MISERY MAKES MONEY AND WE BUY IT

While the Toronto papers last week had varying themes, one of the most visible was by far the tragic double murder of two apparently well-respected parents from Woodbridge, Ontario.

I say the most visible because of a cover story that ran at the end of last week in one of the two city dailies. As I passed a Sun box, I began reading the headlines and looked at the pictures, and it was then that I realized we were all doing what we claimed was in bad taste only a few months ago.

With the impending release of the movie “Deadly” which dealt with the horrific murders of three young schoolgirls by a Canadian couple, people in communities all across Canada voiced their ‘moral objections’ to the flick being released in Canada. I had asked why this was at the time. It seems we love murder, blood, and evil. It it a resounding theme in all of the most watched television shows and movies that are released these days. There are I don’t know how many C.S.I. or Law and Order shows now, and the list of detective series continues to grow.

Why is it that we rally against one gratuitous movie in the name of decency, but embrace countless others? Is this not a huge case of hypocrisy on our parts? I wonder how many of the same people who feigned disgust at the Homolka film have been lapping up the latest double homicide?

Factual reporting and a right to know supercede any threat to a families comfort or right to privacy, but it is with sadness that I have watched this most unfortunate story unfold.

The heinous acts which surely must be tearing the heart out of this family were bad enough. Imagine how they now feel, as did the French’s and Homolka’s, as their family member’s pictures become a daily sight. Not only are their images being used to procure an income, the stories that are being printed are now apparently as far from the truth as they could possibly be.

As Michele Mandel of the Sun said in her online column, Inspector Clouseau is back. It seems now that the Mexican authorities, and namely the chief investigator, are not up to the task. They have bungled their investigation, and apparently drew up their Canadian hitman theory on perhaps nothing more than the fact that only Canadian hitmen would have to use knives, as our guns are all registered and our criminals obey our gun laws.

So now we have a family whose mourning is not only deeper than any of us could begin to imagine, they have two added burdens on their hearts. Not only do they know deep within that all chances of justice are greatly diminished with each new error on the part of the Mexican authorities, they also get to watch a daily rehash of the nasty events, the sordid details written out, and their parents’ good name besmirched with irresponsible reporting that seizes upon sensationalist headlines that use words as ‘professional hit’ and ‘organized crime.’

I have no problem with freedom of the press, and understand that it is paramount to a free country. I think though, that there comes with that freedom a great responsibility, and that is to report the news. We sometimes exceed that in our columns, and for the most part, it is consciously done in the name of copy; that being the ability to move more papers or to attract more viewers.

The next time we stand up and collectively display discomfort at a movie producers very tasteless choice for movie content, we need to ask if part of the reason that some of them make tacky movies is because some of us are tacky enough to eat it up.