This Sun-Herald front page “exclusive” by Matthew Benns is one of the most despicable pieces of journalism I’ve seen in a while. Taking the eminently forgettable occasion of Prince Charles’ visit to Australia, Benns decides to chase down the disturbed young man who shot blanks at the Prince with a starters pistol during his last visit 11 years ago. The man has turned his life around and recently qualified as a barrister. As the story makes clear, all he wants to to is forget about the whole business.
Certainly 11 years ago was a traumatic experience and is something I don’t want to bring back those memories again … To think about it even now unsettles me a little bit … what happened back then was extremely traumatic and the effect it had on my family was deeply upsetting.”
The other people quoted in the story, including then premier John Fahey and his wife seem equally unhappy about revisiting it.
Faced with this kind of response to a story idea, a responsible journalist and editor would have quietly killed it. But not Benns or the Sun-Herald edito. Their idea of letting the guy move on is to splash his picture all over the front page. I am seriously considering cancelling my subscription as a result of this.