Trial by media

Yesterday I found myself getting a bit irritated by the attitude of a few people towards the death of Heath Ledger. The first thing that has been bugging me is the way people read something in the media and then speak on it as if they are an expert and it is a fact. “Oh, it was a drug overdose.” Really? You know that because you were there? Or because you read it on some website or heard some person in the cafeteria say it?

The second thing that is bugging me – and much more seriously than the first – are the people that are picking up on that so-called ‘fact’ and judging the man for it. “Well it’s hard to have sympathy for someone that did that to themselves”. What the hell? You’re in a position to judge someone on something you are presuming, because you know their circumstances and are in a position to rule that they were reckless and their life is somehow worth less than yours?

So you see that my reaction is a strong one.

I’ll confront the first point first. When will we learn that you can’t rely on what you hear in the media? The story changes on an hourly basis. Even worse – different sites report different things at the same time! It turns into chinese whispers and people start reporting facts that are about as true as the fact that I’m 2nd in line to the English throne. (That’s not true, by the way.) I have been in two situations in my life where things have happened to friends of mine and they have been misrepresented in the media. One involved the murder of someone I loved and the second was a friend that got caught up in a ‘drug scandal’. He was hung, drawn and quartered in the public eye, only to have his charges dismissed because they were false. Funnily enough, that wasn’t whispered about in the hallways.

So come on people, before you start buying into the hype, step back and have a think about what you’re actually doing and who you might be affecting.

And then there’s the drug thing. Let’s make an assumption for a minute (and that’s all it is – an assumption) that the man did drugs (which calls to mind for a moment just how incredible he was in Candy). That does NOT give anyone the right to judge him. It sure as hell doesn’t mean that he should get any less sympathy than anyone else. People choose to do drugs for all sorts of reasons, all of which are their own business. Some people – and it would make sense that actors would be right at the top of that list – have things going on in their heads that we can’t begin to comprehend. They live lives in a pressure cooker and occasionally something has to give.

So until you’ve lived inside someone else’s head or walked a mile in his shoes, how about remembering him for all the good things he did and showing him a little respect.

Not to mention giving his family a break while they pick their hearts up off the floor.


One thought on “Trial by media

  1. I completely agree wholeheartedly. 🙂

    In fairness, none of us are really perfect, and we’re all susceptible to a bit of media-blaze now and again. The point, and the one you made quite well, is to stop and think about it before opening your mouth about something you perhaps don’t know really all that much about.

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