A Hollow Apology..?

19 03 2008

Daily Express 19.03.08 Daily Star 19.03.08

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/38490

Today’s Daily Express and Star have made front page apologies to Kate and Gerry McCann for ‘suggesting the the couple caused the death of their missing daughter.’ This ‘unprecedented move’ was being analysed by media pundits on today’s BBC Breakfast news and seems like the first case of the media apologising for taking the story a little too far. I remember at the time being asked if I thought they were guilty – sadly, I thought, the story was better than the reality, these poor parents were not only going through the pain of losing their daughter but also being mooted as responsible for the disappearance.

Whilst The Express does deserve to be applauded for being the first media outlet to apologise for the storytelling getting out of hand, it does seem like they are trying to have their cake and eat it – writing up the story (along with everyone else) to boost sales and then getting a conscience later.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things in the Maddie story is the moral situation this has put both PR and journalists in. I remember spotting fairly quickly that findmadeleine.com had been cybersquatted but everyone involved felt that commenting on such a move to promote our brand would make us as bad as the cyber squatters themselves. It didn’t stop Pinsent Masons though:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1810536.ece

What do you think about The Express’ move? A truly heartfelt apology or, perhaps like us, they should have decided not to run with the story in the first place?

UPDATE (24/03) – A more eloquent piece on this, comparing the short term gain with the long term fallout is in today’s MediaGuardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/24/dailyexpress

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