDelay™.

  15. Jeremy Sear

    Yeah, there wasn’t a general point about the media that this post made, was there Howard.

    If the “intellectual dishonesty” part isn’t obvious to you – which apparently it isn’t – let me spell it out. The media that run criticisms of the paparazzi ARE THEIR CUSTOMERS. They are largely responsible for their activities.

    And yet they run stories like this straight as if they had nothing to do with it. In this case, also ironically running a photo that couldn’t have looked more paparazzi-ish if they’d added the near-object blur deliberately in photoshop.

  16. Howard,B.

    Jack Sparraaggghhh

    You’re right! There it is! Under the ‘poison pen’ banner and grandiose Edward Lazarus quote, in amongst all the other high-minded claims that form the context from which you shamelessly divorced your quote. You know, all that other stuff around it that, when read in its entirety as intended, suggests this blog sees itself as something more impartial and noble than merely a chat-room where those possessed of a certain set of prejudices can sink the slipper into entities or individuals possessed of another.

  17. Coldsnacks

    Howard, you should definitely report us to the Press Council for exceeding a narrow definition of our mandate.

    But Jeremy, you don’t have a page 104 you can hide the judgement on, on a public holiday!

  18. Howard,B.

    Jeremy, I could, but from what I read here there would be little point. Maybe Crikey could become a constituent body thereof and shake things up from the inside?
    Alternatively, you could answer the question: wherein lies the ‘intellectual dishonesty’ here? Using your broad defintion of the mandate, of course.

  19. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    … We welcome debate about politics and society …

    Covered.

    Other than generally deploring the paparazzi as a festering sore on the rump of the cult of celebrity, I can’t think of anything much to add to Jeremy’s pithy observation on this.

  20. Jeremy Sear

    Ah, but we just used the screenshot on the grounds of fair use. We didn’t actually encourage the stalking of Middleton by paying for it…

    Howard, you should definitely report us to the Press Council for exceeding a narrow definition of our mandate.

  21. Durham Red

    Is it a crueler irony that your article berating the use of a paparazzi shot also has that paparazzi shot?

  22. Howard,B.

    Jeremy, given that the piece in question is merely reporting Middleton’s discontent and makes no judgements on the papparazzi themselves (itself?), wherein lies the ‘intellectual dishonesty’ here? Has the remit of this blog been widened to accommodate general irony in an attempt to further your news.com.au obssession?
    Or is it just a slow day at the office?

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