Over the weekend, during the start of the Premier League we saw pitchside advertising, and yellow bracelets in rememberance of Madeleine McCann. News coverage was also ongoing, marking 100 days of her disappearance.
Now I won't talk about her particular case any more because I have no real knowledge of it. But it does seem to me that the media has, overall, carried a ridiculous amount of coverage of this story.
For the family, of course, it's a tragedy. And if I were in their shoes, then I'd probably try to gain the same amount of publicity as they've managed. But there's no two ways about it - the coverage has been disproportionate. Many many children go missing every year. Some put it as high as 77,000! And while the majority are probably short term runaways, there are many more who are never seen again. But we don't get coverage of many of them.
As a commenter here says, a girl had been missing in Essex for two weeks near Manningtree. It was big news locally, but I didn't know anything about it until I saw the local East Anglian TV coverage last weekend. Sadly, a body has now been found. And for every child missing in East Anglia, there are more in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the north-east, the south-west, the midlands and so on.
We don't hear about them.
So why has this case brought such a media storm? Is it because she's a cute little girl with media-savvy parents (or advisors)?
And why has so much of the under-lying insinuation in the reporting been "aren't Portuguese police rubbish? They can't handle a case like this. Send in the Met."
All round, this case makes me very uncomfortable. The coverage is mawkish, and in many cases, being covered for commercial ends.