Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Movies That Should Be Made: The Raoul Moat Case and The Media


I remember back when I used to watch 24 hour news being at once drawn into and repulsed by the stuff I saw on it. One of the events that really brought 24 hour news into its darker depths was the 2010 Northumbria Police manhunt, in which Raoul Moat, who had only been released from jail for two days, shot his ex-girlfriend, her new partner and a police man with a sawn off shot gun, then went on the run for six days. After six hours of negotiations, Moat shot himself.

As horrific these events are, it was the absurdities of some of the details that the case brought up, as well as the obsessive amount of coverage the news channels had about it, that really made the case seem more horrific then what it should have seemed.

Charlie Brooker in one of his Screenwipe episodes for that year perfectly parodies and criticises the media's audacity in reporting this case; newspapers showing a photo of the two month old Moat "clenching his fists", reporters blocking the road for the police, a BBC reporter talking to a terrified woman in the isolated area while her daughter panics, Sky advertising their 3D service during the reporting, raiding Moats letters, and later replaying and replaying the final shot Moat made when he killed himself.

There's even the celebrity aspect of it that makes the whole thing seem made for TV; Paul Gascoigne claimed to be "good friends" with Moat and had brought him a KFC and a beer, and the recent revelations that Ray Mears was hired by the police to track Moat.

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Why should it be made? In the age of the Leverson Inquiry and other such criticisms of the media, it is important that we question why the media reports the way it does, and how it is allowed to do such things. If there ever was a movie to be made about this case, it should be less about Moat and his victims and more about the effect of the media on Moat, on the audience, and on the media itself. It is well known now that murder inspires murder (Moat's murders happened exactly one month after the Cumbria murders where Derrick Bird killed 12 people), and that these types of crime escalate in relation to the amount of coverage they gain.

Layla



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