A story about hotel customers using toilets in a New York glass-walled building published by the Daily Mail at the weekend, demonstrated the hypocrisy of the coalition’s flagship propaganda outlet, and the British corporate-media in general, regarding their treatment of the Kate Middleton nudity scandal. The article, which was accompanied by images showing an unsuspecting man urinating, several women seated on toilets with their clothes rearranged, and also performing post-function ablutions, also demonstrated, by comparison with treatment of the Middleton case, the reality of how there is no such thing as freedom of the press amongst the corporate-media in the UK – despite a pretence amongst its journalist membership that there is.
The story in question involves a skyscraper hotel in Manhattan that has an 18th floor bathroom facility appointed in such a way that a person seated in a toilet cubicle faces outwards and overlooks the street through a wall-sized pane of glass. The casual behaviour of these toilet users suggests that there is no other building in the vicinity – Manhattan’s Meatpacking District – which will afford a direct view back into that part of the property (confirmed by Google maps). However, as the Daily Mail points out, the facilities, and the people using them, can be seen at an oblique angle from the ground, and although the editor of the article attached a picture of disbelieving people on the sidewalk pointing into the air as if they are gawping at the extraordinary sight of other people in the act of defecating, the height of the floor suggests that very detailed images are probably only obtainable through a magnifying piece of technology – something hinted at by Australian tourist, Belinda Langdon, who marvelled how ‘the people taking pictures are pervy. You just hope nobody recognises you on the street.’
In certain respects, this case is rather like the one in which Kate Middleton and William Wales, who were photographed across a natural view that offered no impediment to the photographer, have caused great embarrasment to themselves and danger to the Establishment by potential constitutional turmoil. However, whereas the Daily Mail, along with the British corporate-media in its entirety, has not published the humiliating images of the Royal couple – and has, in its tone, been supportive of them – there are no qualms about publishing images of private citizens as they perform the most personal of necessary bodily functions. Although the most sensitive body parts in these images have been obscured by pixels, other identifying features such as clothes and hair are clearly visible and not only must they render the subjects recognisable.
The reason for the difference of treatment afforded Royalty and private individuals is due to the vice-like grip that the British Monarch has over the corporate-media, and although, regarding Kate Middleton’s own exhibition, the press did not seem to have been given a warning by Buckingham Palace , there does seem to have been a reflexive self-censorship on the part of the corporate-media which was probably inspired by recognition of how very damaging to the Establishment the images of her were. On the other hand, things were apparently not so clear with the recent case of Prince Harry in Las Vegas when the Palace did feel the need to issue a caution signifying that reporting should not be illuminated with images. Even the Sun newspaper’s apparent defiance of this injunction may have been part of a scheme to distract the British public from real events; the paper seemingly elected not to publish the most damaging of images which showed Harry seemingly mounted in a standing position upon a female.
The current nude-royalty saga does have a positive side as it is demonstrating to the British public how the influence of Buckingham Palace is far reaching, self-interested, and somehow is not limited by national boundaries. The website of the Irish Daily Star had mysteriously been inaccessible for days since it printed the images of Kate Middleton and William, and its grovelling owners are now talking about closing the publication down. Today, William and Kate were awarded a French court ruling in favour of demands made by the couple of the French Closer magazine, which first published the images, that, amongst other things, it must take images down from its website, and that it must hand over copies of images in its possession. Additionally, French publications are now not permitted without risk of penalisation to publish the images.
In another example of the Daily Mail’s breathtaking hypocrisy, images were published lately of film actor, Tom Hanks, and his wife relaxing together outside their home in grounds that are clearly visible from a nearby public thoroughfare. The Hanks were conducting themselves appropriately in the semi-public setting, which the sleazy Royal couple, in their case, were unable to do. The Daily Mail did not seem to suffer from any scruple that what it was doing by publishing the photos of Hanks and his wife was in any way invading their privacy.