Saturday, March 01, 2008

Prince Harry and the media

The media were right not to report the fact that Harry was serving in Afghanistan. They have to be responsible when Britain is at war. You may think the war misguided, but reporting it in a way that puts British troops at risk is not the answer.

But there is a scandal surrounding the coverage of Prince Harry.

It is not the media's failure to report Harry's presence in Afghanistan. It is their cloying treatment of him once the story broke. They have allowed themselves to be used in a campaign to restore his image in the eyes of the British people.

Last time Harry was pictured so widely in uniform, it was a Nazi one. This time he has been broadcast in stage mangaged and recorded footage designed to show him to best advantage - though I am old-fashioned enough not to like seeing the third in line to the throne wearing a baseball cap with the Stars and Stripes that extolls the gung ho attitudes of US forces.

I admire Harry's courage, but does that fact that a young officer in the current-day British army has been sent to serve in Afghanistan make much of a story? It certainly is not worth the whole of the evening bulletin, which is what ITV gave it on Friday.

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