This post was published in April 2011, so the information in the post or about me in the sidebar may no longer be correct.

“Sucked into drugs by the Internet”

Euan posted a photo to Twitter tonight from a tabloid (though I’m not sure which one). The headline read:

Beautiful Issy was sucked into drugs by the Internet… it killed her

This of course is the story of 15-year-old Isobel Jones-Reilly, who (at the risk of speculating a little) died after taking ecstasy at a friend’s house.

Euan’s dead on with his caption:


Arthur Martin and Tamara Cohen, writing for The Mail (God, I hate it so), are reporting that she was “sucked in by the drug-taking exploits of the celebrities she idolised” and “was hooked on the internet”. Take it from somebody who, according to his mother (!), does have an unhealthy addiction to “that machine” (as she so affectionately calls it): I may be screwed up in all sorts of ways, but I’ve thus far managed to avoid ingesting lethal doses of various drugs. I’m not particularly sure the two are related.

The way they’re trying to spin this makes me so angry:

Isobel, described as a ‘member of the Myspace Generation’, used at least seven social networking sites

As do a huge number of 15-year-olds, I’ll bet. How many die each year?

Jaye Williamson, who was Isobel’s English teacher at Chiswick Community College, in west London, said: ‘She was into the kind of things that teenagers get into, but she got hooked on the worldwide web. She was part of the Myspace generation. She got caught and we are devastated.’

I’ve seen first hand the difference between the words a journalist hears and what ends up on the page, so I’m hoping that Ms Williamson doesn’t stand by that quote. What on earth does “she got caught” mean?

There’s already going to be a backlash of protective parents stopping their teenage children from leaving the house, at least in the short term. And thanks to articles like this, it’s going to extend to the web as well. Why do journalists (shudder) always feel the need to find something that’s obviously unrelated to blame? I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching articles like this being produced. The little jokes across the office, the one-line emails, the instant messages, would all be so revealing.

I don’t mean for this post to sound insensitive. While what’s happened is obviously incredibly sad, I wish the papers wouldn’t see it as an opportunity to push the bizarre agenda du jour.


By Michael Henley on 27 April 2011 at 19:19:

Sells papers to over-protective middle-class mothers whose experience of social networks likely doesn’t even extend as far as MumsNet shudder… Tragic story, but typical example of shit journalism exploiting an emotional minefield of a topic to shift copies.

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