Huw Edwards. Who is the victim here?
I don’t have a hot take on the Huw Edwards story, more of an increasingly chilly one. As the days go by and the media, both mainstream and social, are awash with performative empathy for the guy, I keep wondering exactly who the victim is here… I can’t help but see this whole affair as being about many complex abuses of power.
It would far be easier to write a tribal polemic. Indeed, I have read many that amount to “Evil Sun/Murdoch vs Benign BBC/innocent-but-flawed newsreader”. No criminality was found by the police, therefore all the moral panic was unjustified. There was no public interest in this story and a man who already suffered depression is now in a very bad way.
I am afraid I just don’t see it in these simplistic, black-and-white terms.
It seems to me that the more we learn about this sorry affair, the more we realise that we still don’t yet know. This is a very unsatisfactory position for many a commentator to find themselves in. But, typically, instead of exploring this potentially interesting ambiguity, they refuse and deny it. Hence the jostling for space on the high moral ground, and the rush to condemn the wicked tabloid press for ruining a man’s life and offering a convenient distraction from way more pressing political stories (Johnson’s WhatsApps/Biden’s visit, full of visible “lapses”/Southern Europe burning). This is the conventional lefty position, a Succession-lite plot, and it was mine, too, until I thought about it a bit more.
When the story first broke, it was all gossipy titillation: who was the figure at the centre of the storm? The Sun cleverly piqued our innate desire to be In The Know, playing tittle-tattle Wordle for the middle classes who don’t even read that rag. Were you one of those who could name the man in question? Well, I could early on, but that’s because I am a journo and, even in these supposedly “woke”, post-#metoo times of ours, celebrity juice like this is the currency that continues to be exchanged between practitioners of the Dark Art when we rub shoulders on the yellow brick road.
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