Madeleine v media

Two days ago, the Mirror published on-line that Mark Warner had decided to pull out of Luz due to dwindling trade following the Madeleine McCann incident.

From the Mirror –

One local said: “This place has never been the same since Madeleine went missing. It is as if a cloud is hanging over the place the whole time.

“Now the British police keep returning and it rakes it all up again.”

The Mirror reports that the parents were checking every 30 minutes.

The Express today, on-line, reports that Mark Warner  has decided to pull out of Luz due to dwindling trade following the Madeleine McCann incident.

From the Express –

One local added: “This place has never been the same since Madeleine. It’s as if a cloud is hanging over it the whole time. British police keep returning and raking it all up again.”

Obviously, the locals are all singing from the same hymn sheet.  It could not possibly be that the Express has cut and pasted the Mirror report, could it?

The Express has the parents checking every 15 minutes.  That increased frequency of checking makes the story spicier, don’t you think?  After all, if the parents were being so safety conscious, then Luz must be a really dangerous place.

Neither the Mirror nor the Express tells the reader that Thomson Holidays has taken over the contract at the Ocean Club, or that Luz through Thomson is already on Thomson.co.uk.  That would kind of spoil the Mark-Warner-pullout-devastates-Luz story, and there is no reason why the media should accurately report a situation if it spoils a good story.

I predict that other tabloids will pick up the Mirror story and run with it much as it originally appeared, with a little garnish on the side.  I also predict that within a month the ‘news’ that Thomson has taken over will appear, probably first in the Mirror.  After all, that is another story about Madeleine and Luz, and it fills a few column inches or provides another opportunity to sell on-line advertising.

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9 thoughts on “Madeleine v media

  1. If the child was snatched, then the frequency of the checks doesn’t make Luz any more or less dangerous. Fact would be a dangerous predator was lurking in Luz, and the checking only changes the method of abduction and the perception of the T9. Once kidnapper had established MBM was in G5A unprotected, then he could have abducted her on his own and have been gone within one minute.

    I do have sympathy for the decent people of Luz whose businesses have suffered. There is also a nasty element there too that from the early days of the investigation wished to blame the parents. ‘Help me, mummy’ with pictures of the missing child went up within weeks, with the proprietor of the car rental declaring the parents brought an abduction on themselves. Just a snippet, but it shows resentment from the beginning. A missing child was seen as an inconvenience by some, to the point of trying to blame the McCanns and even seemingly take the side of the abductor. That’s perverse, pecuniary, heartless and utterly inhumane.

    Apparently there were many kind people there too who wished to lend their support, but I’m sensing the former outweigh the latter rather heavily at this stage. This has gone on far too long, but MBM is still missing, and her family need closure.

    • The frequency of the checks is important, as you have already posted.

      Forget the media, simply think of the window of opportunity.

      If all the checks occurred as suggested, the window was tiny. If, as you have suggested, the Oldfield check did not happen, then we are looking at an hour. Quite possibly after someone observing has established that checks were only hourly, therefore providing an ample opportunity.

      If I were the perpetrator of this crime, I would feel much more comfortable with hourly checks than checks every 30 minutes or worse still, checks every 15 minutes.

      My key point about today’s post was you can take what has already been posted about MM/Luz – and parcel it up as a new news story – and at the same time it helps if you can twist the knife as you stick it in. It matters little as to whether it relates to reality, because reality is not the plot.

      • What I was saying wasn’t the frequency of check were unimportant (you know I think it crucial to the case)… but rather it bears no relevance to how dangerous Luz might or might not be.

        And why would people twist the knife? Are you seeing this as the press having an agenda against the town?

      • The press don’t have an agenda against Luz because they are feeding off it.

        I think the idea is that Rebecca Brooks was the one who pressured the Home Minister into a review, and the Murdoch empire is benefitting from the miles of copy that has resulted from Operation Grange. (This may be wrong, as I have not verified it, but I don’t care as the coverage exists irrespective of who kicked it off).

        By the way, on timing of checks. If you’d like to develop this into an article for the blog, I will be happy to cut (it from comments) and paste it into a new post, and credit it to you.

