Irresponsible Probing

Reporters from The Daily Mirror in Britain were caught  trying to smuggle a fake bomb onto a train at Stonebridge Park depot Wednesday. The first time they did this and got a fake bomb onto a train was arguably a test of security; to repeatedly do this is yellow journalism; irresponsibly seeking sensational headlines.

If it’s legitimate journalism and a “test”, should every passenger be allowed to test the security? Should every paper in Britain be allowed? If so how often? Once a week? Twice a week? How will the trains run against schedule then?

Seeking headlines and stories this way detracts from the real problems, strains security resources who do have a job of real import, and the authorities need to punish the foolish reporters pulling this juvenile prank. At some point if this continues we will get to the “cry wolf” effect; a real bomb found and passengers strolling from the emergency alert saying “oh, it’s probably just another fake journo bomb….” From The Guardian

Two Daily Mirror journalists were arrested yesterday after attempting to plant a fake bomb on a train in what the newspaper called a “legitimate and justified journalistic exercise”.

The reporters were arrested at Stonebridge Park depot in north-west London after railway staff noticed the men carrying fake equipment and approached them to ask what they were doing on the site before contacting the British Transport police to report the trespass.

In their defense, the Mirror had this to say:

“Last year Mirror journalists attempted and succeeded in planting a fake bomb on a nuclear train, which highlighted serious security lapses,” a spokesperson for the paper said.

“We felt that it was a legitimate and justified journalistic exercise to repeat the action in the interests of public safety.

“We are happy to see that the security procedures have now improved.”

It’s then a “legitimate legal excercise” for the authorities to throw the book at the two reporters, who by testing and probing of defenses might be aiding the terrorists as opposed to the public. I wager it’s also legitimate for the authorities to bill the paper for any costs incurred by their response, and for the rail-line to bill the paper for any costs incurred by the delays this created.