As you know I love a good Commission and I have established one to look into the grim events of last week in Rothbury. I am talking about, of course, the media coverage of the Raoul Moat story. It has nothing to do with my job of course – as far as I know no brollies were involved. No one has asked me to set up this Commission but I have gathered evidence from witnesses (my staff who saw it on the telly) and will present my findings in full shortly. For now here are some of the highlights.
I was in Turkey but I am told that the nation was gripped as a desperate, deluded and dangerous individual strung everyone along for over a week. Apparently Kay Burley was a disgrace. The anchor for Sky News milked the story for all it was worth on Sky’s 24 hour raouling news coverage. There was lots of cod-psycho-analytical babble but no real attempt to understand Raoul’s moatives.
Any slight development was reported as “breaking news” and an “exciting turn of events” as if it was an exercise in theatre not reportage on the conclusion to a tragic incident. We learned variously that:
Moat agrees to give himself up in exchange for promise that a film will be made of his story. Goes beserk when he learns James Corden lined up to play him.
Moat reported to be concerned he’ll be remembered mainly for wearing that orange T-shirt. Police concentrating search efforts on Matalan stores
Moat threatens to kill the wider public. Eric Pickles now in hiding despite police attempts to encourage him out.
Moat's gangs of petty criminals run amok throughout UK as police attention is focused on Rothbury.
Raoul Moat found hiding inside Prescott's ermine robe.
Cumbria looks across at old foe Northumberland and thinks "if only we had had this much time to think".
Flurry of activity reported in area at the centre of the hunt for suspected gunman Raoul Moat confirmed as media working itself into rabid frenzy.
New Moat letter found. "I can't take it any longer. I will give myself up peacefully if you just TELL KAY BURLEY TO SHUT UP".
Police say "no stone will be unturned" in search for Moat. Sir Mick Jagger reportedly furious at being woken up and rolled over.
Police find 3 of Moat’s mobile phones. Disgracefully, none of them is the latest iPhone.
Police statement says: “Only criminals carry 3 mobiles. We’re truly dealing with a wrong ‘un.”
Police say: "We are truly dealing with a nasty piece of work here. He could have recycled his mobiles for charity instead of just throwing them away."
All in all it was an emoational raoullercoaster. And it has taught us a lot. About our media and about ourselves if we revel in such a desperate and sorry tale as if it were entertainment and not the last desperate act of a broken individual, arguably let down by the system. Almost beyond parody.