Women as a News Commodity

Alastair Campbell feels the same unease that I have been trying to articulate over recent news reports about Madeline McGann.

There are some people so famous, so much the focus of media attention and public conversation, that they cease to be viewed by many as human beings. Britney has joined them. She is a news commodity, stories about whom are so marketable that the true ones are gorged upon and, when the true ones dry up, the invented ones keep the market moving along nicely.

In the case of Britney, I think she probably sees herself as a news commodity too. Last week’s pictures of her sitting in the gutter (unavoidable if you were using public transport in London, where the London Lite and the londonpaper are ubiquitous) seemed to be taken from particularly close quarters, yet she seems oblivious. Like the chirruping of crickets in tropical climates, Britney has tuned out the clicking and flashing that follows her everywhere.

Obligatory ad hominem

The problem that Alastair Campbell complains about, the “journalism utterly devoid of humanity” is its disingenuity. The Express, with their regular Monday morning Diana stories, claim to care deeply about our lost, troubled princess… when in fact we know they care very little about her, or how her sons might be feeling. Likewise with the McGann’s, and the faux sympathy which can disappear on a sixpence. Unfortunately, Mr Campbell spent eight years as the government’s disingenué in chief, and I worry that his column will be greeted with nothing but cynicism.

I googled “Britney Spears”. Within 0.11 seconds, up popped 81,500,000 results.

Also, he needs to cut down on the Google clichés.

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