The Daily Telegraph, for taking the beat-up to a whole new level.

Two separate car accidents on a single Monday night in Sydney. Tragically, they result in two fatalities; a young woman dies after crashing into a tree in Sydney’s west, and later that night, a man passes away after flipping his truck in Yagoona in Sydney’s southwest.

The crashes have no connection to each other, other than becoming two additions to the NSW road toll. The stories have no inherent news value, and would normally rate a mere mention on the evening news, if that.

But that didn’t stop The Daily Telegraph’s Vikki Campion, who managed to seamlessly weave the two incidents together under the theme of ‘gore p-rn.’ Cue the purple prose:

The tragic late-night deaths of a young mother and a truck driver in Sydney had one thing in common — both victims spent their final moments as macabre suburban entertainment.

The reporter goes on to employ both incidents as examples in her thesis. According to Campion, “…crash victims too often die, not only in excruciating pain but as a public spectacle.”

There’s an unspoken code when it comes to reporting car crashes, that is, spare a thought for the families of the victims, and steer clear of unnecessarily gratuitous description of the victims’ dying moments. Campion didn’t get the memo:

…her male loved-one ran to the car, pulling at the door in a desperate attempt to try to free her while her head slumped over. The woman, thought to be in her 30s, died instantly. Still he pulled at the door as the car started to smoke. He was screaming for help but some of the residents just walked out of their homes and stared.

As for the truck driver:

Hanging upside-down, his legs gripped in the twisted metal, the dying man screamed in pain and yelled “help, help, help” to a crowd assembling at the roadside.

We’re not sure how the reporter was privy to the extremely detailed information that she’s rolling around in — since she doesn’t cite the source of this information we can only presume she was somehow at both scenes in the immediate minutes following each impact.

The reporter then proceeds to pour judgement upon the bystanders at each crash, ‘reporting’ that the victims:

…died as mothers in pyjamas and dressing gowns watched on with dozy toddlers.

As teenagers strutted around the crime scene, exhilarated, to see tragedy unfold.

Sirens and flashing blue-red lights of emergency cars or as one youth says, “the party vans” lured them to the scene.

They jostled to find a clearer view. They laughed, maybe at a private joke, and took photographs.

The bodies were still in view. Gore p-rn.

Is it possible to defame an entire neighbourhood? Many of the commenters on The Daily Telegraph website gave it a red hot go:

But wait, this explains it — they’re immigrants:

The report is rounded off with this zinger:

…one could give the crash victims the dignity of dying without spectators, their children in tow, treating crime scenes as movie theatres with snacks and drinks. Because the last thing that the dying victims saw was just that.

Some readers refused to fall into furious agreement with Campion’s theory, protesting at the shoddy journalism, and the hypocritical nature of the article (“did the reporter step into help?”). Some presumed it was a bad April Fools’ joke. But one man dared to add a piece of genuine reportage to what The Daily Telegraph seems to think is journalism. Thank you, Iian Stuart of Concord:

Vikki Campion, take notes.

Peter Fray

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