A private funeral for the family of gunman Raoul Moat is happening later today, and will no doubt be a good enough excuse for the media to pick every last bit of flesh from his metaphorical news-corpse, as if they haven’t already completely kicked the arse out of one of the most overblown news stories in British history.
The service for Moat, who shot his former girlfriend before killing her new partner and blinding a police officer, before killing himself in front of Police on a Northumberland riverbank (yeah, I know, when you put it like that it hasn’t got quite as much of a Hollywood ring to it, has it?) is due to take place later.
The 37 year old’s six-hour stand-off with police was the scene of some of the most embarrassingly terrible news coverage I’ve ever seen – the highlights being journalists tweeting from peoples back gardens seemingly proud that they ignored the advice of the Police force, reporters convincing a women to have a private conversation with her terrified mother live on air – even going as far as asking the poor cow to put it on SPEAKERPHONE, and of course the live two-way from Sky News (which lasted around 20 minutes) where a presenter in London would read what he’d seen on the internet about Moat to a Rothbury-based (and utterly clueless) reporter who then would then read the same information he’d just gleaned BACK to the presenter, like he’d just found it under a fucking rock.
It would be nice, if out of respect for the dead, the British media could maybe just not report today’s service. No one cares any more, it’s not really news (‘PEOPLE HAVE FUNERAL FOR DEAD MAN SHOCKER’) and maybe as just a little nod to those who saw how stupidly out of hand the coverage of the original incident had grown, the press could say ‘fair enough, we’ll sit this one out’. Not one TV news channel or tabloid newspaper came off looking good out of the whole thing, and NOT covering this funeral in any way shape or form could be their chance to claw some respect back. The BBC might even be able partly erase the public’s anger that TWICE in one year their hard earned money has been wasted on a Moat.
In fact, thinking about it harder, maybe the best thing for the press to do would be to have their own service in Rothbury today, where heads bowed, cameras off, pencils away, they spend ten minutes thinking about the hysterical news mountain they created out of a sad little molehill, and weigh up the number of people they upset, hassled, and hindered to get it. Then they can have a reading by some of the police officers they ignored who can remind them that their irresponsible behaviour in Rothbury could well have contributed to a man’s death. And then they can have a big party thinking about all the money they made. And Paul Gascoigne can do the catering.