In the wake of their shocking handling of Jonathan Trott’s departure from England’s Ashes squad due to mental health issues, the Australian media should be asking how far are they willing to go just to sell a few newspapers?
Rather than show the smallest shred of compassion or concern for his well being, the manner in which our newspapers hung Trott out to dry is sadly just the latest example of the complete lack of accountability and standards in our media currently.
Since when did people with serious mental health issues become easy targets for our newspapers?
Is that what Australia’s press has become – bullies who ridicule and belittle those who are doing it tough?
In an age where rates of depression and suicide in males are at an alarming level, Jonathan Trott should be applauded for having the courage to come forward, put his hand up and say ‘I could use some help’.
That takes strength, I don’t care what anyone says.
What he (or any sufferer of mental illness for that matter) doesn’t need is to be belittled on a national scale by our daily newspapers and have his strength made to look like weakness.
So much great work has been done by many to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, but unfortunately it also doesn’t take much for that good work to be unraveled.
In Trott’s case, News Limited chose to trivialize his condition, and mental illness in general, with misleading and unflattering coverage of his Ashes exit.
The headline on the front page of Monday’s Australian read ‘Too Hot for Trott’.
The back page of the Herald Sun was equally unfair, with ‘Trott Off: Rattled Batsman packs bags for home’.
The Adelaide Advertiser completed the trifecta with ‘Trott Walks’ splashed all over the front page.
These unsympathetic headlines wrongly portray Trott as some sort of mental weakling, a guy who found the heat of the Ashes cauldron too much, so he took his bat and ball and went home (pardon the pun).
This crap couldn’t be further from the truth.
Clearly, Trott’s issues with stress, anxiety and depression have been a long time coming, and it seems the never-ending grind of the international cricket circuit has finally worn him down.
The Brisbane Test was simply the final straw, not the sole cause.
For the headlines to suggest Australia’s pace blitz on Trott in the first Test shell-shocked him into a hasty retreat out of the country is almost laughable, if it wasn’t such a downright offensive fabrication of the truth.
Therein lies the problem: the average punter probably won’t even venture inside the paper to read the articles on Trott, he will just form his opinion off the headlines, and as such the English batsman will be forever tarnished in their eyes as the guy who ‘walked away from the Ashes’.
It’s downright wrong.
The truth is in the last three Ashes series, all of which England has won, Trott has proven himself to be nothing short of an absolute warrior for the English cause.
Even if he never faces another delivery in Ashes encounters, he has already left an indelible mark on Test cricket’s fiercest rivalry.
Who could forget the 2009 series decider at The Oval, where Trott peeled off a nerveless century on debut to take the series away from Australia?
Or the 2010/11 series, where his tons at the Gabba and the MCG played a massive role in England/s eventual 3-1 series win?
In a rivalry that has broken as many careers as it has made, Trott’s legacy as an unflappable, dependable and courageous first drop batsman is secure – no matter what has just transpired.
Some of the journalists and sub-editors in this country need to start asking themselves how far they are willing to go, and how low they are willing to stoop, just for a headline.
The treatment of the English cricket team by our press on this tour, from the Courier Mail‘s cringe-worthy ‘Broad Ban’ campaign to the Trott saga, has been nothing short of disgraceful.
Embarrassed and ashamed are two other words that spring to mind when thinking about it.
Clearly the English cricketers agree with me, and I fully support their media ban on the Aussie press as they rally around and support their fallen comrade Trott.
A journalist without quotes is like a rifle without ammunition, so let’s see how our ‘gutter press’ fares without their daily dose of news from our English tourists.
I doubt whether Jonathan Trott even cares about our media’s portrayal of him, as he heads home and focuses on the important job of getting healthy again.
But some day soon there will be someone else like Trott who does care, and we need to ask ourselves how far we are willing to push them in order to just fill some space in a newspaper, before something terrible happens.
Let’s hope common sense can prevail before it comes to that.
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Trotting out headlines, but at what cost? have 1035 words, post on www.theroar.com.au at December 2, 2013. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.