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Monday, March 16, 2009 

Fritzl and media saturation.

There really is nothing quite like some good old fashioned humbug. The same media which rejoiced in the Josef Fritzl story, covering every sordid detail of the 24-year long abuse of his daughter even as it proclaimed itself shocked and horrified at what he had done, while chomping at the bit to ascribe to Austria as a whole the blame for the man, is now covering his trial in the same fashion. This should be one of those occasions where the media just leaves well alone, lets justice take its course and leaves the shattered family in peace, but of course someone somewhere would cover it, so therefore all of them have to. The Guardian is even crowing about being the only "broadsheet to have a correspondent in court throughout the trial", as if that's something to proud about. The person who abused therefore has his audience, through which the abuse can be continued and extended, even if for the last time.

This is nothing more than voyeurism of the worst kind, purveying the peversions to a salivating audience whilst pretending to simply be providing a public service. Then again, when you have the likes of Peter Hitchens saying with a straight face that women who are raped when drunk have to bear some of the responsibility, it's not entirely surprising that the Fritzl story has been proved to be so amazingly popular.

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I think I read in the Guardian at the weekend that Fritzl's daughter and her kids were in hiding, successfully attempting to recover from some of this horror as well as avoiding the hack carnival which had rolled into town, until a good old Brit Paparazzo burst into her kitchen and began snapping away. UK journalism at it's very finest.

Saturation reporting? That's nothing - have you not seen Sky News producer/reporter Julia Reid's Twitter feed from Austria?


"Josef Fritzl trivia - 132 people in Austria have the surname Fritzl. Most of them have been bothered by journalists this year"

"95 journalists and 3 members of the public installed again in the Sankt Poelten courtroom waiting for Josef Fritzl to arrive for 'D-Day'"

"Press tent at Josef Fritzl trial also filling up as journalists shelter from the heavy snow which is frosting Greg Milam's hair"

"As I reported yesterday, around 20 Josef Fritzl journalists went on tour of Sankt Poelten. Fritzl Schnitzel? http://tinyurl.com/c7ezsbabout"

"RT@esjoling The name Sankt Pölten is derived from Hippolytus of Rome. City was renamed Sankt Hippolyt, Sankt Polyt and finally Sankt Pölten... Thanks to our Swedish colleagues in the Josef Fritzl press tent for some interesting trivia."

"Cameraman Adam Boyle says it is amusing how many Fritzl journalists are walking around talking to themselves at the moment- script learning?"

Etc, etc, etc...

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