        I think a lot of comments go unread, particularly those on posts people have already seen. Bringing your ideas together as an article and putting them in a proper post is the best way to get them seen here.

        Changing topic entirely. If you were to enter an Irish pub doing simple Irish pub grub, what would you like to see on the menu, and what would you wash it down with?

      • Just on the food, the Dublin workingman’s tavern lunch was traditionally a pint of stout and half a dozen oysters… back when oysters cost little… you being at a seaside town you could do that cheaply and easily… not sure it’d be a success with the full-breakfast and chips mob. Soda bread and smoked salmon, capers and horse radish plus a nifty white? Wintertime classic and pub grub would be an Irish stew (neck of mutton traditionally, these days any lamb you wish to stew), spuds, leeks, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and barley, Worcestershire sauce. Or beef in Guinness… similar, add tomato purée, onions for leeks and a robust red? Right now it’s the season of spiced beef, but that requires a curing process. Depends whether you’re aiming it at Irish people or general punters, I suppose. Generally we go for stout and ales to wash it down. If I were you, I’d bank on a traditional chowder selling well.

        I really should put something together… a few projects on the go, but will have a ponder. You’d be after a piece on the checks specifically? I’ll have a think about it. Cheers.

        I know I keep coming back to these two aspects… i.e. checks and Smithman… but the latter really does puzzle me. Why did the McCanns’ team ignore Smithman? You know I strongly believe they are innocent, but that seems far more problematical to me than the dogs’ signals. I’ve tried to reason out their thinking, but I’ve never quite managed it. It’s not a question they’ve been asked, AFAIK, and I can’t explain it for them.

        Mirror-Express etc. all same beast. Red-tops operate in groups, as you say…

  2. Just read the Express article, and it is piss-poor. I see what you’re saying… calling the checks quarter-hourly making the story perhaps slightly more sensational. In their defence, it was one of the periods described, of course. Awfully written, though.

    As bad as it is, not sure anything therein can be taken seriously, but they say police are there to seek inconsistencies in statements. That might suggest they’re concentrating on people who were interviewed in 2007, perhaps? Or it’s just guff.

    Have you any figures for the impact on the local economy… even anecdotes? Just how bad has it been?

    • It may be that the Express and Mirror are part of the same group, so cut and paste is permitted.

      Impact on the local community due to Madeleine is really difficult to quantify. 2007 was when the property market went crashing, and there are dozens of unfinished buildings, unstarted plots and lots of bank repos. Unemployment is 25% or more in Portugal, and a lot of the visitors to Luz are/were Portuguese.

      The Portuguese government got bailed out and introduced swingeing economy measures. For example, until around 2 years ago, VAT on restaurant food was 13%, then they hiked it to 23%, now it is 23.25%. They introduced tolls on the motorway from Faro to Luz. They changed the law so that every single time a transaction is made, a factura is supposed to be issued. This is priced at around 80cents per factura. So if you buy a 50c cup of coffee, you can request the shop owner to issue an 80c factura. This is crippling businesses that trade in small-value transactions. Beer for €1 – factura for 80c. Ice-cream for €1.50 – factura for 80c. The local market in Lagos was deliberately set up to provide small value businesses a way to trade, and they are fighting the factura tooth and nail.

      Overall, the recession and what has come out of it is the major culprit.

      It doesn’t help that Luz is perpetually portrayed as the home of criminals, drug dealers, paedophiles, rapists and others.

      Some of the local businesses have gone bust, and that is another problem. The Duke of Holland (in the JP files) was taken over by new management when the Wrights moved to what was the Plough and Harrow. Whoever took it over went bust and did a runner to get away from debts. The way it works here, if you take on the Duke of Holland, you have to pay off the debts that are outstanding, so the Duke of Holland will be standing empty for years.

      The Mirage (also mentioned in the JP files) is no longer trading as it was running at a loss. The owner wants silly money for it – what it was worth pre-crash – so that is going to remain shut for years.

      The Madeleine effect is easy to moan about, whilst the media sees Luz as a free lunch that cannot fight back.

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