Letter: Horror that we need to face

ANNE SPACKMAN is right to look at how the James Bulger murder case has been reported ('Spare us the bloody details', 7 November). She is right to question how grotesque society has become and to state that this case has a horrific significance for many, not just parents, in that it happened at a location that many considered safe for young children. However, the fact is that the public needs the bloody details before it will take notice.

In a world where the media image is all that most people see of a news story, the accuracy and power of that image are paramount. The naked girl running down the street in Vietnam; Michael Buerk's reports of the Ethiopian famine; the horror of the orphanages in Ceausescu's Romania; the Nazi atrocities in Belsen, Auschwitz and other concentration camps. All these stories were bloody. All these stories made people turn their heads (in shock or shame?). However, all these stories needed to be told. The James Bulger case has revolted a nation, but from this tragedy some good should come.

If by brutal and graphic journalism people realise that society as a whole is partly responsible for atrocities such as the Bulger killing, then the bloody details will have served their purpose.

Ben Schott

London NW11

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