The Express has said sorry to the people of Dunblane. Well, barely. The apology acknowledges that story was “undeniably inappropriate”, although it doesn’t say why: maybe the feeling in the Express newsroom is that they just had a lapse of taste in picking the wrong subjects for an exposé. There’s no mention here of invasion of privacy or public interest – both key principles which ought to be respected by any paper which expects to be protected as a democratic institution – although there’s room to stress that “nobody was misquoted”, if that makes you feel better. There’s no mention of all the ways in which the front page could have been used better, no apology for the genuine reporting and truly revealing journalism which has been trampled on by crass splashes like this one.
Readers of the Express: your paper is sorry that you’re offended. The Express thinks it’s having a love affair with its readers (really: someone thought that the best way to deal with this was to sexualise the relationship between paper and reader), and now the paper has caused upset and offence and distress, it’s sorry you feel that way. Well, Express, if you really want to run with that metaphor, newspapers are probably more like prostitutes than lovers. And I’d suggest to any Express readers that you really shouldn’t be paying for this sort of treatment.