Monday, June 16, 2008

The Media, The McCanns and the Corbys

I used to believe that the the gutter press here in the UK were about as low as it was possible for the media to be. It appears that I was wrong: the Australian media is even more immoral and blood thirsty in their ruthless pursuit of circulation. The media in both countries do, however, share many similarities, above and beyond significant common ownership.

One similarity relates to the evolution of a news story. Time and time again a story begins with the truth. If it is a big story, as it runs its course, the media become ever more desperate to report further developments. To find new angles. To find spin-off stories. To present 'exclusives'.

As time passes, the latter become more detached from the actual story itself. Frequently, they also become more detached from reality. Stories appear based upon the most ludicrous of leads - stories which are clearly preposterous. But they make a good headline. They sell papers or generate viewers.

The problem is that as a result REAL people often get hurt, and sometimes very badly hurt. Yet the dregs of the journalist profession carry on remorselessly.

Over here in the UK, as in Australia, the media have a long and shameful record of reporting events relating to a person, and then seeking to destroy them through the above route. There are countless examples of this, but a (relatively) recent one relates to the McCanns.

If anyone is unaware, in 2007, a 4 year old British child, Madeleine McCann, was kidnapped in Portugal whilst on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry. There was massive media coverage of this, and naturally, substantial national sympathy for her parents. The story ran for months. After a while, as there was actually no new information or real news to report, the stories became more ridiculous. So-called 'sightings' of Madeleine were common. Of course, they were by and large absurd, but running the stories served a purpose in terms of circulation and sales.

As the police got desperate, they also made the parents "arguidas", or suspects, presumably because they had been so unsuccessful in tracking exactly what had happened. This of course opened the door for the media hounds: and a character assasination period ensued. Of course, there was no evidence against the McCanns, but from the immmoral and unethical stance of simply selling newspapers, this was clearly not an impediment.

Fortunately, the McCanns did have contacts, and understood the need for active and professional media management from the very start. They were able to reel this back in, and re-focus attention back on to the case itself, and back on to their missing daughter and investigation.

Not so fortunate was Schapelle Corby. Apart from being held in a cage, she did not have the benefit of such advisors and expertise. When the lower life forms of the media industry began to seek ludicrous spin-off stories, she was totally exposed to them. There was no re-focus on the case itself, just the impact of lies and distortion upon public perception.

Working in a media related industry myself, this was hard to take. To watch the media embark on the same old trusted path, and then seeing that the victim of this innuendo was already suffering horribly, added to my frustration and anger.

The vile people who do this sort of thing really do need to take a good look at themselves. They need to understand that their actions can hurt and kill. They need to accept their responsibilities, not just as journalists, but as human beings. When someone can suffer so badly as a result of distortion and spin, they need to report truth with absolute diligence.

Yes... I know... it is pointless appealling to their conscience. However, I will certainly not refrain from exposing individual 'journalists' in future posts and press releases should the opportunity arise. Morpheus is watching.

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At July 10, 2008 8:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the evil old adages "just doing my job" and "give the people what they want" is what these reporters fall back on. It's savage, and it makes me pray for karma in their lifetime. Some sort of awareness of what this process leads to.


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