Thursday, June 07, 2007 

Sickening stunts from the paper that brought you Hillsborough, Gotcha!, etc...

According to the Scum, it was a "sickening stunt", "a cheap stunt to boost her career", and "it beggars belief that anyone could suspect Kate and Gerry McCann of complicity in the disappearance of their beloved daughter". It does however seem to believe that its readers could; the article on Sabina Mueller's question to the McCanns oddly has comments turned off. The only other articles on the Scum's whole "For Maddie" index which have comments turned off are those on Robert Murat, on the McCanns visiting the pope, and on the revelation that the McCanns in fact didn't check on their children for 50 minutes the night that Madeleine disappeared. They didn't take the same precaution on the leader page, and what do you know, both of the readers who responded think it was perfectly legitimate for Mueller to ask the question.

The Mirror, as well as additionally splashing on Mueller's "disgraceful" question, ramped up the hyperbole as much as the Scum decided to. It was a cruel slur, unforgivably callous, sickening and unwarranted and insensitive to the point of disbelief. The Express also splashed, but seeing as there were no "ethnics" involved, it kept the insults to a minimum.

Only the Mirror gave Sabina Mueller the space to give her full justification for the question:

"I knew it was a difficult question but I felt it had to be asked. I didn't think it improper.

"I didn't want to hurt and I don't suspect the McCanns of being involved.

"Gerry McCann was very calm and I was completely convinced by his reply. Either they're very good actors or they're telling the truth.

"They're putting themselves out there a lot. They've got to expect uncomfortable questions. I was doing my job."

Something that the tabloid journalists seem to have forgotten to do properly in their rush to over-emote with banner coverage of no developments.

One has to wonder if they're angrier more because none of them had the guts to ask such an obvious question than over the perceived slight to the dignity of the McCanns. As far as I'm aware, despite some whispering and criticism directed at the couple, more over their decision to visit the Pope and their apparent coolness at becoming the centre of attention, no one has suggested that their continuous campaign of publicity will have driven any abductor with an ounce of sense to lock her away and never let her out again, making it ever more likely that they'll never discover what has happened to their beloved daughter. It's obviously an incredibly difficult choice to make, one where you either let the police do their work or go all out with a media blitz in the hope that someone somewhere will either know or have seen something, but it seems after a month that their decision may well have been the wrong one. This don't seem to be worrying them though, or even raising the slightest amount of inner doubt: their latest plan is to launch wristbands that will, I quote, raise cash and awareness, as if they need more of either.

Interestingly, what made the front page of three newspapers only made page 18 of the Guardian. You have to think that once again, what Kelvin McKenzie calls the "unpopular" press have got it far more right than their mass-selling rivals.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007 

Asking the difficult questions.

The media in this country often love to inform of us of how free, fair and indefatigable they are, when the reality is that they're indulgently self-censoring and hindered by a lack of editorial independence from their individual proprietors. Not that you'd know that by their incessant propaganda.

Isn't it strange then that it's taken a German radio reporter to finally ask the McCanns what many will have wanted them to rule out from the very beginning: that they themselves have played no part in Madeleine's disappearance? I personally don't think it very likely that they are involved, but with there being no other seeming leads, other than Murat and a hazy description of a man only one person apparently saw, it's something that they needed to be asked. This isn't to criticise them, or belittle their grief, but rather covering all ends of the story. They've put themselves almost uniquely into the spotlight, taken a decision to run a campaign which could quite easily be described as counterproductive, and the vast majority of the media has been almost entirely obsequious in their behaviour towards them. Put into the equation the fact that the Madeleine fund has now reached a staggering £673,000, and it was certainly in the public interest for them to be asked such a question. The shame was that rather coming from a British reporter willing to asking difficult questions, it came from a brave German journalist who will now likely find herself come under withering condemnation.

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