Two of the best articles I've read on the media reaction to the terrible events in Norway last week:
Firstly, Charlie Brooker on the hideous speculation that ran through the rolling news networks on Friday. Reassuringly I was not alone in becoming increasingly angry at the coverage:
If anyone reading this runs a news channel, please, don't clog the airwaves with fact-free conjecture unless you're going to replace the word "expert" with "guesser" and the word "speculate" with "guess", so it'll be absolutely clear that when the anchor asks the expert to speculate, they're actually just asking a guesser to guess. Also, choose better guessers. Your guessers were terrible, like toddlers hypothesising how a helicopter works. I don't know anything about international terrorism, but even I outguessed them.
Secondly, in the wake of the suspected gunman's 'far right manifesto' that has recently emerged, words of wisdom from an unlikely source - Boris Johnson in the Telegraph. Johnson correctly points out that there are borrowed quotes from the British right wing press to assist Breivik's agenda. Indeed, Twitter's gone nuts this morning, noting that Breivik cites the vile Melanie Phillips at length. There are questions to be raised about Phillips and her ilk but as Johnson concludes this really shouldn't be because a mentally disturbed attention seeker has killed innocent people:
Michael Ryan had no ideology in Hungerford; Thomas Hamilton had no ideology in Dunblane. To try to advance any other explanation for their actions – to try to advance complicated “social” factors, or to examine the impact of multiculturalism in Scandinavia – is simply to play their self-important game. Anders Breivik may have constructed a portentous 1,500 page manifesto, but like so many others of his type he was essentially a narcissist and egomaniac who could not cope with being snubbed. We should spend less time thinking about him, and much more on the victims and their families.