Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monetising Misery

I've refrained from commenting on the case of Madeleine McCann, still to be found after her disappearance last year for all the usual reasons. No one, of course, can imagine what her parents have been through. The disappearance of a child is always a horrendous & distressing affair.
However, I began to feel uneasy about Kate & Gerry McCann's approach when they formed what amounted to a PR operation; the appearance on TV of smooth, articulate spin merchants jarred when viewed in the context of the case. Human tragedy was being cheapened by presentational approach. When it was reported that the operation was referred to as Team McCann, I began to wonder about the priorities of the parents. The case of their missing daughter was being turned into a brand. To the world of McDonalds, Microsoft, Starbucks, et al could be added "Find Maddie", a new item for the consumer's attention. Moreover, the Daily Express, when not peddling the latest Diana conspiracy, reproduced Madeleine's photograph on its front page with a regularity which owed everything to circulation figures & nothing to journalistic endeavour.
Today's news that the McCann's story is to be commited to celluloid marks a new low:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,2237215,00.html .
The Guardian piece quotes Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for Kate & Gerry McCann:
"If in theory a large film were to be made our lawyers would make sure our commercial interests are protected."
Commercial interests?!
Such thinking does the McCanns no favours at all. In fact, I'd go further: it is sick & perverted to invoke copyright & intellectual property rights when a child has been abducted & the police investigation continues.

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