Home truths on Haut de la Garenne

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Home truths on Haut de la Garenne

Postby Swan » Sun May 25, 2008 12:53 pm

The following article has been copied from Jersey's newspaper.

As I was reading the article I thought how the pieces I have highlighted could be equally applied to the Madeleine McCann case.


http://www.thisisjersey.com/2008/05/24/ ... a-garenne/

Home truths on Haut de la Garenne
May 24, 2008 – 10:15 am

IT is hard to know how the handling of the Haut de la Garenne case could get messier. For a while, it would have been possible to give general media the benefit of the doubt in their desire to push the agenda, but no longer.

This is not about finding the truth and has not been for some time. It is the story which is king and that and the truth are not necessarily the same thing.

There has been much talk about how the States police and specifically deputy police chief Lenny Harper has manipulated the press. This is not new. Companies run classes these days in how to handle the media.

Everyone from charities to big business employ press relations professionals to handle the media, so we really can't start having a go at the police for doing so, even when that handling appears to get out of hand.

Perhaps if fewer of us were being taught how to manipulate each other more, better information might actually come forward.

Less, though, is said about how the media have manipulated the situation to their own ends.

With apologies to individuals who will in the following be tarred with an unpleasant brush, there is little that has happened in the past few months in relation to Haut de la Garenne and the investigations of child abuse at the home in which anyone has emerged with any honour.

It is the job of the media to probe, to ask unpleasant and difficult questions and to ask them of the right people and it is not their job to be popular with anyone, but there is a fine line between digging for the truth and digging without a clue of what you are looking for and so simply muddying the waters.

Much of what has been said this week has done little more than turn into an even bigger farce an investigation into child abuse.
The coconut jokes abound, as do those about Pinnochio and the Wooden Tops and we can all laugh but what this all does is detract from the fact that children were abused.

Did Mr Harper manipulate the press pack to get them interested with the skull fragment. Perhaps he did. Can you think of another way of getting them interested in a small town inquiry so that you get a better spread for witnesses.

Further, whether he did so or not, how on earth can any members of the national media seek to take the moral high ground when it comes to manipulating information?

Were most of the national newspapers – for it is here where the most guilt lies – to print only what they knew to be 100 per cent true and had credible sources for then the stories would have ceased some time ago. Not much use, that, when the news editor has sent his reporters over here expecting stories of abuse in return for the hefty expense account.

The culture is to print what you have in case someone gets there first or gets more of what you missed.
In the chase to be ground-breaking and to print what no one else has it seems that no snippet of absolute rubbish is bad enough not to make it to the page. Something may be true in the sense that someone said it but that does not make it a fair representation of an overall situation.

The farce surrounding this investigation is just that, the surrounding. The investigation has looked inept, the police and their appearances cringeworthy, but in a sense they are just reacting to the need to say something and by so doing digging the hole even deeper.

For the most part, what is being produced is no longer serious and intelligent coverage of an investigation which has quite rightly rocked the community.

Like any small community Jersey needs outside input to bring perspective and provide the check and scrutiny that only a third party with no vested interest can offer. The current coverage is, however, simply voyeurism.
'The dead cannot cry out for justice, it is a duty of the living to do so for them.' - Lois McMaster Bujold
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