THE PRESS AND MADELEINE MCCANN
Following the coverage of the Madeleine McCann case, it is hard to feel very proud of British press. There is something nauseating about the endless speculation, the conflicting theories, pored over by the press with unseemly relish. The stories about paedophile gangs are particularly distasteful, given that they seem to be little more than poorly-sourced speculation.
Almost as unpleasant are the reports speculating on what the McCanns are going through and how much they are suffering. What purpose is served by this vampiric intrusion into other people's pain? "We share your pain" was yesterday's headline in the Sun: but you don't really, do you? It's a small point but the Sun, the Express, the Times, Telegraph and other papers, continue to refer to "Maddy", even though the family have asked that she be called Madeleine. No doubt "Maddy" makes for easier headline-writing, but even so...
Still, it's easy to blame the press but they are simply satisfying public demand. Take a look, for example, at these comments on a Guardian blog on the subject, full of lip-smacking grief-junkies poring obsessively over the details of the story and clearly getting some kind of vicarious thrill out of the whole thing. At least Sun readers have the good sense and taste to confine themselves to expressions of sympathy and support.