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March 03, 2008

Prince Harry

It is a great pity that some journalists simply can't help themselves. Common sense dictates that some stories are better not told - especially when it will put lives in danger. Yet the newshound named Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report simply could not resist publishing the news that Prince Harry, or to give him his correct title, Lieutenant Windsor, was on active service with his troop in Afghanistan.

He knew when he decided to publish it that this would have an immediate impact on both the Prince and everyone around him. One has to ask therefore, what his motive was in doing it. Public interest? That beloved catchall of the journalist hack? Try the other one, certainly the US audience is hardly interested in what the Prince does for a living, so perhaps he hoped that shooting his pen off with this would get Harry killed - big headline in that and masses of press coverage in the funeral. You can just see the banner headlines - "Tragic Princess' Tragic Son dies at the hands of the Taliban" and in the byline - "XXX British Soldiers die in massive bomb aimed at the Prince" followed by acres of handwringing prose agonising over "why was he sent there?"

Prince Harry is a soldier. It is what he was bred to be. A leader of men under pressure and by all accounts he's a damned good one. What he doesn't need now or at any time in the future is a bunch of idiot journalists hounding him everywhere he goes and endangering him, everyone around him and everything he and his troops represent. My sympathy lies entirely with Harry on this one. I wouldn't want to be kicking my heels in the Regimental Barracks either while my troops were out in a war zone. Like Harry, I'd want to be with them, but patently, as long as people like Matt Drudge can't behave responsibly, this desire to serve his country well will be frustrated.

What the Drudge Report has exposed more than anything else is the media obsession with "Celebrity" and their desire to destroy anyone who stands above the common herd - a herd they claim tomrepresent, yet do everything they can to stand aloof from while trying to influence and steer it. Prince Harry and his brother Prince William have been bron into one of the toughest roles anyone could have to assume. They did not choose to be what they are and now they have to learn to be something the media and politicians loathe while under the constant surveillance of the media circus. Neither of them can even pop out to their local club or pub without some damned idiot trying to embarass them, provoke them or get a "story" on them. In my book, both of them are a thousand times the men that the media hacks will ever be, and ten thousand times the people any politician will ever be.

Prince Harry is, in my view, a damned fine young man, one I would be proud to serve under or with. I hope he does get his wish to return to his unit and his role, he has a lot to offer and the media should butt out and let him get on with it. As for Mr Drudge, he should be asked to answer charges of endangering the lives of our troops in Helmand Province and attempting to undermine the effort to suppress the terrorism the Taliban represent. I, for one, think that was his intention - to get some British troops killed and to sabotage their efforts to overcome the Taliban. Perhaps the FBI should look into that for us.

Posted by The Gray Monk at March 3, 2008 09:12 AM

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You have to remember that the Drudge report is a tabloid that does some fact checking. They weren't trying to kill Harry, just be the 1st to write about the story. Remember, never attribute to malice which can easily attributed to greed or stupidity. In this case it was greed.

Posted by: skipjack at March 4, 2008 03:11 AM

With a large dose of sheer stupidity - or perhaps just the usual "publish and be damned" approach of so many in this field. This is akin to the WW2 case of the paper that published an article on the shipping of munitions and troops giving the sailing times and dates of the convoys. Certainly helped the U-boat war that did.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at March 4, 2008 11:05 PM