Monday, 17 November 2008

The continuing fallout from the Baby P case.

Rather sensibly, considering that the names of those involved in the Baby P case, protected by a court order, are currently flying around the internet like the latest unfunny meme, the Sun has closed down the comment sections on all its stories on the case, including on the article involving the suicidal social worker who was being told to kill herself by large proportions of those leaving messages.

It had first shut down comment on its message boards proper on Friday, a day before the article appeared, perhaps before the level of messages with their names proper included had reached their height. Predictably, although other sources are highlighting the Sun's original role in the names being distributed, Sky News is primarily blaming Facebook, although undoubtedly that site (which has a faintly terrifying 200,000 members in the Justice for Baby P group) has had a major role in it being made known. Other news sites that initially had the names of those involved available due to original articles on them being charged still existing online are also sensibly removing them, or are at least making them unavailable until the court order is rescinded. Only one major newspaper seems to be slow on that score.

Interestingly also, the Sun seems to be narrowing its targets in who should "pay the price for his little life". Originally it wanted all the social workers and the doctor involved sacked, as well as Sharon Shoesmith, the head of children's services in Haringey. In leader columns today (currently AWOL) and tomorrow it instead just wants Shoesmith to go. Could this possibly be because one of those it originally fingered, Sylvia Henry, has since been revealed to have wanted to take Baby P into care, but was apparently overruled by those above her? Similarly, the woman who the paper at the weekend described as being "suicidal" but nonetheless let readers comment on the article to urge her to go through with it, has also been described as having 18 cases on her books, more than the maximum 12 which they were supposed to have. It would be nice to think that when the facts change newspapers similarly change their opinions, but it'd also be nice to think that newspapers wouldn't run witch-hunts against such people when the whole facts are not known. Hopefully Henry and Ward will be forgiving of the paper for the letters, bricks and other nasty things that have probably been coming through their doors since their "naming and shaming".

(Cross-posted, word for word, from mine.)


jimlad said...

Terrible as this case is, the fact that it's dominated the news so much shows how rarely these things happen.

Someone in management needs to take responsibility, find out what went wrong, and make the required changes.

To start mass sackings of the already stressed social services will lead to more Climbies and Baby P's.

Tim said...

A comment on that Sly News article that they *didn't* publish this morning:

Why is there no mention of the two newspapers that last week offered the mother's name to the public via near-to-indentical paragraphs that included the name of the social networking site the mother could be found on and a direct quote from it (basically a neon-lit invitation to "Google me!")?

Could it perhaps have something to do with those newspapers (The Times and The Sun) being Murdoch-owned?

Could your focus on the role of Faceboook have anything to do with it being a competitor for the Murdoch-owned MySpace?

Or are there other reasons why your account is woefully incomplete?

... and one that they *did* publish:


It must be soul-destroying working for Murdoch. My heart goes out to his wage-slaves everywhere.

claude said...

Hi,I'd have e-mailed you but I couldn't find out how... So I'm sorry I have to leave a comment.
However, your blog is excellent. About time someone else decided to highlight the noxious nature of The Sun in our society.

About the Baby P case and how they're goading the hounds, you may be interested in this post at Birmingham's Hagley Road to Ladywood. Here's the link:

Finally... how can we contact you by email?

septicisle said...

claude: We don't actually have a group email, but you can contact me at or Tim at

Tim said...

claude: The plan was to make every editor contactable via their individual profile links. Apologies for not making this clearer/easier.