Archive for the ‘Madeleine McCann’ tag

From Tbilisi to ID cards to Madeleine McCann

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Goodness Jon Swaine’s been busy.
The prolific journalist has written 8 articles published today on Telegraph.co.uk (according to journalisted), on subjects as diverse as ‘World’s oldest mother shows off twins’ to ‘Condoleeza Rice in Tbilisi to secure Georgia peace plan’ to ‘ID card scheme could be blighted by bad fingerprints’, to ‘Madeleine McCann: No evidence our daughter has been harmed, says Gerry‘.
A total of over 3,000 words published since 10 o’clock this morning.
I know alot of Telegraph correspondents have left recently, but surely Swaine could use a little help?

Written by Martin Moore

August 15th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

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Express journalists writing on 'Madeleine'

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BTW, the Express may have removed all Madeleine McCann articles from its website but, thanks to www.journalisted.com we still know that each of these Express journalists has written more about ‘Madeleine’ than anything else in the last 6 months (based on more than 50 articles published by each journalist on express.co.uk):

Martin Evans
David Pilditch
Padraic Flanagan
Nick Fagge
Martin Stote
Matt Drake

Written by Martin Moore

March 19th, 2008 at 11:51 am

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Stop buying the Express

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“I fail to see”, comments Kieran216 below Roy Greenslade’s excellent McCann/Express blog, “how anyone of sane mind could have such complete lack of dignity to actually perform the act of walking up to a shop counter and paying money for the Express or the Star”.

S/he has a point. Here are papers that have knowingly printed stories they know to be false and that they know will be highly damaging to the McCann family. And they have done so with a grotesque cynicism and lack of respect not just for the McCanns but for their own readers. Just to take one instance from last October: on Monday 8th the paper splashed with ‘Madeleine parents in the clear: new shock on DNA evidence’. Then followed this on the 9th with ‘DNA puts parents in the frame’ (hat tip Observer).

And it doesn’t stop with the McCann’s. As toxtethogrady comments on the same Greenslade blog: “Can we have front page apologies for the hundreds of made up Diana and weather stories now as well?”. You could extend toxtethogrady’s list to include stories about the family of Shannon Matthews, stories about climate change and, of course, stories about immigrants and immigration.

At the same time the papers’ owner, Richard Desmond, continues to make phenomenal personal profits from his newspapers while cutting the number of staff. Last year, according to The Scotsman, he paid himself £40.7m, a good portion of which came from profits made by the Express and Star titles. Yet at the end of 2006 he cut 60 jobs from these titles and outsourced the whole business section of the Express to the Press Association – to save costs.

Desmond appears to be happy to print anything, true or false, to sell enough papers to make a profit. The more his papers’ circulations decline the more costs he’ll presumably cut until, at some stage in the next decade or so, they eventually become unprofitable to print.

Our only hope is that the people who keep putting their hand in their pocket to buy any of his papers, stop.

Written by Martin Moore

March 19th, 2008 at 9:39 am

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JonBenet Ramsey & Madeleine McCann

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What can media coverage of JonBenet Ramsey tell us about that of Madeleine McCann?

Following a comment left by Vincent Campbell on the Media Standards Trust debate, I spent some time looking at how the US media covered the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Ramsey was 6 years old when she was found murdered in the basement of her home in 1996. She had been reported missing about 8 hours earlier when her parents found a ransom note on the stairs.

Like the McCanns, JonBenet’s parents were well off and well spoken. Like the McCanns they tried to use the media to help them work out what happened to their daughter. And like in the McCann case the key seemed to lie with DNA evidence – which could never be properly validated.

But unlike the McCanns the media quickly lost sympathy with the Ramseys, some outlets making the parents prime suspects from early on (panellists were discussing the mother’s possible guilt on the Geraldo Rivera show within 4 months). By contrast the majority of the UK press is still behind the McCanns – most notably the Mirror, although the Mail has been desperately trying to twist itself into a position where it can both sympathise and demonise (via pieces like David Jones’ article last Saturday – the worst kind of retrospective memory; ‘I have a terrible nagging doubt’ Jones wrote, ‘the McCanns might be involved…’).

The Ramsey case also ran and ran. Coming not long after the OJ Simpson trial, which dominated news coverage in 1994-95, JonBenet’s murder became a huge media spectacle. So big that memories of it were still quite fresh when, in 2006, John Mark Karr falsely confessed to murdering the child.

Various commentators suggested that the two cases together – OJ Simpson and Ramsey – altered the agendas and approach of mainstream news, one journalist writing that they “helped redefine mainstream journalism as a form of soap operatic storytelling”.

This fails to take into account the long history of dramatic personal stories, particularly in the tabloids. But it is true that for a story to so dominate all news media, for such a length of time, is rare. In the end the obsessive media coverage hurt the Ramseys beyond repair (JonBenet’s mother died of cancer in 2006). At the current rate it shows similar signs of doing terrible damage to the McCanns.

Though their case may not last a decade, if the Madeleine McCann coverage is anything like that of JonBenet Ramsey, we should expect the McCann’s to still be on front pages come summer 2008.

Written by Martin Moore

September 13th, 2007 at 5:33 pm

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