Response To The Disappearance of Madeleine Mc Cann - Criticism - of The Media Coverage - Importance of The Coverage

Importance of The Coverage

Some have suggested that the high level of media coverage could be attributable to Madeleine's race, nationality, or socio-economic status. The Independent, in an editorial on 15 May 2007, described the media coverage as showing a warped sense of priorities and condemned the criticism of the Portuguese authorities as jingoism. In his 17 May column in Portugal's Público newspaper, the former head of Portugal's bar association, José Miguel Júdice, said the enormous mobilisation was because the little girl "is English, white, and the daughter of doctors."

On 18 May, Inter Press Service drew attention to the fact that that some observers point out that Madeleine comes from a well-heeled British family (both of her parents are doctors), unlike so many Portuguese or immigrant children whose disappearance has drawn scant attention from the press. There has also been criticism of the weight put on this case in the light of many other, unpublicised, children's disappearances.

Also on 18 May, The Scotsman commented that "... there was evidence that public opinion, while strongly supportive of the child's distraught parents Kate and Gerry McCann, was growing alarmed at what it viewed as relentless, almost prurient coverage." Channel 4 News presenter Alex Thomson has said the Madeleine McCann story did not deserve its news ranking. "I've been sickened by the way the media have allowed themselves to be taken for a full-scale ride by the McCanns." He added that the parents' conduct, "a contributory factor in the abduction, was largely downplayed or ignored altogether by sycophantic, gullible blanket coverage."

Raymond Snoddy wrote in Marketing: "To what extent has all this coverage been kept afloat for so long because the child is white and photogenic, and has articulate, resourceful parents? Of course, the news value of the story was also enhanced by context - everyone's worst nightmare, a child snatched from an apparently secure apartment in an upmarket holiday resort. But the sad truth is that if a black child had been snatched from a sink estate in Liverpool or Glasgow, the chances are you would not know their name."

Gerry, who had encouraged media coverage, criticised De Telegraaf on 14 June for publishing a letter claiming to know the location of Madeleine's body, calling it "an irresponsible piece of journalism" and "insensitive and cruel". Portuguese police searched the site but found no trace of Madeleine. At the Edinburgh International Television Festival on 25 August, Gerry complained about the amount of media attention, on the disappearance, that he claimed was 10 times what he had expected. He also criticised wild speculation being erroneously reported as fact.

There was criticism by the Daily Express of the stories run in the Portuguese media. In an article on 28 August that summarised the speculation, the Daily Express accused the local media of "a vile whispering campaign, which has led to them suffering a daily torrent of smears" and described the stories suggesting that the McCanns had involvement in their daughter's disappearance as "lies".

Journalist Martin Bell accused the BBC of wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in its coverage of the disappearance. In January 2008 Bell said "I’m calling it the death of news. It is the stupidification of the news agenda. It is pretty obvious television news has lost its way not just with the McCann case but that has been extreme."

A comparison was drawn, in early March 2008, between the publicity given to Madeleine with the much lower key publicity for the disappearance of Shannon Matthews. The Guardian explained this by stating that "Overarching everything is social class" but they added that Shannon going missing in the UK made a difference. The Independent took the same line saying "Kate and Gerry McCann had a lot: they were a couple of nice middle-class doctors on holiday in an upmarket resort" "Karen Matthews is not as elegant, nor as eloquent".

In his book Spoilt Rotten Theodore Dalrymple analyses critically the media attention and reaction to the disappearance, and specifically how certain elements in the media interpreted the lack of emotion displayed by the girl's parents as evidence of guilt.

Read more about this topic:  Response To The Disappearance Of Madeleine Mc Cann, Criticism, Of The Media Coverage

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