The recent case of fugitive gunman Raul Moat, has raised important questions about the role of intense, media coverage.
Raul Moat’s brother claims that Moat had access to the rolling coverage. Angus Moat claims that after seeing tabloid headlines proclaiming that even his own mother thought he was ‘Better Off Dead’ Raul believed he had no other option than to take his own life.
In the time after his death, the media’s intense reporting appears to be making an anti hero out of Moat. Quotes from Moat have highlighted his police persecution complex and have struck a chord with some people. This coverage has culminated in ITN’s publication of social services interviews with Moat from August 2009, highlighting the scrutiny he felt he was under from police and his requests for help.
Coverage like this seems to be increasing sympathy for Moat, a R.I.P Raul Moat group on Facebook has attracted over 25,000 members. The media in such unique and dangerous situations obviously has a crucial role to play in providing the public with information. It was essential for example, for the people of Rothbury to get up constant updates from police for their own safety. We live in a world of rolling 24 hour news that squeezes every bit of information and headline out of a story. When however media coverage is sited as an explicit factor contributing to a man taking his own life and creating an anti hero out of a cold, blooded murderer, we question is a moral line is being crossed?