Anorak News | Madeleine McCann And Shannon Matthews: Paul Routledge’s Media Debate

Madeleine McCann And Shannon Matthews: Paul Routledge’s Media Debate

by | 14th, March 2008

shannon-matthews.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann and Shannon Matthews

DAILY MIRROR: “Class snobs taint hunt for Shannon”

Paul Routledge says: “Her stepfather Craig Meehan is right to say that being working-class is a factor in this case.”

Shannon Matthews went missing because she is from a working class family?

Compare the treatment of Shannon with the hype surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal last year. It pays to be middle-class when your daughter vanishes.

How? Madeleine McCann has not been found. How does losing a child pay? The Mirror told us it was the biggest manhunt since the Yorkshire Ripper? Is the police effort not as important to solving a mystery as the media’s comments on it?

Huge sums of money flooded into the campaign to find Maddy. Spin doctors, including former TV newscaster Clarence Mitchell, were hired to manipulate the media.

The McCanns, young, smartly-dressed, articulate and professional, became overnight celebrities. They flew to America, Scandinavia and to Rome where they met the Pope. In contrast, Shannon’s mother Karen and her partner have been treated almost like lepers.

A snooty BBC radio interviewer was keen to find out if she had had seven children by six fathers.

Seven children by six fathers… Why does Mr Routledge find a need to repeat that fact? If the McCanns have a spin doctor does it matter if the press refuse to listen to him, decline to repeat his words?

Routledge writes in the Mirror, the paper that in the maw of the McCann feeding frenzy told us of “creepy” Robert Murat and placed a yellow ribbon on its masthead. No ribbon now. Not for Shannon Matthews.

He says: “God grant they find her safe and well. But this case brings to the surface some unpalatable facts that many would prefer not to face.”

No kidding…

MIRROR (Page 9, side column): “Town fear over lost Shannon”

Supervised play areas are to be set up in missing Shannon Matthew’s home town to calm parents’ fears about their children’s safety. Police and council chiefs have come up with the idea to reassure parents who have been scared by the nine-year-old’s disappearance 24 days ago. They are also planning to set up a walking bus in the area to accompany children going to school in Dewsbury, West Yorks. Community support officers will also be on patrol, particularly around play areas during the Easter holidays.

A Kirklees council spokesman said: “We are working to make the community feel safer.”

THE GUARDIAN: “Mothers and monsters – In the media’s hands, Fiona MacKeown has become a scapegoat for the middle classes”

MacKeown is not the only one. Kate McCann was criticised for dressing too well, not crying enough, her hair too neat; Shannon Matthews’s mother, Karen, has had too many children and too many partners. No woman emerges from the public scrutiny unscathed. Let’s be clear, the scale of the intolerance is well beyond rationality. There is a profound superstition (or social mechanism) at work whereby we transmute anxiety into persecution. MacKeown has to be made into a monster; it enables readers to distance themselves from the tragedy and so find flimsy reassurance that it could not happen to them. The reader enjoys a rich moment of “I’m not like that” self-congratulation: this is how the media turns tragedy into a form of entertainment.

THIS IS LONDON: “McCanns refuse to axe £50,000-a-month private detectives in search for Madeleine”

Refuse? Who’s asking them to?

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, confirmed today: “Our relationship with Metodo 3 is continuing. They are being kept on on a monthly retainer. Brian Kennedy will continue to pay their fee of £8,000. The Find Madeleine Fund will continue to pay their operating costs which have averaged about £50,000 a month up until now but have started to fall and will probably continue to do so as the number of leads they need to follow up drops off. Some of the comments Mr Marco has made in the past have been a bit extravagant and have caused some embarrassment but that has stopped now. Brian Kennedy feels that they are a doing a good job in difficult circumstances with passion and commitment and that is important to us. They have also developed a large knowledge base during the six months they have already spent working on the case.

Watching the detectives:

“The Portuguese police might not sanction Metodo 3’s activity. But being Spanish and Portuguese speakers working in regions where they have language, cultural and technical ties with the police, the Policia Judiciaria seem at least to tolerate them which is important.”

OFD the Fund?

The Find Madeleine Fund, once at £1.2 million, is now down to £544,000.

Mr Mitchell says: “If spending continues at its current rate and nothing comes in, we’ll be down to £407,000 by the end of the month. But money is still coming in, albeit more slowly, and we’ve always been happy with Metodo 3’s operational work.”

THE CHRISTIAN POST: “Churches ‘Too Trusting’ on Child Protection Issues, Says Author”

The Catholic Church?

A long time police officer has warned in a new book that churches are putting children at risk because they are “too trusting” toward sex offenders.

“Churches are far too trusting when it comes to sex offenders,” says Rebecca Andrews, a police officer with many years of experience in child protection and pedophile units, in her book Policing Innocence. Child abuse has come under the media spotlight again in recent weeks after the high profile case of missing nine-year-old school girl Shannon Matthews and a major police investigation into abuse at the Jersey children’s home Haut de la Garenne. The abduction of the then three-year-old Madeleine McCann from her family’s holiday apartment in the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007 also brought the issue of child protection to the fore.
Mainstream churches, including the Church of England, have taken steps over the years to upgrade their child protection policy in the wake of damaging pedophilia cases. But child protection considerations must stretch beyond the walls of the church, according Andrews.

“Many of those on the sex offenders register say they go to church – but churches are not geared up to recognizing pedophiles or protecting the children in their care. Nor are the big annual events that attract thousands of children every year,” she says.

Spreading the fear.

Madeleine McCann – all the news and views

Posted: 14th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (1,097) | TrackBack | Permalink