It’s the news story that just won’t die. Sixteen year old Corey Worthington Delaney posted an open invitation to a party at his parent’s home on MySpace. 500 people turned up and trashed a suburban neighbourhood. Neighbours complained. Police were called to break-up the party, some arrests were made and the damage bill came to a staggering $20,000. I think we can all agree young Corey was a very naughty boy and that he should be punished. So why can’t we just leave it at that and get on with our lives?
Initially, the story was news worthy. It served as a warning to parents: teenagers shouldn’t be left unsupervised for an extended period of time whilst mum and dad go on vacation. A nation of people shook their heads when they heard the news and then that should have been the end of it.
But it’s been a slow summer for news down under and the media were hungry for the next big story. Of course there was that whole racial comments in cricket fiasco. But then those involved had to go and spoil all the fun by handing each other an olive branch and getting on with the business of playing cricket. Enter young Corey and his now infamous MySpace party in the suburbs of Melbourne and what should have been a one day news story, turned into a week long media frenzy. Now everyone’s trying to cash in on the Corey phenomenom, the Australian media machine has turned on the teenager, vilifying the sixteen year old for acting…well…like a 16 year old kid in the media spotlight.
I’m not sure what the media expected of young Corey when they contacted him for interviews. But it soon became clear the media were out to demonise this boy to boost circulation and ratings. In one of the worst examples, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph are encouraging readers to Slap Corey via a game published on their website. Others are calling the teenager a ‘brat’ and a ‘coward’ and criticising the teen for making a little cash on the side when appearing in media interviews. Maybe it’s just me, but I fail to see how vilifying a minor in this way could possibly be in the public interest.
Public reaction to the MySpace party teenager has been mostly negative. He has been mercilessly beaten up in the media and on the Internet, and I for one am appalled by some of the comments being submitted by adults on news websites and blogs. As a nation we should hang our heads in shame for a) treating a minor this way; and b) keeping this kid in the media spotlight.
Andree Stephens at The Canberra Times is one of the few who has openly condemned the media frenzy. “Much of it could have been prevented had television not squeezed the story just that little bit more. The police have to save face, a family has to save face, and predatory media will continue to call it news,” Ms Stephens wrote in an editorial published on the website yesterday morning.
Ann Lund at ABC News agrees. “The media outlets which were condemning him were merely perpetuating his new found ‘star’ status. If they hadn’t given him the airtime they did, it would have been all over and done with.”
I have to wonder who is looking after this kid’s interests because whoever they are, they are not acting in the best interest of this particular child. Whilst I’m sure on some level young Corey has enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame. I think it’s time we all called it a day. This teen should be forced into ‘retirement’ and be allowed to fade into obscurity.