The Audience's Response to 'Let him have it!' and 'The Daily Mail' in Peter Medak's Film
How is the response of the audience manipulated in Peter Medak’s film
‘Let him have it!’ and ‘The Daily Mail’ article of November 1952? Do
they both show bias?
In November 1952 a policeman was shot dead and another left wounded in
what the Daily Mail called a ‘gun battle’ when Christopher Craig and
Derek Bentley broke into the Barlow and Parker warehouse in Croydon.
I have looked at two media sources of information regarding this
event. A newspaper article taken from the Daily Mail 3rd November
1952 and Peter Medak’s film ‘Let him have it!’. Using these sources I
intend to illustrate how they manipulate the audience and if they are
biased types of media.
The headline for the Daily Mail’s article regarding the events of the
night 2nd November 1952, state that ‘Gangsters with machine guns on
roof kill detective, wound another’. However only two people,
Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley, were on the roof. Neither of
them armed with a machine gun. The article consistently describes the
pair as ‘the raiders’ ‘the bandits’ or ‘the gangsters’. This approach
suggests that there were more than two people, although it never
actually says how many. This is using hyperbole, a deliberate
exaggeration in language for a more dramatic effect. ‘Gangsters’
sounds more threatening and gives a more serious and dangerous
impression of the situation.
The article leads people to believe that the ‘the gangsters’ were
armed. Although Christopher Craig was carrying a gun, it wasn’t a
machine gun like the article states it was but a Firearm and Derek
Bentley didn’t carry a gun but a knuckle-duster which was unused.
Craig began shooting randomly when he realised he was surrounded but
only to scare off the police. What it evolved into wasn’t a ‘second
battle of Sidney Street’ as the Daily Mail claims because Craig was
the only one shooting, until a police officer fired three warning
shots into the air.
Leaving out bits of information such as how Craig jumped from the
building after shooting the police officer stops people from feeling
sorry for ‘the bandits’ and making up excuses for them like saying
that if he jumped he can’t have meant it.
By writing about ‘the gangsters’ as if they were shooting at everyone
and not just to scare the police away, the media have created an
interesting story that people will want to read and find out how the
case progresses and what verdict it will get in court, which is the
effect that they would have anticipated.
The opening paragraph that declares that the ‘London crime wave
reached a new peak’ the night of 2nd November 1952 is someone’s
opinion presented as a fact, as is the shootings on the roof being
associated with the ‘Battle of Sidney...