Matthew Steeples suggests respected actor George Clooney and publicity desperado Karen Danczuk provide contrasting examples about the ethics of paparazzi intrusion and media manipulation
Paparazzi intrusion and media manipulation are interlinked hot potatoes that look unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Two very different examples emerged in recent days of very different behavior by so-called ‘personalities’ – yet each gives indication that something is not quite right with the situation as it stands.
Whilst ‘ordinary individuals’ – and such should include, for example, successful business people who do not choose to put themselves on any kind of public pedestal – unquestionably deserve privacy from press intrusion unless they do something criminal or opt to share details of something considered newsworthy, the issue of where is the line of public and private was importantly raised by George Clooney late last week. The actor promised to “prosecute to the full extent of the law” a magazine named Voici after they scaled the fence of his Lake Como home to take unauthorised pictures of his young twin babies, Ella and Alexander, and he is right to do so.
Whilst undoubtedly a public figure himself (and one whose fortune stems from such), Mr Clooney has a point. His offspring, through no fault of their own, have only become part of a media circus because of their parentage and the dangers that could result from their images being featured in the press are great. Stronger restrictions against unauthorised photography are indeed required internationally – especially in the domain of minors – and California, for example, was right to issue laws in 2013 that protected children from paparazzi cameras.
Elsewhere and though such publications as the Mail Online may thrive due to their enthusiasm for incognito shots, on Sunday that paper illustrated another type of shoddy journalism. In publishing a ‘story’ – if it could even be called such – about the tawdry ex-wife of the disgraced Labour MP Simon Danczuk, 34-year old Karen Danczuk, cavorting on a Spanish beach with her 26-year old “Spanish toyboy lover” as he proposed to her, that paper opted to mislead its readers.
Featuring images taken by an agency named Flynet Pictures, it is plain that Ms Danczuk – listed as a “current client” by Louise Clifford, the daughter of the jailed nonce and convicted sex offender Max Clifford, on the website of her Borne Media PR agency – staged the images contained in that article and that the Mail Online’s Stephanie Linning was, at the very least, complicit of playing along with what is nothing other than a moment of media manipulation. The public, however, did not fall for this and of the 320 comments on the article most were in the negative. One, which received 1,184 likes, remarked: “So it was a big surprise for her then with a camera on standby? Fixed photo opportunities!”
Shame on the Mail Online for falling for the desperado Karen Danczuk and her representatives and shame on Voici also for invading the Clooney children’s privacy. Such activities must cease and the sooner, the better.
Update: 8:30am, Monday 31st July 2017 – Karen Danczuk has now blocked @SteepleTimes on Twitter. Something about ‘heat’ and ‘kitchens’ comes to mind.