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Is Madeleine Getting Too Much Press? - 1 to 30
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General*
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Mon 21st May '07 5:41PM
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This article really resonated with what I have been feeling about the story but didn't want to articulate for fear of seaming evil: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6668801.stm
    

Diziet
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Mon 21st May '07 10:35PM
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one of the comments states that madeleine is getting so much high profile coverage because she's middle class.

this does raise the question 'would she have got so much coverage if her parents weren't doctors with thousands of pounds to spend on publicity?'

would we even know about madeleine if her parents were kev (warehouse asst) and sam (shop asst) from salford?

Clara
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Tue 22nd May '07 7:29AM
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Deanery and I were discussing this at the weekend too. We were wondering whether the constant press actually leads to more apathy. I subconsciously turn my mind off when a story is repeated over and over again, no matter how serious the subject matter. I am of the opinion that fewer, but more informative, bulletins have far more of an impact.

Don't get me wrong, I really hope they find her. I think it's an appalling situation. It's just that I don't see the point of a report every day if there's nothing new to say. Especially if all of the news agencies are sending umpteen reporters out to say nothing new.
 

Amanshu*
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Tue 22nd May '07 8:33AM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:

would we even know about madeleine if her parents were kev (warehouse asst) and sam (shop asst) from salford?



I was thinking about this the other day, and I think if nothing else about the story changed we probably would. After all as a news story it's about a beautiful blue eyed blonde girl (actually I don't have a clue if she's blue-eyed, I just imagine she is) being kidnapped. She's an obvious innocent so we can all feel protective, and we can get plenty of shots of the distraught parents looking, well distraught. Instant front page photo.

It takes place in a foreign country which immediately adds an exotic slant to it all, but it could happen to any of us (since they were just on holiday). We can immediately feel superior to all the agencies involved since there's no real comeback for slating them (what does it really matter if someone says the Portugal police have made some mistakes?)

Don't get me wrong I do really hope they find her, but I find there's something remarkably cynical underneath the coverage that makes me feel a little cold to the entire coverage of events.
   

Swoop*
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Wed 23rd May '07 12:11AM
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Hmm, this might turn into a bit of a rant. I hope there's a point. If not, I shall embark on a media campaign to find one.

I'm not sure the middle class this makes as much of a difference (except perhaps to the Daily Mail, but they'd jump on any old bandwagon anyway) as the release of a fairly cute and very recent photo which could be pimped out under the excuse of helping the bring her abductors to justice.

I've seen a fair few things about this case which have really annoyed me. Foremost was a headline somewhere, "We share your grief"

No, no we don't. I think whatever has happened to this girl is almost certainly horrific, but I would not for a second to presume that however concerned I was, I could understand even a tiny fraction of what her parents must be going through. I can imagine yes. If I had kids, I might imagine better, but it would still fall far short of their misery.
I've also heard idiots in the staff canteen at work claiming her parents:
- don't look upset enough on TV and are therefore suspects
- should not have taken their kids to a foreign country
- should be fined.

This is not necessarily the fault of the media, but it did make me furious at the public in general.

I've also heard various reports in other discussions about general child vanishing statistics. Now I can't quote sources, because I can't remember them, but the lowest estimate I've heard recently is that some 60,000 children go missing in the UK every year, That's 185 a day. Sure, most of them are runaways, heaps of them come back, some of them had 'bad' homes and ran for a reason, some of them were reported by separated parents to get back at their estranged spouses.

But 185 kids a day! Surely some of them are cute / middle class / unexplained? Apparently there's a 2.5m reward being offered? For what? Either you know something that you haven't mentioned before, in which case you're a nasty nasty person, or else you're the kidnapper in which case you ain't getting any money anyway. What's the point? It's just media hysteria and oneupmanship. (Is that one word?)
[edit]source here: In the UK, police recorded 846 cases of child abductions in 2002/03, while the total cases of missing children (runaways for any reason) is estimated at 70.000 annually.


I work in the centre of Manchester, and much to my regret, there are various large TV screen thingies in the centre of town. The one in Piccadilly bus station / gardens, pretty much the commuter centre of town has been flashing giant pictures of her, followed by the caption Maddie - missing on such a date CAN YOU HELP?

NO! I'M IN MANCHESTER! If it was a giant TV in Portugal it would still be pointless.

