20 March 2020 — Media Lens
Over the last 20 years, we have documented some shocking examples of journalistic irresponsibility, but the tweet from ITV’s political editor Robert Peston on March 14 was something special. With China, South Korea, Italy, Spain and other countries in shutdown, lockdown and general medical meltdown, with the UK reeling from rising cases and deaths – with the elderly, in particular, facing a terrifying threat that had already claimed thousands of lives around the world – Peston tweeted:
‘Revealed: elderly to be quarantined at home or in care homes for four months, in “wartime-style” mobilisation to combat Coronavirus. Full details here.’
That was that! No comfort, no reassurance, no careful qualification from government spokespeople and medical experts; just a link to an article, which also offered cold comfort for worried readers.