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Mis-Communicator of the Week: The Guardian

29th May 2013

The news of the past days has rightly been dominated by the horrific murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on a London street. Shocking and disturbing images of the attackers immediately after the murder were taken by passers-by. These men stood and waited for the police to arrive and asked for their photos to be taken. In doing this, these young men appear to understand the power of social and traditional media to communicate their message of hate.

Therefore, the way The Guardian dealt with the story, becoming a channel for the attackers message, is disappointing. Thursday’s front page of the paper was a full page, full colour picture of one of the attackers brandishing a knife with blood on his hands alongside the quote “You people will never be safe”.

Some would see it as insensitive to the family of Lee Rigby, while others might think it incredibly naive of a national newspaper to act in this way. If ever, in the planning of something as gruesome and inhumane as this attack, those involved had thought about what they wanted to achieve then this coverage from The Guardian was probably exactly it.

Terrorism of any kind is designed to frighten and change the way we go about our lives. This edition of The Guardian may well have helped these terrorists achieve these aims more quickly.

The BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, was quick to apologise after he directly quoted a source to describe the attackers. His swift apology and explanation of how he came to use a term that some found offensive and, in his words, “a racist generalisation” was in stark contrast to the lack of care shown by The Guardian.

The death of a man who had served this country with distinction deserved better from The Guardian. Following the lead of those who wish to terrorise us was also stupid which is why they are my Mis-Communicator of the Week.

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications

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