Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cause and Effect and Attention-Seeking

The BBC, on its website (, ran the following tragic headline on the 08th of June, 2011, "Man stabbed to death for £12 on birthday in Fulham".

The article describes how a young man, Mr. Krzysztos Rusek, celebrating his birthday, his thirtieth in a public park in the company of his lover and friends, was attacked and killed.

It goes on to suggest that robbery was the motive and that a total of GBP 12 was taken.

The headline, on the other hand, implies that Mr. Rusek was murdered for the sake of GBP 12. Now, it is absurd that that the attackers knew in advance that they would be able to make away with this sum. Indeed, the article suggests that the attack was carried out with intent to rob (it describes the assailants as robbers and not, say, murderers) and not necessarily to kill.

The headline is thus an example of shabby journalism, in that truth is sacrificed in order to pander to sensationalism.

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