A giant showing of her face during the half time interval of the FA cup? Are they suggesting the players did it? They weren't even on the pitch when they showed it.

The whole thing is utterly ridiculous.
To answer Clara, I have indeed been less and less interested in what tenuous leads they have today, and more fascinated by what depths people will sink to on a day by day basis. Yesterday I found myself skimming over the actual story, just looking out for the tell tale signs of media numpties being ridiculous.

I'm just waiting for Maddie's law.

Her parents by the way, only refer to her as Madeleine.
 

Diziet
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Wed 23rd May '07 8:49AM
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i still think the middle class idea holds water. this girl's parents have the cash to oil the correct media palms in order to create the media frenzy we see now.

as for the 185 kids that go missing each day i'm willing to bet the majority of them are from impoverished homes.

the cute angle definitely holds water as well.

as for those big screens in manchester - i hate them. I HATE THEM!!! bloody things give me VERTIGO every time i look up at them!!!!

Clara
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Wed 23rd May '07 8:54AM
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Swoop was bold enough to comment:

I work in the centre of Manchester, and much to my regret, there are various large TV screen thingies in the centre of town. The one in Piccadilly bus station / gardens, pretty much the commuter centre of town has been flashing giant pictures of her, followed by the caption Maddie - missing on such a date CAN YOU HELP?

NO! I'M IN MANCHESTER! If it was a giant TV in Portugal it would still be pointless.

Her parents by the way, only refer to her as Madeleine.



Couldn't agree more with this point. The boards advertising our local paper were reading 'Yorkies help in Maddie search' at the weekend. Eh? How? Possibly one or two were in Portugal at the time and they may have photos that could help (how many ifs and buts in there?), but it seems to me that the paper had just got a press release asking them to crowbar a local angle onto the story so that it could appear in the paper.

Also, I heard one TV news reporter congratulate the parents for the marvellous way they had involved and handled the press. What?! So they wouldn't be any more deserving of our sympathy if they hadn't? Had they told the press to s*d off after a couple of days and leave them alone, would they be any less deserving of finding their little girl? Of course not!

I really hope she is safe and well and found soon. That family must be going through hell.
 

Malcolm*
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Wed 23rd May '07 9:19AM
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Swoop was bold enough to comment:
...lots of interesting stuff...

Her parents by the way, only refer to her as Madeleine.



I find this point the most poignant. I too have been thinking along the lines that most of you have expressed here, but one thing strikes me particularly: Isn't it entirely the media doing this, not her parents at all? I mean, of course her parents have and will use any means necessary to try anything to gain any desperate hope of some progress - whether that's by going on TV or anything else. That seems fairly obvious to me (and even though there are undoubtedly many parents who wouldn't, I think we can agree that it's fairly unsurprising behaviour). And as for the British (world?) public, well, they wouldn't know anything about it if it wasn't being reported, so I can't believe that their "shared grief" is a natural an unprompted reaction. I mean, yes, as Clara says, this is one more unpleasant news story that everyone would like to end nicely, but for most people that would be as far as it goes if it wasn't for the newspapers creating and fermenting the story like this.

I can never understand why the Daily Mail (and of course the others, though usually with less hatred) claim to be "reflecting the views of their readership" in this way. They don't go out and measure, on average, the depth of feeling in Britain about a particular issue. They write very large and brash opinions on the front page and thereby create the feeling itself. So, getting around to the point I was trying to make, the way it seems to me is this: the McCanns are behaving in a fairly normal and unremarkable way; the British public are having opinions and "grief" thrown at them at the expense of other news; the only ones who are active agents of this whole furore are the newspapers themselves.

I'm particularly aware of these things at the moment because the Sun and the Daily Mail, between them, did exactly this to an issue that I work with, a couple of weeks ago. You might remember it hitting the headlines. We optimistically cooperated in giving them information about an important issue (young carers). I personally even found a young person for the Mail to interview (but they rejected her because she was too cheerful and well-balanced). And the next day, it was their entire front page: a close-up of an adult's hand holding a child's, white writing on a black background, and a rant about how "Blair bows out to gracious applause having ruined the childhood of a nation" or something. It was completely hijacked for their own reasons, and they turned the whole issue into a hatred-of-the-government thing, which, for this particular issue, is massively counterproductive.

