Monday, 8 September 2014

Trial By Media

Go on, admit it. When you were watching Alan Parker’s “The Commitments” and Jimmy Rabbit’s narrative throughout the film was in the form of an imaginary interview with Terry Wogan recalling the bands rise to stardom (even though the band hadn’t even had its first gig yet), you like me went…..”I can do that”.

I imagine this was the norm that every kid who ever picked up a guitar or a set of drum sticks and joined their first rock & roll band longed and envisaged to one day be ‘famous’.

I can’t lie, it did (secretly, I still do). I too used to have those long and worthy interviews with the likes of Michael Parkinson, Johnathan Ross or Piers Morgan (seriously, I’m that sad) about how I rose to fame and how I intended to use my semi God like musical status for the good of others, and yes I was dabbling with Hollywood and would love to accept the offer of a guest starring role in the next JJ Abrams project and how Joss Whedon had sent me the initial draft of his screen play of my life. Did I mention that Bob Geldolf and Bono have been courting me for advice on third world matters?

I wanted to be famous, known, recognised, popular….adored. My fantasy ego knew no bounds or limits.

That was until they invented trial by media and now I'm not so keen.

Can I say right from the off, so there be no misunderstanding. Those that harm children in any way, especially when it’s to meet their own twisted sexual gratification, should be chemically castrated (if you are feeling charitable) or have their wedding tackle removed with a rusty and blunt bread knife (if you’re not), providing they are males of course, Lord knows what to do if they aren't. There is no excuse for the destruction of innocence and anybody who is found guilty of such crimes deserves everything that the law can throw at them.

What I am talking about in this entry, is trial by media.

I always thought that within the spirit of this great legal system of ours, in the fair Isle of the United Kingdom, a person is presumed innocent until they are actually proven guilty. Seemingly in this new media led society of ours a person ‘accused’ is immediately and publicly pronounced guilty and in turn have to prove their own innocence. Even then the old adage of ‘No smoke without fire’ is normally brought to bear and a person’s once spotless and respected reputation is for ever tarnished or even ruined.

I am of course in this instance referring to Sir Cliff Richard.

I'm not making any judgement of innocence or guilt; thankfully that is not my charge or responsibility to make. This is for minds far more tuned and experienced than mine. I am, like thousands of others though, praying like mad that he is innocence as it will rock a lot of people’s worlds, as love him or loath him you cannot deny the guys has a HUGE devoted fan base.

I also along with Bassbin witnessed the Peter Pan of pop in his prime in 1978 rocking a capacity crowd at the Greenbelt festival to within an inch of its life. His rendition of ‘Rock that doesn't roll’ with special guest Larry Norman is still a fond memory BB and I often recall on our long journeys to visit our erstwhile friend, Quick Sketch (who has two Ivor Novella awards sat on his book case due to a song he wrote that was used by Cliff that went on to be the highest selling single of 1999). The long lasting, ever youthful pop star is extremely good at what he does, there’s no faulting him in that.

I would be gutted if yet another child hood hero of mine is locked up for being a pervert, as I am running out of them (child hood heroes that is, not perverts).

However; no matter how fond everybody is of Sir Cliff, if he is found conclusively to be guilty then he must burn. Them’s the rules and quite rightly so.

What sticks in my throat (man I'm having a rant today) is the fact that we the public knew that his house was being raid by the police before he did. To me that is bang out of order and an infringement on his civil liberties. Or is it just me?

Time and time again somebodies life is ruined by the media and press as a celeb has been ‘outed’ as a kiddie fiddler or whatever, only for it to be discovered that the accusations are false or evidence in error.

Surely this kind of sales driven attitude in the media not only destroys people’s reputations but also waters down the strength, integrity and earnestness of those that have genuinely been hurt and abused and are seeking justice and closure.

I can see the bookies laying the odds as we speak. “20:1 he’s guilty mate, that’s the best odds I can give. Well, it’s better than I can give you for him having the Christmas No 1 this year”.

Perhaps those reading this will have a different view and I welcome helpful comment. I am more than happy to be set straight on such an enormous subject. But it just got my goat!!

1 comment:

Stephen Deal said...

I completely agree. The whole post-Saville witch hunt seems to be primarily about the media feeling guilty/frustrated about having missed spotting the world's most obvious paedophile. Now they are are using a scattergun approach in case they miss another. If, and it is a big if, there is evidence of any credible kind then put it before a court, don't leak it to the media first in the hope of dredging up further unsubstantiated allegations.