Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tips For Dealing With The Media When You've Raised A Problem Child

Tip No 1: Don't agree to the photograph unless you look sympathetic.

I mean, I can see your little hellion is a pretty husky lass for 10, but a flowery dress, and bow in her hair, and you standing on a box would help to say 'I'm just a poor wee lass who was scared when the big bad policeman put me in handcuffs', rather than a hardened little thugette who'd sneer at a fully-equipped CIA interrogation team armed with Black & Deckers.

Oh, it helps if you dress in your sunday best too. What's that? This is your...?

Oh, ok then.

Tip No 2: Don't give the reporter a statement that incriminates your little hellspawn.
Mr Blake said: 'Shannon had been playing in the BMX park when she went to stroke this man's dog.

'He shouted at her so she slapped him and gave him a push. My daughter has never been in trouble before. She's a bit of a tomboy but that's it.'
You see, Mr Blake, where you come from, it may seem perfectly natural that the response to someone shouting at you is physical violence.

But...trust me on this one, ok, I'm here to help...where most people come from, it would be considered a totally unwarranted assault, and that's a crime. Yes, it'd be a crime if you did it too. It would be a little bit more expected from you, because frankly, you...

Well, let's not go into that. Suffice to say, it's not considered normal behaviour for a ten year old. Especially a girl.

Tip No 3: Don't whine about how unjustly you feel she was treated by the police when you've totally ignored Tips No 1 and 2.

Trust me, people aren't going to read this story and think 'Poor child!':
He said: 'It seems absolutely ridiculous, she was treated like a criminal. I never received any information about it until more than two hours later.

'They locked her in a cell with a bucket if she wanted to use the toilet.

'They took her shoes away and the strings of her trousers.

'They finger-printed her and took her photo and then gave her a sandwich and half a cup of cold tea.

'It's absolutely appalling they can treat a 10-year-old in that way - what they did was really heavy-handed.

'What are they doing putting cuffs on a young girl? They should have just brought her home to me and I would have dealt with it.'
Mr Blake, how can I put this...?

OK, first off, she wasn't tasered or pepper sprayed (which maybe took a bit of restraint on the cops' part), she was treated as any other young girl who'd assaulted a stranger would be.

And secondly, I'm sure you can see that people aren't about to take your word that you'll 'deal with it' on account of the fact that you've raised a child who acts like she does in the first place.

You can see their point, surely? What's that? No, no, I absolutely wasn't calling you 'Shirley'..!

Tip No 4: Don't be economical with the truth.

Because if the police story seems to indicate that maybe your little angel isn't the aggrieved party you are making her out to be, they'll print that too.

And then won't you look stupid?
But police say they received a 999 call from a member of the public claiming that up to 20 youths were attacking a man who had been walking his dog.

Shannon was arrested with two boys aged 16 and 15 and taken to Heavitree Road Police Station in Exeter, Devon...'Handcuffing a 10-year-old is never done as a matter of routine. A decision was made by the officer at the scene, based on the girl's demeanour, likelihood of escape and likelihood of injuring someone else.

'The officer that made the decision considered it serious enough to use the handcuffs.
Ooops! Check the comments, Mr Blake. You haven't helped, have you?

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

9 comments:

James Higham said...

You see, Mr Blake, where you come from, it may seem perfectly natural that the response to someone shouting at you is physical violence.

We live in ASBO land now.

Witterings From Witney said...

This type of story is a result of an individuals wish for their 15 minutes of fame and also the possibility of 'compensation'.

And these people can vote?????

Sue said...

"husky", that's polite of you:) She's scary looking for 10 and the nasty little face she is pulling!!!

Not enough bottom smacks and no guidance from her "father"..

Being a tomboy did not mean hanging around with teenage boys in a BMX stunt park when my daughters were 10.

It meant climbing trees and playing with mecanno instead of dolls!

JuliaM said...

"We live in ASBO land now."

Indeed...

"This type of story is a result of an individuals wish for their 15 minutes of fame and also the possibility of 'compensation'."

Yes! I wouldn't be surprised if the thought of 'compo' was dancing in dear daddy's head while he was hanging himself in print with a no-doubt sniggering 'Daily Fail' cub reporter.

"Being a tomboy did not mean hanging around with teenage boys in a BMX stunt park when my daughters were 10. "

Me neither. And if ever raised a voice to an adult, let alone a hand, I wouldn't have sat down for a week!

JuliaM said...

Wow!

When I put this into the queue yesterday evening, there were about 20 comments (all unfavourable). There's now over 300, the vast majority still unfavourable.

I wonder if Mr Blake is capable of learning anything from this...?

madne0 said...

She looks a couple of years away from her first heavyweight bout. Jesus...

Von Spreuth said...

JuliaM said...

Wow!

When I put this into the queue yesterday evening, there were about 20 comments (all unfavourable). There's now over 300, the vast majority still unfavourable.

I wonder if Mr Blake is capable of learning anything from this...?


Only if enough people post it to him.

What IS his address?

Von Spreuth said...

Ahh.

Here you go;

Michael Blake Sycamore Road, Tiverton, Devon.

If EVERYONE that thought hios daughter was scum sent copies of the comments pages from the newspapers to him, he MAY get the message. Mine will be in the opost within the hour.

Paul said...

A lot more people need this kind of advice than you'd think Julia as they just don't focus on other things that are going on and looking at things from other points of view - low self-esteem par excellence!

Gave me a chuckle too. :-)