Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson (1963-2009)

The family has released a statement that Ms. Richardson has passed away:

"Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time."

The past two days have kept the world gripped as they awaited word on the condition of the actress. Unfortunately, the world was subject to some of the worst journalism that has been seen in recent memory. Instead of reporting facts, news outlets such as Time Out New York, the New York Post and the New York Daily News took to reporting prematurely of her health condition, from a premature obituary to editorializing what little facts were known. Instead of waiting for confirmation, these reporters took it upon themselves to print a headline and then immediately refute it with "sources say."

Though many of the reports proved to be accurate, it does not excuse the unabashed lack of journalistic integrity and utter insensitivity in the reporting. The Redgraves are a world renown acting dynasty and in a higher profile. They are also a family of class that has managed to carry themselves above the ranks of tabloid fodder. It is discomforting to see paparazzi snapshots of family members, especially the incredible forlorn shot of Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave, at their most emotionally exposed as they merely try to enter a hospital. Inasmuch, the respect for the memory of the late Ms. Richardson and privacy for her surviving family is mandated.

The true journalistic nadir came in this morning's edition of the NY Daily News. In an article compiled by Joe Dziemianowicz, George Rush and Corky Siemaszko, and I quote:

"Neeson, 56, who starred in 'Schindler's List,' knows a little about what it's like to be a widower. He played one in the cult romance 'Love Actually.'"

The line was cut from the online edition, but you would believe it, made it into the print edition, in perhaps the most tasteless display I've seen in quite some time.

My heartfelt condolences go out to Ms. Richardson's entire family during this unthinkable tragedy. I only hope that the family was spared as much of the media circus as possible.


Roxie said...

This is so awful.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Kevin, I share in your sentiments. It's a sad day for theatregoers made all the sadder from an unscrupulous media.