The Sun, Jon Venables and lethal double standards

This media clamour will only end in tears.

First, we had the likes of Carol Vorderman demanding inanely that the government satisfy the public's "right" to know what the joint-murderer of Jamie Bulger, Jon Venables, has done to return to prison. Next, we had the tabloid fury over Venables's anonymity.

Then, bizarrely, we had the increasingly populist BBC getting overexcited about the story, and calls for Jack Straw to reverse his wise decision to resist the clamour and "tell us" exactly what Venables did to breach the terms of his parole.

And now, full circle, we have the Sun reporting that:

A man has been left fearing for his life -- because of a terrifying internet rumour he is evil child killer Jon Venables.

The demands to know what Venables has done are, as I have said before, based on ignorance, populism and nosiness. It is quite likely that this sudden fascination will lead to Venables's identity being revealed, which would indeed be "terrifying".

In which case, the likes of the Sun will have only themselves to blame.




James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.