It’s been a long time since my last update and while I’ve been meaning to write about my updates (new flat, new job, new hobbies) I just haven’t had time! I’ll get to all that in due time but for now, I have to dedicate my first blog entry in a month to an event that has had me griping all day long.
So I’m not sure how big of a deal this is across the Atlantic but something happened here that’s been splashing the headlines since Tues Dec 4. Let’s recap: Australian radio show 2Day FM played a prank pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles and called the hospital where Kate Middleton was staying. In case you haven’t heard it, you can find it here (just scroll down a bit to where it says “Listen to Mail Online’s edited version of the prank call).
You can tell instantly that it was meant to be a joke. They sound as much like the Queen and Charles as I sound like Morgan Freeman. They never expected to be put through the switchboard. Yet, they did and what ensued afterwards now has England in an uproar, me included. But apparently, I don’t agree with the majority.
Once the radio clip aired the comments started flowing in…and this resulted in the suicide of the nurse who took the call and put the transfer through. In case you haven’t read the story, here are some links to save you some search time:
Hospital bosses turn against radio show for humiliating nurses (The Telegraph)
Death of U.K. hospital nurse strengthens call for new privacy laws (Globe and Mail)
So out of all these titles the only one I can look at without disgust is the Globe and Mail’s. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the consequences of what happened are really horrible and it’s really tragic that a death resulted in it but there are a few things I need to address:
1. There should be more focus on the fact that hospital security WAS breached. Why was it so easy for the call to be put through? Something was obviously missed and protocols should certainly be reviewed. The DJs exposed a flaw in the hospital’s system and due to the way it was exposed (a prank) they’ve been condemned. If a ‘serious’ undercover investigation had been launched and aired by Dateline/20-20/60 Seconds (sorry, I only know North American news shows) the same thing would have been aired on TV but it would have been taken much more seriously. Somehow I don’t think Barbara Walters would’ve received hate mail if she had been the one who’d exposed the hospital’s error.
2. According to the media (I say this with a grain of salt and a huge eye-roll) the hospital didn’t discipline or suspend the nurse for the event. Also stated was that “At no point during the process did the Duke and Duchess lay any blame on anyone there. They only offered their sympathy and support at the time, and even more so now.” PR people working their best so everyone can maintain their angelic image or is this truth? Who knows. But if there really wasn’t any discipline given and all was good with Kate and the family then I think the nurse involved must have had other issues going on to jump to such a drastic level. People react to things differently but this was an emotionally extreme reaction.
3. People are saying things to the DJs like “You deserve to go to hell. You have blood on your hands”, but as pointless and stupid as the prank was they did not kill her. If anything, the media has blood on their hands because it’s the media that has let everything that has unfolded get to the level it has reached. These radio shows exist to entertain and that’s what they did. TV shows like Punk’d do the exact same thing and everyone has a good laugh. Prank calls are done on a global basis and it’s not a crime. Just God forbid someone does anything to the Royal family. Newspapers who are blasting out titles like the ones I have listed above are doing it to increase sales and both magnifying and propagating the story for their own self-interest. From Tuesday until now the wording has changed from “prank” to “cruel hoax”. The hospital has managed to turn a situation where their security measures should have been made priority to being ‘victims’ of a CRUEL HOAX. Give me a break.
News like this gets pumped out because people (especially those in the UK) crave and suck in anything Royals-related. If the exact same thing happened to Victoria Beckham it would’ve been a quick ‘hee hee’ and been done and over with. People stick the Royal family on some kind of pedestal and everything related to them just seems to get blown out of proportion times a million.
3. Quit it with your self-righteousness. When the story first broke out everyone was all ha-ha-ing about it and people were originally wanting her to get fired. Now with the death everyone’s condemning those who thought the prank was funny. The story has evolved over the past days…when the hospital originally responded to the situation they stated they were ‘deeply embarrassed’. According to The Globe and Mail article John Lofthouse, the hospital’s chief executive, said the call never should have gone through. He said patients like the Duchess had secure phone lines and that staff had been trained not to fall for such stunts. The mood lightened when Prince Charles joked with reporters during an event on Thursday: “How do you know I’m not a radio station?”
Then everything changed Friday morning when the nurse was found dead in her apartment and public fury was unleashed.
So people are now commenting, tweeting, airing out their rage, saying things like “The Aussie morons should get fired”, “the radio DJs should be charged for manslaughter”, “I hope that the people who instigated the idiocy that led to this have a hard time living with themselves”, “get rid of these low lifes”, “take that picture off, it’s disgusting to look at them!!!”, “stand up and face the music, you vile and horrible couple” and apparently what’s not being realized is they’re doing the same thing that likely drove the nurse to suicide. The pressure built up, she was berated and now the exact same thing is happening to the DJs. If all this backlash were to result in their deaths could we then say “you have blood on your hands, you drove them to kill themselves”? It’s easy to say all this because they’re among a mass of people, hiding behind the internet. Bystander effect. I’m seeing so many comments such as “hope your realize your actions have consequences” and doubt many people see the hypocrisy in their words.
Final thoughts are: I know that I represent about 2% of people who aren’t hating the DJs. I’ve been reading the comments associated with the articles and my opinions tend to side with the ones who get 86 thumbs down or a -8000 rating. But I think the DJs did something routine (aka typical of that kind of radio show that people would normally enjoy) that resulted in something tragic and are now being royally (pun intended) punished. They can be blamed for doing something in bad taste, but murder? To put very ineloquently, this whole situation just really f’n sucks.