Brian Cathcart, the painfully tedious professor who runs celebrity lobbyists Hacked Off, never ceases to talk about journalistic intrusion into private grief and exploitation of tragedy. Just last week he was extolling the virtues of the Royal Charter for press regulation, saying it would end such behaviour. Guido has always thought the public, rather than failed journalists turned pseudo-academics and politicians, should be the judge of what is appropriate and vote with their wallets if they find such behaviour distasteful. Cathcart himself should know more than anyone that the public are good judges of this sort of thing.
Take for example his own 2001 book ‘Jill Dando: Her Life and Death’ that ‘recounts Jill Dando’s development from gawky schoolgirl to glamorous celebrity’:
‘She was attractive, successful and, at the age of 37, about to marry the man she loved. Then, with a single bullet to the head, on her own doorstep, and in broad daylight, she became Britain’s most famous murder victim.’
What would Hacked Off have to say if say about a newspaper asked of the dead ‘the key question: Was she what she seemed?’ The public have had their say though; Amazon lists the book for a measly £1.97, though bargain hunters should note that there ‘63 used copies from £0.01’. As the caustic Tabloid Troll says: ‘I suppose the one saving grace for the Dando family is that this man is nowhere near victims of our publishing media nowadays’. Another tragedy for him to capitalise on?