Good grief, I hate them.
   

Amanshu*
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Wed 23rd May '07 10:33AM
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You know I find myself reminded of the furore around the death of Diana. All of a sudden she went from a rather unremarkable celebrity to 'Saint Di god bless her soul'. In the horrible case that events in Portugal don't end up as everyone hopes I can imagine a similar response - everything shuts down for the funeral (which is televised) and the entire event becomes a spectacle to 'channel the nation's grief'.



Diziet was bold enough to comment:

i still think the middle class idea holds water. this girl's parents have the cash to oil the correct media palms in order to create the media frenzy we see now.




Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it isn't necessarily a factor, I'm just saying that it's only one of a lot of factors. Also don't underestimate the fact that the majority of the journalists covering it are also likely to be middle class. I'd suggest that as a factor it's more to do with the people covering it being better able to identify with a middle class couple than with a working class couple.
   

General*
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Wed 23rd May '07 6:19PM
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Wow you know when you start a thread and then don't read it for a while!

Personally I don't think the class thing has any bearing on the issue what so ever. It probably helps that the parents are well spoken and can articulate their grief.

Personally I think there is a fairly cynical tick list of things that make a "good" tabloid story and every once in a while the stars align for a perfect story. Plus one point for each thing on the list:
The victim is young
The victim is female
The victim is attractive
There is a good photograph of the victim that they can print
There is someone involved with the issue that can be a constant source of good copy (in this case the parents)
There is someone we don't like to blame for incompetance (in this case both jonny foregner and the police)
There might be some link to a hot button issue (in this case it could be a paedophile)
There is some kind of campagn they can start so they can portray themselves as heroes - If she is ever found the Sun will claim that it has direct responsibility for this happening. (I still remember the Mirror attempting to claim all the credit for live aid, by flying one plane covered in Daily Mirror advertising full of food to Africa)
The victim is white (unless there is possible race issues to get excited about)
There is some kind of talking point or conspiracy theory - In this case why did they leave young children alone.
Celebrities get involved - There seems to be some kind of bizare sense in which the more press/posters/celebrity endourcements that appear the more likely that something might happen.

I'm sure there are many others I could list but that is enough now.
    

Diziet
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Wed 23rd May '07 7:04PM
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i still disagree and think that there is a class issue involved here. that may be because i'm working class myself and i may suffer a little from 'class envy' (read comments on any local website carrying the story and you'll get some prick saying 'yeah, but what if it were a kid picked up off the street in ancoats. no one'd give a f**k). however, i doubt that.

i'm not saying this is the defining factor. general has pointed out many contributing factors that cannot be denied.

not once on this thread has anyone mentioned the fact that these parents left their children alone in a foreign hotel room after refusing an authorised babysitter because they 'didn't want to leave the kids with strangers'. this, i think, is the defining factor in this story and its been glossed over because its happened to a beautiful, wealthy, successful family. the parents were neglectful but no one has opened their mouths and said it aloud.

go back to my example of kev and sam. they come from salford, they have crap jobs, they have a 4 year old son called darren. they save all year to go on holiday to blackpool. while staying in a bed and breakfast, darren is abducted from the bedroom while kev and sam are sinking a few in the bar downstairs (read 'enjoying a meal in the restaurant'). kev and sam are taking it in turns to check on darren every half hour. then he goes missing.

yeah, the glamorous setting and the cute kid make the difference but the picture i've just painted is one of a typical working class holiday. theres no way in hell darren 'Boy Abducted While Parents Drink Beer In Seedy Blackpool B&B' is going to get the amount of coverage that this girl has. if anything the parents would be roasted in the press for being neglectful and social services would swoop down on them to assess their parenting skills.

Jog_Eerie
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Wed 23rd May '07 8:12PM
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I have been reading this post with interest and it has, in turn, made my blood boil and made me nod in wholehearted agreement.

I have to say, from my limited experience, most of what General said is correct and I would particularly emphasise the unprecedented co-operation the press are receiving from the family.

Most cases would not get covered in this way because the parents would want to be left alone and most (I stress most) newspapers strictly abide by the Press Complaints Comission Code that bans journalists from harrassment and insensitive intrusions into grief or shock.

