May 26, 2024

The Fleet Street Spring

Hi there,

Editing BioEdge is a very specialised form
of journalism, to be sure, but journalism. So, like everyone else in the
business, I have been mesmerised by the apparent disintegration of the House of
Murdoch over the past two weeks. It reminds me of the Arab Spring and the fall
of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak: one day feared, the next day jeered.

I have been alert to bioethical links, but so
far they have been scarce. As a consolation prize, I discovered that Rebekah
Brooks, the erstwhile editor of the News of the World, (who resigned just a few
hours ago as News International chief executive) was responsible for one of the
Sun’s most notorious headlines when she was editor there. “Ship, Ship Hooray!” was
her front page after Harold Shipman, the doctor serial killer, hanged himself. It was
an outrage to human dignity
, even the dignity of someone so mysteriously
depraved as Shipman.

I hope that this does not spell the end of
British tabloids. For all their manifold and evident defects (no wonder factoid,
fungoid, haemorrhoid, paranoid, typhoid and tabloid share the same suffix),
they do an excellent job of putting flesh and bones on dry bioethical dilemmas.

I hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter.


Michael Cook