Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Prayers, Bones And Media

Madeleine McCann: Prayers, Bones And Media

by | 15th, March 2008

mccann-reward.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

Remember, everyone, to play Anorak Bingo you must mention Madeleine McCann, Shannon Matthews and – here’s the tie-breaker – Scarlett Keeling. Eyes down…

DAILY MAIL: Amanda Platell

There cannot be a person in the country who didn’t feel a surge of delight on learning that little Shannon Matthews has been found alive and well.

We can think of one.

All the more so in these days when good news has become such a rare commodity. Yet even as we celebrate, we should spare a thought for Gerry and Kate McCann, for whom Shannon’s discovery, wonderful as it is, will be a fresh reminder of their own terrible loss. The return of one lost girl is a marvel. The return of two . . . now that’s a miracle worth praying for.

Was it the power of prayer that got Shannon Matthews found? If so, who gets the reward?

Tick. Tick.

THE INDEPENDENT: “Deborah Orr: Wonderful news that carries a message for the media”

It isn’t often that the papers have some really wonderful news to report. But it really is wonderful that Shannon Matthews has been found alive.

Amanda Platell agrees.

This amazing news also carries a lesson for the media, about the way it turns horrible crimes into great stories, and what an unpleasant, self-regarding business this can be.

There were suggestions that Shannon’s disappearance was not getting the coverage afforded to another lost child, Madeleine McCann, because the latter was a middle-class child and the former a child from a more modest and chaotic background. There is some truth in this argument, of course.

You can read about it all over the media.

But the underlying assumption is that all the publicity around the McCann case is something desirable and useful, while the more meagre reporting about the Matthew case is undesirable and useless. If children really could be reunited with their parents because of the magical power of speculative column inches, though, then Madeleine, not Shannon, would have been returned to her family by now. The very idea that the hypocritical furore around Madeleine is something to be aspired to, a benchmark of any positive kind, is quite wrong and ought to be challenged.

The McCanns should not be the media’s benchmark for missing children. We’ve heard that before…

True, the “debate” helped to keep Shannon’s abduction in the public domain, just as the “debate” around Made-leine continues to keep her case in the public domain.

A debate. On what? What was being debated?

It might be argued that there would have been no great endeavour to find Shannon had the press not made the supposedly modest fuss it did.


I believe this isn’t the case. The local media has a vast part to play, but the national and international press, apart from reporting facts about the investigation, can offer little but intrusive “colour”. The reality is that the vast majority of the “stories” written about the McCann case have been prurient and sensational pieces of cynical propaganda, serving no practical purpose at all except for the selling of newspapers.

Indeed. Read all about selling papers in the Independent.

Tick. Tick.

IRISH INDEPENDENT: “Divers recover bag of small bones in search for Maddy”

DIVERS searching an Algarve reservoir for Madeleine McCann yesterday found a plastic bag containing small bones. Police experts were last night examining the gruesome find made by a frogman working for a Portuguese lawyer.
Gerry and Kate McCann were informed immediately by a private detective who was observing the search. Madeira-based lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia says he was tipped off by underworld contacts that Madeleine was murdered and her body thrown into the reservoir last May.

The search turned up the bones in the murky waters of the Barragem do Arabe reservoir yesterday at 3.30pm.

Mr Correia said last night: “We found two bags one of which contains some small bones. We don’t know if they are human bones or not at this stage. If they are human bones, they look like they come from a child’s fingers.”

Tick. And a half tick for speculation.

THIS IS LONDON: “Bag of small bones found in reservoir where lawyer claims Madeleine McCann’s body was dumped”

Says Clarence Mitchell: “We have not been informed of anything by the police to indicate that this find is significant. There is nothing to indicate at this stage that they are human bones and they could easily be from an animal. There is nothing at the moment to indicate that this find has anything to do with Madeleine. We continue to believe she is alive.”

THE SUN: “Shannon: 24 days of tears”

IN the end, the prayers were answered – as yesterday the tears of anguish over missing Shannon Matthews turned to sobs of relief.

Prayers. What of the tip off? The police work?


Sunday, February 24: CHURCHGOERS pray for Shannon’s safe return. Madeleine McCann’s parents send a message of support.
Tick. Tick.

THE GUARDIAN: “What women want”

Following last year’s Booker win, Anne Enright is finally enjoying wider recognition – despite her work’s reputation for being gloomy and obsessed with sex and death

She became the target of ire in the tabloids when they picked up an article she wrote in the London Review of Books dissecting her reaction to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The piece was full of ambivalence, describing her suspicions of Gerry and Kate McCann but in the end condemning her own voyeurism. She refuses to say whether the fracas upset her, but seems sensibly resigned, agreeing that events proved how she was naive to think her nuances would be understood in the grotesque guessing game that the story had become: “I was misread and I hoped that would become apparent, but there’s no point in me stomping around and fighting with shadows.”

All the speculation

Posted: 15th, March 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (621) | TrackBack | Permalink