Treatment of the McCanns beyond biased

I have been very disappointed throughout the whole of the Madeleine McCann furore and the media treatment of the couple.

Since the child disappeared they press have been nothing short of scandalous.

It seems that, in the eyes of the British press, the parents, who are incredibly irresponsible, can do no wrong.

The tabloids, and unfortunately some of the broadsheets, have been more interested in damning the Portuguese police than providing an accurate account of a mising child.

A newspaper is supposed to act like a mirror held up to society, reflecting the events so that the public can see the world for what it is.

But for some reason, maybe it’s a class issue or maybe even a race issue, the McCanns seem to be exempt form criticism.

And it seems to me that they deserve to be criticised. It must be hard to lose a daughter but at the very least they have been awful parents.

Why would any parents in their right mind continually leave three young children on their own, at night, while they go out for a drink?

There are also rumours that they couple drugged their children – with the police claiming that the McCanns other children were difficult to awaken after their elder sister went missing.

The fact remains that only the McCanns know whether or not they were involved in the death of their child.

So I don’t know why the Daily Mail is so sure that they are innocent.

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Why is Di’s death still an issue ten years on?

I couldn’t have agreed more with Polly Toynbee’s piece in Saturday’s Guardian concerning the tenth anniversary of the death of Diana.

It’s funny to think that more than a decade after the death of a pampered Princess -who by all accounts just did the odd bit of charity work – that there is still so much media interest.

“For outside the chapel, where police with barriers expected multitudes, there were barely more watchers than at an ordinary August changing of the guard. An outraged Daily Telegraph had called for ten giant screens to satisfy the expected throng, Toynbee wrote.

“But journalists and camera crews from around the world almost outnumbered Royalists, with a shortage of Diana worshippers to film. Most who thinly lined the rails were curious tourists, few were British. Whatever that strange wailing, teddy-bear hugging spasm of public anguish was ten years ago, it ended here yesterday.”

And I totally agree. I was actually glad to see that hardly anyone turned up for the tenth anniversary service because it was ludicrous.

The fact of the matter is that ten years ago a normal, average, run-of the-mill woman died. She just happened to be a princess. It was a tragic end to the life of a lady who the public did not personally – so why all the crying and candlelit vigils?

I just hope that the whole matter would just be put to bed once and for all.

Seeing Diana on the front of every right-wing claptrap broadsheet and tabloid was getting beyond tiresome.

The McCanns and the media circus

At the risk of sounding very unpopular I think that is about time that the McCanns took a break from courting the media limelight and began to reflect on the actual whereabouts of their missing daughter Madeleine.

They have suffered a tragedy that must be every parents worst nightmare and my heart, and indeed the hearts of the nation, are with them but it is inappropriate for them to be touring Europe.

I understand that the purpose of these trips are to raise awareness of the missing girl but I think it is grossly unfair to devote such time and attention to one case where others are just left with the odd page in the national press. It also unnecessary for the McCanns to have an audience with the Pope where there surely must be others more in need.

I find it dismaying that some stories are subject to great media bias where others are afforded little coverage. Madeleine is not the first child to go missing and nor is she the last but I cannot recall any other occassion when a child has gone missing and their has been a continental tour of appeal for their return.

The media has heralded the strength and courage of the McCanns but has refused to criticise there inexplicable decision to leave three children under the age of four alone and unattended in a foreign country without even locking a door.

The McCanns appear to be becoming minor celebrities due to their irresponsible behaviour and this is must not be allowed to happen.

I am with everyone who wishes for a safe return of Madeleine but the time has come for them to stop playing ringmaster to the media circus and actually start working with the Portuguese police to find their missing child.

Dangers of the job

The plight of BBC correspondant Alan Johnston has once again underlined the dangers of journalism.

Johnston, who was seized at gunpoint in Gaza on 12 March, is now believed to be dead.

It is the job of the journalist to hold a mirror up to the world and to show the public its reflection.

It is sad to think that innocents trying to do a job can be caught up in the very politics theyy are trying to portray.

Fingers crossed that Alan will return safely but his capture only re-iterates the implications of
being a foreign correspondent.

It is sad to think that some have to take their lives in their hands just to keep us informed.

Admit it… we are biased

As a student of journalism it upsets me to have to say this but at times I have to despair for the British media. The bias it displays is too embarrassing for words.

This manifests itself in all the popular medium: from broadsheet to tabloid newspapers to television programmes and radio broadcasts.

I could cite many thousands of examples but here a just a few that happen to stick in my mind.

1. The Death of Princess Diana
The death of the Princess occurred only shortly before the death of Mother Theresa, a modern day saint., Diana stories had all the headlines and still continues to do so.

2. Jeremy Clarkson
Has clearly made xenophobic comments on television and still holds down a job at the BBC. Unacceptable

3. British Casualties in major incidents
It is obviously very important when disaster strikes to keep us informed of the British plight in case a loved has been injured, however it seems to me that a British life is worth more. Tragedies that don’t involve the British are rarely even covered.

4. The amount of foreign affairs coverage in newspapers
Tabloids like the Sun and the Mirror have little or no foreign coverage and a Baghdad blast is seen as less newsworthy than Pete Doherty’s latest stint in rehab. The broadsheets do a little better but there is still room for improvement.

…. and for me by far the worst is the coverage of sport.

There are some many things wrong here it is untrue.

English sportsman are over hyped and under perform (look at the likes of Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard compared to say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Michael Essien and you tell me who has played better this season).

Commentary should be about describing the action not cheering your team on. This isn’t SkySports Fanzone. Andy Gray lost it when Gerrard scored against Olympiakos, David Pleat loses it every time Spurs are on ITV and Ian Wright loves England too much to provide any sort of sensible analysis.

Then there is cheating versus gamesmanship. Michael Owen dives and Cristiano Ronaldo dives. The difference is that Owen is guilty of gamesmanship and Ronaldo is a cheat.

And when English fans have behaved badly and the police have reacted they are always seen as being heavy handed. Hooligans are still a problem in this country and we need to wise up to it.

I could go on and on but it would get boring. The point is that although we are patriotic it doesn’t mean with have to be idiotic. There is no need to be biased or derogatory in our media representations.

I’d love like to see important news at the front of a paper and not just British celebrity nonsense.

The next time England fail in another major tournament of any sport I want us to hold our hands up and admit we were shit.

There can’t always be a scapegoat.