Paparazzi and Their Contribution to Princess Diana's Death
It was only last August that the familiar world of U.S. evening television programming was interrupted by a terse bulletin, stating only Princess Diana of Wales had been injured in an auto accident in France. However, moments after the first bulletin, a second news flash interrupted, ominous in the complete lack of details, gravely stating that an update on the Princess Diana’s condition was coming. The update, as promised, came, succinctly describing her having recently died in a French hospital, after being removed from the wreckage of a late night automobile accident. Later, other details were added in further reports, especially how motorcycle-riding photographers and reporters had pursued her sedan at high speeds. Some eyewitnesses had also been quoted as saying the motorcyclists had swerved in front of her car, causing the driver veer away from the cyclists and into a wall.
The question soon asked by many, including the French magistrates, was “who was responsible for Diana’s death? It was not as simple as just negligent motorcyclists involved, as the accident was complicated by Diana’s driver allegedly having a drinking problem, and witnessed as driving much too fast. If anything, the photographers were just a contributing factor to the accident. Certainly, there were people who voiced either one or the other opinion. In some of the first reports after the accident, as related in the BBC news (1), a white Fiat Uno was reported to have been involved in the crash, and pieces of the Uno were supposedly found intermingled with that of the Mercedes. Although it was not known who was driving the Uno, speculation immediately focused on one of the paparazzi as being the driver. However, as also related in the BBC news (1), what was known about the crash was Diana’s driver was both drunk at the time of the accident, and the most likely cause of the accident.
Interestingly, the reports of some additional, mysterious party involved in, and responsible for, the accident, take different forms, but always seeming to involve paparazzi. In one Reuters Internet news release (2), the police took a damaged motorcycle away from the crash scene, and its connection, if any, to the photographers was explored. However, any facts about who the motorcycle owner was, or how the motorcyclist was involved in the crash, have remained unreported, as part of the stealthy investigation conducted by French police. In contrast to the low profile of the police investigation, there have been numerous, blunt assignations of blame to the paparazzi. One of the more voluble people quoted has been British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook: “It will be doubly tragic if it does emerge that this accident has in part been caused by the persistent hounding of the princess and her privacy by photographers” (2). Similarly, actor Tom Cruise had his opinions of who was responsible, and was not...