Trial by Internet: A crass error of judgment?

TV presenter Philip Schofield was ill advised and wrong to present the Prime Minister with a list of alleged paedophiles he had trawled off the Internet during the interview on the This Morning programme yesterday.

Schofield's premeditated stunt was clearly aimed at boosting TV ratings in an unabashed sensationalisation of the recent child abuse scandals afflicting British establishment and society. He's clearly a talented interviewer and chat show host but he now risks losing his credibility as an impartial journalist. How can we trust someone who broadcasts without thinking through the consequences of their actions?

The prime minister responded it was not the "right approach" and unproven claims "scrubbed off the internet" should not be bandied about in public.

Absolutely right!

You cannot rely upon information freely available for download from the Internet. Even Wikipedia cannot guarantee that its information is correct - it cannot even guarantee your own privacy, but that's another blog! To suggest that someone is a paedophile without proof smacks of the Salem Witch Trials where unsubstantiated allegations determined guilt. Schofield should have passed on his information to the police rather than to the Prime Minister for proper investigation.

But that wouldn't have been good telly...

What's worse is that some Internet-based information accusing ex-ministers of being involved also suggests that all paedophiles are gay. I remember hearing a judge at Guildford Crown Court taking a similar view back in the early 1990s before he was quickly replaced in the middle of a criminal trial. Philip Schofield is treading on very dangerous territory that smacks of national socialist ideology aimed at persuading the masses.

Television is neither judge nor jury. But then there's always been something very rotten at the heart of day time TV - aimed at people with nothing else better to do, who believe in everything you tell them, and who would vote for anyone labelled 'celebrity'.

I rest my case.