Indeed, the PCC code is worth knowing about as it is a way of redress without having to have greater lawyer power than the newspaper in question. It seems Malcolm may want to complain under Section 1 (Accuracy). Check it all out here: http://www.pcc.org.uk

I think there has also been a bit of a free for all because of the foreign country, but not for the reasons mentioned so far. Because any trial that takes place is going to happen in Portugal, I assume some news organisations have decided they are unlikely to prejudice a future jury and can, therefore, publish pretty much anything they like.

If it was the UK and an arrest had been made there would be strict legal restrictions on what a paper could write about. This is the crux of what enrages me about this situation - print as many pictures of Madeleine as you want, if you think it helps find her (and don't tell me it hasn't - rightly or wrongly - gripped many people and don't tell me it hasn't - rightly or wrongly - sold newspapers), but I do not wish to see Robert Murat or any other suspect trialled by anything other than a court.

Also, as a small technical point: please, when you place blame squarely at the feet of "the media" please remember it is a complex body formed of a myriad of organisations and there are many good journalists out there with a fervent desire to be active citizens - some even to the point of risking their lives - and who are trying their best to be accurate, honest, fair and ethical.

It is an indictment of something (capitalist economics, political apathy, human desire for nothing more than trashy entertainment, the power of money over morality) that you perhaps don't see enough of their work. But it is more complex than the caricatured image of an evil media who choose to force a poor unsuspecting public to read things that they don't want to hear about.
 

Diziet
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Wed 23rd May '07 8:27PM
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i give up on my class theory.

jog, can i buy you a beer?

General*
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Thu 24th May '07 10:23AM
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Quality post Jog.

You are quite right the media isn't one evil mega corp (That is of course murdocs News Corp )

It is usually the Daily Hate or the Sun that gives me cause to get so angry. It is a bit of a shame that in America journalists often get portrayed as super sluth heroes while over here it is always evil paps. When if you have ever suffered US news is pretty close to the other way arround!

Also Diz - I totally did mention the kid getting left in the room!
    

Diziet
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Thu 24th May '07 10:30AM
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General was bold enough to comment:

Also Diz - I totally did mention the kid getting left in the room!



ah yes, indeed you did. sorry about that.


Emo Squid
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Thu 24th May '07 11:50AM
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I've been purposely avoiding this thread for fear of ranting. In answer to the original question: yes.
Yes, i think the story is getting far too much media attention - a timely reminder why i stopped reading newspap (ers).
Why cant "the media" (sorry, but those 2 words are far easier to type than a comprehensive list of broadcasting networks and newspaps who are choosing to give the story so much attention) run a full front-page story and/or special report on every single child that goes missing every day? Well, it is my belief - and please dont write this of as cynicism - that the vast majority of people would ignore it completely.
I cannot even begin to imagine what the family of this poor little girl must be going through and i'm sure that if i went out into the street and picked any random person to talk to about it, it wouldn't be very long before words like 'tragic' were used. None but the sickest of the sick want to hear about children coming to any harm, regardless of the child's gender, ethnicity, class or whatever.
However, no matter how tragic the event, constant exposure to it will always switch people off and eventually lead to the kind of backlash we are seeing here.
If every newspap ran 180-odd photos and last-known whereabouts of different children everyday, how many people would sit there and scrutinize them all with a genuine interest in finding them? IMO the majority of people would just ignore it.
Granted, a few people would pay attention and maybe a few of the lost children would be found as a direct result - but most likely with the same amount of press coverage that the average missing child receives now. No drama, no heroics, no reward.

Mrsham
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Thu 24th May '07 12:23PM
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Jog was bold enough to comment:
It is an indictment of something (capitalist economics, political apathy, human desire for nothing more than trashy entertainment, the power of money over morality) that you perhaps don't see enough of their work. But it is more complex than the caricatured image of an evil media who choose to force a poor unsuspecting public to read things that they don't want to hear about.



