17
Aug
09

The bad mother weekly

Is there any justification for the splash in yesterday’s Sunday World? If you missed it, it was basically an attack on Melissa Mahon’s mother. The Real Irish Sunday went to great lengths to point out how Mary Mahon, whose daughter Melissa was killed by Ronnie Dunbar, missed the funeral due to being too ill, yet was able to go on an eight hour drinking binge afterwards.

Media commentators have long pointed out that tabloids often confuse the public interest and what the public are interested in. But in this case I’m not convinced the public are really that interested in this one. Perhaps I’m letting my optimistic view on humanity cloud my judgement, but do people really want to join a rabble against a mother who’s lost a daughter, no matter the circumstances? I for one read only a couple of paragraphs. That’s all I had the stomach for.

I felt a great contempt for this woman (not helped by the photos they used) until I realised that’s what the newspaper wanted me to feel. Basically, we were being sold an outrage. Usually I don’t have a problem with this, it’s what tabloids do, but this time?

Assuming the story is true (which is by no means a certainty), who are we to judge a woman in this position? Could it be that guilt prevented her from attending the funeral, and the same guilt is driving her to drink? I don’t know, but I do know that the attitude of the Sunday World was puerile and smug, and characteristic of no society I want to be a part of.

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