The Mail has published more than 30 stories about Sinéad O'Connor in 2011. Almost all of them have been based around unflattering paparazzi pictures, with headlines and captions such as "What's happened 2 U? Rocking Sinead O'Connor is barely recognisable in long hair and mumsy trouser-suit
", "Sinead O'Connor is unrecognisable as she dons unflattering stomach-baring outfit for Irish performance
" and "Nothing compares to the way you used to look: Debbie Harry and Sinead O'Connor lose their way on the style front
". The last of these appeared in October, barely a month after O'Connor published suicidal musings on twitter.
A month ago, O'Connor announced she was to marry a man she had met over the internet, and the Mail's interest intensified. She's been the subject of an article every other day during December. The marriage predictably only lasted a week, and now the narrative has gone full circle: today's headline is "Sinéad O'Connor sports grey hair and tired expression after glamorous wedding in Las Vegas
One can only speculate, but it seems probable that O'Connor is not well. A responsible press would leave a fragile, recently suicidal woman alone at this time — but we don't have a responsible press. Instead we have vultures like John Cogill of the Irish Daily Mail
, whose LinkedIn profile lists his occupation as "Photographer of the Doorstep". Cogill claims credit for this witless photograph:
which the Mail captions as innocently as it can:
Sinead was snapped at the door of her home in Bray in a bath towel, after admitting her marriage begun [sic] to unravel within three hours of the ceremony
The passive tense — "was snapped" — makes it sound almost accidental, and the missing subject — snapped by whom? — is designed to disguise the fact that this picture was obviously set up by the "photographer of the doorstep". He had presumably hounded O'Connor to the point where she felt obliged to come to the door even though she was not dressed. The sub-clause — "after admitting…" — is tacked on to try to justify this hounding, but it's bogus: all the information about the marriage had already been published by O'Connor herself on her blog. The picture adds nothing, except voyeuristic hits to the Mail website and a few extra euros to the bar tab of John Cogill:
Why are the Mail and Cogill pursuing a singer who hasn't had a top ten hit in 20 years? The obvious answer is: because they think she might be mentally ill. With a bit of luck, she will either go totally bonkers and top herself (whereupon the narrative will change: to pity) or make a miracle recovery and become an 'I overcame my demons' success story. Either way, the Mail and its photographers of the doorstep will be around to document it. In the meantime, they'll continue to run unflattering photos of O'Connor for their readers to disparage — with the video of Nothing compares 2 U
embedded at the foot of the article, a reminder of what happens to pretty young angry women when they don't follow the straight and narrow.