I think when any news outlet says they're "reflecting the views of their readers" they're telling the truth inasmuch as they're giving their readership what their readership want - or presumably their readership wouldn't be their readership much longer. So I agree with what you say above Jog - it's a two-way relationship. I'd say the fact that decent journalists aren't grandstanded just reflects the need in society to have a straightforward, "real-life" emotive story that people can plug themselves into. Detailed, fact-based and balanced reporting usually spoils this (life isn't like the movies), so plenty of people don't want to hear, or at least don't go beyond the big-brush technicolor picture on offer elsewhere - and to be honest I'm one of them on most issues. (None of this excuses inaccurate or misleading reporting obviously)

re Madeleine, I haven't actually seen much of the reporting - I tend not to bother with TV much, and get news from the radio and online, and just haven't clicked through very often, so the media frenzy has sort of passed me by. Swoop talked about anger at talk of "sharing their grief" and I agree with this to an extent- we might be moved and feel basic sympathy for their predicament, but most of us won't be able to empathise or understand, and it's absurd to claim otherwise (I got more pissed off with the Princess Di displays of grief, mainly because a member of my extended family died at roughly the same time!) Perhaps the big emotional stuff knocking about comes from that need to be plugged into a big story, and maybe to feel "togetherness" with other people about something important (hence "sharing grief")

Basically, people should get on online forums more - you get information and community all in one

EDITed for horrific abuse of they're and their
 

Jog_Eerie
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Thu 24th May '07 1:08PM
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Edit: Mrsham - I think this repeats some of what you said - you got there before me!

Diz: Thanks mate, but don't rule out your class theory too. I was just adding the practical/legal aspects that have certainly added to the frenzy.

Stories are chosen, ultimately, by a combination of what is available in the time and what will appeal to the readers of the newspaper.

The Sun (particularly) has a very strong idea of what an 'average' reader will be like and what they want to hear about. If they didn't The Sun certainly wouldn't be pulling in around 3.1 million readers a day, especially in a world that is increasingly moving away from newspapers.

If those readers are going to like cute, middle-class tots and tragic stories of woe in somewhere that's supposed to be a safehaven, with a bit of evil villain thrown in for good measure, then they will carry the story.

If they get a lot of co-operation from the parents and family of the child, then they will carry the sotry in more detail. Ultimately, it's about whether the majority of readers will identify with the story in some way and want to hear about it.

(I could go into the Jungian theory of identifying with archtypes here, but that is a thesis in itself! Suffice to say simple stories with heros and victims we identify with are always more attractive to consume than complex stories with multiple intepretations - I believe that is why we are, in general, a nation of tabloid readers.)

So, as I've said, it is a journalist's job to try to cater for the majority of people they think are reading/watching.

This means that sometimes an organisation will focus on, say, a mass-shooting in the US when, at the same time, a horrific terrorist attack in Iraq barely makes the front pages. This is because the editorial decision has been that the audience will identify more with the US attack and it will ultimately get more people buying papers/tuning in.

I think, as General said, in addition to the press access to the parents, Madeleine has got a lot of exposure because her story appeals to so many people - anyone who has children or grandchildren, or a sister, or gone on a package holiday, or even experienced the fear of being lost as a child. It is this appeal to empathy that leads to silly headlines such as "we share your grief".

If the editors get it wrong then sales will/should drop and people should complain. Really, it is incredible how sensitive editors are to the views of their audience and I think people who buy papers/watch news underestimate their power.

ES: I think you're right, one of the biggest problems with mainstream media is it is all trying to get the latest on the story of the moment to bring in/keep their audience. This, more often than not, leads to overexposure of a story.

I don't have any answer to how you limit that from happening. Would a paper/news station have kept its audience if it had only carried limited updates of the Madeleine story? I suppose only if it had worked its guts out to find an equally gripping story to have in its place.

In addition, it is your perogative to lump "the media" together for ease of language.

I guess it is the age old problem with grammar which means we isolate and anger more people than we mean to when we refer to a body of people using the definite article.

If I was not doing the job that I am, and slogging my guts out to be a ethical, responsible journalist, I expect I would not have batted an eyelid at the phrase.
 

Diziet
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Tue 29th May '07 1:15PM
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they've got the pope involved now...

http://manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1007/1007856_pope_visit_to_keep_daughter_in_prayers.html

Mildred
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Fri 8th Jun '07 3:30PM
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I'm going to be really simplistic, and probably risk really annoying you all... In considering the question, is Madeleine McCann getting too much press coverage, I can't help thinking - does it really matter? Can it be a bad thing, if it helps to find her? There are worse things happening in the world, than a bit of overenthusiastic press coverage.

I'll quickly qualify what I've just suggested:

Firstly, as several people have pointed out, it probably won't help find her. It might. We don't know. No one does.

