Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Monday, December 10, 2012

FATAL HOAX? Fake tears, so-so apology, but not a crime

Another apology I'm not buying came from the Australian DJs who pranked a hospital and its nurse, mocking England's queen as the world and Matt Lauer wondered how the pregnant princess was doing.

OK, I shouldn't gripe about Lauer's show and its almost unpatriotic love of everything royal. I've got nine months of that ahead of me.

But the apologies offered by the now-canned DJs whose prank may have proven fatal rings very hallow. Of course, they are sorry that the person they pranked may have committed suicide. They never intended that.

A gap in their story: They never expected to get through. But if they taped the segment and they got through, why air the segment if that was not what the attended.

(Further bullshit from the station, they said they tried to call the hospital five times after the prank and before it aired. Hmm. They get through when pranking but can't get through to alert hospital to impending airing....right.)

Their apology included phrases like, "this has happened" to nurse Jacintha Saldanha. No, not what happened, but what "we did."

However, they weren't to blame for the death.  One cannot know that someone may commit suicide over an action. What about laying people off from their jobs? What about a bad grade?

Now, impersonating someone could be a fraud, so perhaps there is a crime; but to say this prank or impersonation caused a suicide is going too far. Sure, fire the DJs. Sure, hate and stop listening to the station. Write an angry letter. But they can't be charged with a crime or, I think, even sued. Someone committing suicide is making their own decision to end their life. It's too bad it happened. And it was a stupid prank, but these pranks go on all the time, and we can't legislate good taste.

And they've tried and tried over history to do so.

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