News?

Dear Today Programme,
I have found the trial of Anders Breivik horrific, but not for the obvious reasons. The nadir was John Humphrys asking a Norwegian lawyer on Today whether ‘giving Anders Breivik a soapbox’ was morally justifiable. (Edward Sturton asked a similar question on Sunday.) The Norwegian courts are not giving Breivik a soapbox – the media are. You can almost hear Steve Rosenberg rubbing his hands with voyeuristic glee as he has something really meaty to melodramatise. Every last detail has been commented on, even though this case and Breivik’s behaviour are not unique, and present psychological and ethical issues covered by many analyses of, for example, Germany in the 1930s. We do not need to know that he gave a fisted salute or stumbled when interrogated or that he wore shoes. An announcement that the trial had started and another about the result would suffice. Please stop this penny-dreadful approach to serious stuff.

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