Secondly, I have certainly found it just as bizarre and actually, if I'm honest, almost annoying, as everyone else that this press coverage has gone on and on. Ususally when something like this happens it is in the news for a week tops and then we all forget about it. This time we haven't been able to forget about it. We have to keep seeing those grieving, terrified, traumatised parents. It isn't comfortable. It isn't pleasant. But when I've caught myself thinking 'I wish they wouldn't keep pushing this story', I've asked myself why I actually don't want to keep hearing about it. Its because every day that goes by the chances of her being found lessen, and every now and again, when I hear about it on the radio in the morning or on the TV news, it actually occurs to me that this is real, this is a real little girl and something very bad has happened to her - it isn't just a 'news story' that briefly makes contact with my mind and slides off it again. And I don't want to keep on having to think about that - who would? Her parents do have to, they don't have any choice, and that scares me when I think about what that must be like for them. So I'm certainly loath to criticise them for doing whatever they can to find their child.

The sad thing is that the press coverage will end, eventually, and then her parents will be left to deal with it by themselves. The newspapers and the Pope and the celebrities aren't going to be there to sit with them in the months to come when finally public interest dies, and the campaign fades away, and Madeleine is still missing.

I also think it is very sad that there are lots of other children, and people, who go missing and don't receive this kind of press attention, this kind of international campaign and celebrity involvement. But given that there won't ever be any kind of fair way of administering press attention in order to find missing people, or an equitable way of dividing up press attention amongst all the 'tragic' stories in the news... there doesn't seem much point criticising this particular case, as unusual and odd as it is.

That's my view, anyway
 

Mildred
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Mon 11th Jun '07 2:53PM
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Just found this article by India Knight in the Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/india_knight/article1875737.ece
which expresses more eloquently what I was getting at in the above post.
 

Ginger fury
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Mon 11th Jun '07 10:50PM
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Oh please daddy no was written by a local to my area I believe. Re Madeleine, I had a Police Officer bitting at the bit to press crimal charges of neglect against these paretns in my room the other day. I have to say I took my kids away and kept them up and took them out of there routine. when they were tired they fell asleep in the buggy we took them with us. It's not ideal but I could not leave them alone, I'd have rather stayed in. Those parents must feel neglegent. However no one could predict what happend. I would have expected a drowning or scalding with children left alone at that age for up to an hour at a time, unfortunately they had the worst end of the spectrum.

Sorry if that sounds horribly offensive but they would not have done this in England and if they did nip down the pub for half an hour/ an hour and this happend, they would have been charged with wilful neglect and the rest of the other children may have been taken into civil proceedings.

I know that sounds horribly hard but Im guessing thats what would have happend in England in spite of the the suffering of the parents at the loss of the child. She was there responsibility.

Mildred
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Thu 21st Jun '07 12:50PM
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13th Sep '04
This article http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2073653,00.html points out that the restaurant where the McCanns were eating at the time of Madeleine's abduction was 'just yards away' from the locked room where the children were (they checked on them once every half hour), so it is perhaps not equivalent to popping down the pub. Unless I've got confused about how big a yard is (quite possible!) i'd guess this would be more like eating your dinner in the garden while your children are asleep in their bedrooms upstairs, which I would imagine most parents would feel fairly comfortable with (although I'm not a parent so I don't know what the norms are around this sort of thing.)

Apparently, 'In British law, a child can be left alone so long as he or she isn't at risk.' I guess here it is a case of what the degree of risk was, bearing in mind that the younger the child the greater the risk would be. But without knowing the specifics of the case, I personally don't feel equipped to judge the McCanns as negligent.
 

Ginger fury
i sing chaka khan songs while wearing my white stilettos
Thu 21st Jun '07 6:47PM
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The generral rule advised by the NSPCC is that no child should be left alone under the age of 10 and that any baby sitter should be 14 or above although this is frowned upon as they have no adult accountability If there were any accedents then the paretns would be held accountable as the child can not be held accountable for the risks imposed. Although the British law is does not stipulate this. In relation to risk, yes indeed the younger the child the greater the risk. And these were young children.

The half hour or so comment was noted because on the CCTV it showed that the last check was an hour before.

The few yards away was actually 50 yards.

In relation to locking the children in the room, I'v just been out to see a mother who locks her two teenage girls in there room at night. Given this I will need to put the children's names on the Child Protection Register in relation to the fire risk if nothing else. However in the case in question the risks would have been far greater in relation to electricution, drowning, scalding and at the very least emotional distress at being left alone.

If i or any Social Worker was to find any 10 or under 10 year old alone in a house we have a duty to call the Police who would take the door down and place the children under a Police Protection Order until the paretns were found and assessed as being able to protect the children from harm.

As I mentioned earlier no one could have guessed that the family would have experienced the worst outcome imaginable. However that was the "risk" they decided to take in leaving very young children alone.

Im pritty sure that the parents continue to suffer greatly and I really do feel for them. However no one knows as yet the suffering of that child. Once again I do appologise If that sounds increadebly hard. I suppose it's the Social Worker in me.


Mildred
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Wed 27th Jun '07 12:54PM
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Ginger fury was bold enough to comment:
The generral rule advised by the NSPCC is that no child should be left alone under the age of 10 and that any baby sitter should be 14 or above although this is frowned upon as they have no adult accountability If there were any accedents then the paretns would be held accountable as the child can not be held accountable for the risks imposed. Although the British law is does not stipulate this. In relation to risk, yes indeed the younger the child the greater the risk. And these were young children.

The half hour or so comment was noted because on the CCTV it showed that the last check was an hour before.

The few yards away was actually 50 yards.





Thanks for clarifying those facts of the case, Ginger Fury, I hadn't really been following the detail of the story but I definitey think 50 yards is quite a bit different to 'a few yards' (which to me implies three or four at the most!)! And the half hour thing is v. worrying too. After my last post I looked at a photo marked with the various locations and the restaurant did actually look quite a considerable distance away from the hotel. Hmmm it does make me wonder why they chose to do that, to leave the kids there. As I mentioned before, I'm not a parent, but if I were or if I were looking after someone else's children there's no way I'd feel comfortable leaving children locked in a hotel room and being that far away (or leaving them locked in any room, of course - way too risky). I guess because I felt sorry for M's parents I was inclined to not judge them, but actually the points you raise are really important ones. It's really worrying to think that parents out there are leaving their kids alone, maybe not realising the very real risks and not registering that this is negligent behaviour. Hopefully the McCann case will underline to parents how important it is to not leave children alone in these circumstances....maybe the law should be clearer on this point.
 

Ginger fury
i sing chaka khan songs while wearing my white stilettos
Wed 27th Jun '07 6:16PM
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Glad to clarify the situation, I was worried about sounding arsey, It's just a subject that I feel very strongly about.

I once lived in a hostle for three months and was told that I could go out at night but that my child could not. The house rules said that If I went out I could leave my beloved child with on of the other inmates. Like the family in question I did not want to leave my child with strangers, but unlike that family I chose to stay in. I do not consider myself to be in any way a super mum but I suspect that the magority of responsible adults would have chosen to stay with children rather than leaving them.

I doubt very much that any Child Protection proceedures will be issued against this family and the response will be due to public pressure and the media frenzey. In my opinion it'll be an issue of politics. And it's wrong.

The law is very lose due to children having different levels of maturity I think, but your right it should be clearer. If it has stopped other parents from leaving there children the press attention may have served to save many children from harm in the future (one hopes). Every cloud and all that.

Diziet
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Mon 13th Aug '07 9:40PM
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i tentatively offer this argument because i only have a small understanding of the quantum theory, but could madeleine mccann be the human example of Schrodinger's Cat?

after all, she exists in a double state. we all know her from her photos as a vibrant little girl full of life. then again we all also know that she could well be dead.

do any techy minded people have any thoughts on this?

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Tue 14th Aug '07 10:05AM
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I found it quite amusing that on the news stand yesterday one paper had "She is still alive!" and the next one said "We must face the fact that she is dead"

And they are making a fuss at the accusation that they will print any unsubstantiated rumour.
    

Dregan
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Wed 14th Nov '07 5:04PM
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yes

    

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Wed 14th Nov '07 5:29PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:
i tentatively offer this argument because i only have a small understanding of the quantum theory, but could madeleine mccann be the human example of Schrodinger's Cat?


No, because people actually care about Scrodinger's cat.
  

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