Crikey readers have reacted to our item earlier in the week asking whether journalists – in this case Sunday Telegraph
gossip columnist Ros Reines – should accept any responsibility for the
effects of their stories – in this case about Rene Rivkin just before
his death.

SG Bradley writes:

I believe Rene Rivkin’s death is Murder by Media.

Paul Murphy is right when he writes:
Journos didn’t give Rivkin his bipolar disorder
Journos didn’t do his insider trading
Journos didn’t prosecute him. Asic did.
Journos didn’t convict him. (Really?) A judge did.
Journos didn’t divorce him. His wife did. Ros Reines didn’t.
Journos did not wrongly tear him down. They wrongly built him up.

This very sick and very depressed man was tried by a Court and he paid his dues to society with a jail sentence.

But
the media scrum was not prepared to leave him or his family alone. When
he was down and at his lowest ebb, they continued to hunt and hunt and
hunt.
For a sick man with bi-polar disorder this was intolerable.

Rene
Rivkin was eccentric, flamboyant, crazy – different. He courted the
media in his hey days. He responded – he loved it. It was part of his
illness – the longing to be well known and loved by everybody.

He lived by the sword – he died by the sword.

But journos don’t for one minute think your consciences should be clear by your shallow justifications.

YOU have driven Rene Rivkin to his death – I hope this makes you happy. You can now go on and pick on your next victim.

And this from Michael de Angelos:

Ros Reines should feel a twinge of guilt (which I hear she
privately does) over Rene’s death, though of course she is not
responsible. But she did know Rivkin well – she was writing his
authorised biographer – and has shamelessly plugged Rivkin over the
years as she does a handful of “personalities”.

Anyone who knew Rene knew of his depressive episodes. Close friends
always thought that his mania for publicity was connected with his
illness. If Reines didn’t undestand this she was a poor choice as
biographer.

For Jenny O’Dowd to jump on a high moral ground when News Ltd is an
offender in fuelling public outrage and attempting to influence
criminal sentences is a bit much.

O’Dowd also needs to acknowledge a lapse in journalistic standards by
allowing Reines to accept a commission to write Rivkin’s life story and
at the same time letting her to continue writing a column that
mentioned Rivkin favourably on numerous occasions.

Shelley Gare, another News Ltd journalist, goes too far with her
accusations about Rene’s business affairs. He had one conviction for
insider trading on which he made, for him, a tiny profit. Jailing a man
in his condition was way excessive and should never have happened. He
should have received a suspended sentence.

What a bunch of pathetic whingers.

And from another Crikey reader:

While
we all agree that no ONE person could be held accountable for Mr
Rivkin’s suicide, the writers of such fodder that erupts from Ms Reines
dept should consider the effect that their journalism has on members of
society. Perhaps Ms Reines would be better off understanding how people
with bi-polar cope in a normal day to day situation, rather than repeat
what has already been placed on public record in an attempt to cause
more pain to a family that would have suffered more in a day than Ms
Reines could ever imagine.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW