“The Sickest Television Show Ever:” Paedogeddon and the British Press

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This paper explores the controversy caused by Paedogeddon, a one-off special of the Channel 4 series Brass Eye broadcast on July 26, 2001. Although the program sought to satirize inconsistencies in the way the British media treats and sensationalizes child sex offenders and their crimes (Clark, 20018. Clark , C. 2001. Hysteria is a threat to research. The Times Higher Educational Supplement, August 13: 16 View all references), it offended many viewers and caused considerable controversy. More than 900 complaints were made to the Independent Television Commission, almost 250 complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Commission, and 2,000 complaints to Channel 4, “officially” making Paedogeddon the most complained-about television program in British television history at that time. This paper examines the nature of the objections to Paedogeddon as played out on the pages of the British national press and contributes to debates about morally acceptable television. Three themes are identified in the press objections to the mock-documentary: aesthetic arguments; moral and ethical implications; and consequences of ministerial intervention. The nature of these press objections served to prevent an engagement with Paedogeddon's critique of the media. Further, the analysis illustrates how media discourses and scripts can fix and limit debates surrounding controversial television programming.

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Opposed and yet in some ways similar to the fan is the antifan: he or she who actively and vocally hates or dislikes a given text, personality, or genre. By studying antifan discussion and postings at the Web site Television Without Pity, this article examines antifan interaction with the television text. Focusing on the ensuing splintering of this text into aesthetic, moral, and rational-realistic dimensions, it is argued that antifan engagement with television forces a reevaluation of existing assumptions of textual ontology and of audience behavior and consumption.
This article explores the influence of partisanship on the framing of a local news agenda. Using a case study approach, it explores how one local newspaper in the East Midlands of England, the Nottingham-based Evening Post, reacted with hostility to leaked Home Office plans housing high-profile paedophiles in its locality (albeit inside the grounds of the local jail). Within weeks, though, the paper's news frame had shifted from hostility toward the Home Office to a more sympathetic news frame reporting how local professionals would manage risks posed by paedophiles in Nottingham. In order to make sense of the local dynamic underpinning this changing news frame, the paper uses interview data to explore interactions between local journalists and key protagonists to understand the predictable and unpredictable factors that shaped the terms of their reporting. The article concludes by discussing the significance of partisan dynamics on the framing of a highly charged local and national paedophile-related issue.
Between 1996–97 an almost unprecedented campaign was mounted in the British press against on one film: David Cronenberg’s Crash. What motivated this campaign? What can it tell us about British film culture? What impact did the campaign have on general audiences? This book, which draws on a year-long investigation supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, offers a series of important and challenging findings and is a major contribution to our understanding of censorship campaigns, how audiences respond to films, and the strategies employed in engaging with such texts.
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