Never has a truer word been spoken than the description by Gerry McCann of how his daughter became a commodity, with profits to be made out of her disappearance. He sugared the pill slightly in his evidence to the culture, media and sport select committee slightly by acknowledging that to begin with there was a "desire to try to help get facts that would lead to Madeleine's whereabouts", but even this was coloured, as it always is, by the media at the same time trying to promote themselves. There was no need to for the likes of the Sun and the News of the World to splash their logos all over the t-shirts they produced, or the posters which went up across Portugal, where they were almost as big if not bigger than the words "FIND MADDIE". Newspapers know full well that launching such campaigns benefits them, the chances of having to pay out being extremely slight, even though offering such huge rewards tends to attract cranks, and in extreme circumstances, such as in the Shannon Matthews case, even encourage the desperate to stage disappearances.
It's equally difficult to disagree with Mr McCann's other claim:
...our family have been the focus of some of the most sensationalist, untruthful, irresponsible and damaging reporting in the history of the press.
When you know the sorry history of the tabloid press in this country, and some of the recent low points, that's quite the statement. It's all the more depressing that it's almost certainly true.
Labels: abuses by tabloids, Madeleine McCann, media hysteria, tabloid analysis, tabloid junk