Madeleine McCann: 4 police, Google gold and front-page news
Madeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the media.
The Sun (front page): “Cops in hunt for Maddie slashed”
The “search” has been “drastically cut back”. Reducing the number of police officers on the case from a platoon-sized 29 to a small office-sized 4 is “a huge blow to parents Kate and Gerry”.
This news is shared with the other front-page police matters that “Britain’s tops cops” have warned that “huge spending cuts will spell the end for bobbies on the beat”. It’s cost The Met Police not much under £11m since 2011 to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann. The Sun’s juxtaposition of the two stories is not accidental.
Page 9: “FEAR OF LOST GIRLS PARENTS – IS THIS END OF COP HUNT FOR MADDIE?”
Answer: No. Four police remain on the case.
We hear from a “source close to Mum Kate and dad Gerry”. They say: “They know it can’t go on forever. They’re preparing for it to be shelved for good in coming months.”
We hear their official “statement”: “We remain hopeful she may still be found…”
Daily Mail (Page 25): “”Maddie probe team is slashed from 29 detectives to just 4.”
Just 4. Just?
We learn that the Government “initially set aside 5m for the Met probe”. We are reminded that the Portuguese investigation was “marred by blunders”.
It has also sold a lot of newspapers and garnered online clicks.
Daily Express (front page): “MADDY: POLICE RUN OUT OF CLUES”
Did they ever have any?
The Express agrees that there will “just” four offices working full-time on the case.
Page 9: “McCanns cling to hope as inquiry is cut back”
To illustrate how this story has gone nowhere, this is the Daily Express headline from 29 April 2009: “Madeleine’s parents still cling to hope.”
The paper notes:
Since the little girl, who would now be 11, vanished, every possible theory has been explored including that she was kidnapped by a peadophile [sic], killed during a botched burglary and her body dumped, snatched by traffickers and sold to a childless couple and she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident.
The Express, of course, indulged in another theory that cost it dear when it libelled the McCanns:
The question of what happened to the little girl has not only become a personal tragedy for the McCann family, but a national obsession in the UK and in Portugal. However, to date, not one shred of proof of what happened to Madeleine has been unearthed.
Not everyone has been as obsessed as the Express:
Daily Mirror (front page): “MADDIE – Police scaling down hunt”
Page 11: “Maddie Cops Cut From 29 To Four – But Met says investigation continues”
Not shelved, then. But there are – get this – “just four” detectives on the case.
Daily Star (front page): “Search for Maddie cut”
Page 6: “Family’s agony as cops slash Maddie squad”
Agony? Surely the agony was the child vanishing. The case remains open. The parents “remain hopeful”
Such are the facts.