Letters to the Editor

'Known to police' phrase is libelling the dead

Editor: I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend with professional media outlets the past decade or so. There is cheap, tabloid-like reporting which seemingly gets worse and worse as the years go by.

Whenever a person dies an unnatural or suspicious death, or when our saintly police forces are involved in the slightest degree, the media diligently report to the slavering public that the deceased person was . . . “known to police.”

Why? What is the point of this? It’s tragic enough that the person has lost their life, but now it must be publicized with a not-so-veiled implication that “they deserved it” because they were “known to police?”  Truly?

There are plenty of good-hearted and good-natured people who unfortunately have criminal records.  These people give their time and monies to charity, help old ladies across the street, take in and nurture injured animals, and give comforting words and deeds to those who are hurt and suffering.  But all those nuances that define the term “human being” mean nothing to certain uncouth newspaper editors and media managers whose only apparent care in the world is ratings and profit margin via sensationalism.

God forbid an editor ever runs afoul of the law.  One can only hope their successor follows due diligence and reduces their life’s good work to a mere label once they give up the ghost — a label touted by those who don’t exactly have a sterling record for crimes as a corporate whole, either, it must be stated.

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest member” — that saying can be suitably translated in this context, for there is none more unable to defend themselves than those who have lost their lives.   Ridiculing the dead is hardly becoming of a great nation, or of a decent human being, and it’s painfully disrespectful to family members in mourning.

It’s tantamount to desecrating their grave with libelous graffiti.

Farren McDonald,

Port Coquitlam

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