Log Cabin Chronicles

WRONG SCAPEGOATS, GUYS

John Mahoney

JOHN MAHONEY

The late Princess Diana's body hadn't turned cold before the masses were clamoring for the heads of the paparazzi who had been trailing her car.

Film stars, politicians, Mammoth Mart mamas -- all had something negative to say about journalists of all persuasions.

"Oh God, feel our pain...give us scapegoat to sacrifice..."

I reckoned at the time that the hue and cry raised against the photographers was pure bullshit and yes, it has turned out to be so.

Jon Katz, a media critic and social commentator, filed this report recently in Hot Wired, an on-line magazine.

    "It turns out that the police have determined the following:

  • The photographers were nowhere near the crash when it occurred; some were as far as two miles behind.

  • One did call the police on an alternate emergency number, then shouted to the others that he'd called, so that they wouldn't clog emergency lines and delay calls for paramedics.

  • No one impeded rescuers. Once police were summoned, several paparazzi attempted to photograph the accident scene, as any professional photojournalist would have done - and as numerous professionals have, as prominent personalities from John Kennedy to Anwar Sadat lay dying.

  • No one touched Diana or fired flashes in her face as she lay dying.

  • The photographers played no role in the crash of the Mercedes carrying Diana and her boyfriend Dodi. They were following her, as they follow many celebrities in central Paris -- but at normal speeds, from a safe distance, in an orderly way. At no time did anyone in Princess Diana's party call for help or suggest they were being harassed or threatened.

  • The photographers in no way violated France's privacy laws, the strictest in Europe."

Diana and Dodi had their 15 minutes. On to the next event...


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