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Between guilt and innocence: 2Day FM and the moral blame game

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This past weekend, we saw the media – old, new, and social – trying to digest the indigestible.

The death of Jacintha Saldanha, the British nurse who apparently took her own life after being caught up in a prank phone call from 2DayFM DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, is one of those stories that is so sad, so utterly pointless and bewildering, as to leave us gasping for something, anything, coherent to say about it.

There’s also something frighteningly random in how things seem to have played out: a simple, farcical prank call from the other side of the planet, and suddenly a 46 year old woman – a mother of two and from all accounts a dedicated and well-regarded professional – is dead.

That she is appears to be, from what we know at this stage, the result of decisions that had nothing to do with her.

No one set out to cause this, no one could have seen it coming, but the feeling remains that someone – Greig and Christian, Austereo management, the hospital, the media, the cult of celebrity itself – must be to blame.

Blaming, as it happens, is something the internet is very good at. Within hours, the 2DayFM Facebook page was inundated with angry messages. Twitter lit up with outrage. Some of the response has been decidedly sinister. [...]

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