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Kate McCann and Medea news narratives

Goc, NE 2009 , 'Kate McCann and Medea news narratives', in Charlene Burns (ed.), Mis/Representing evil , Evil in an Interdisciplinary Key , Interdisciplinary Press, Oxfordshire, pp. 169-193.

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When three-year-old English girl Madeleine McCann went missing from a Portuguese resort in May 2007 while her parents were having dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant the world's news services carried rolling news bulletins about the 'story' of every parent's worst nightmare. This chapter looks at how the news about a child missing in sudden unexplained circumstances swiftly transformed from a high profile news report about the disappearance of a young child in a foreign country into a vitriolic media blaming discourse which placed the mother, Kate McCann, squarely in a Medea frame as a 'bad' mother. I will review the British press's coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann over a twelve-month period to draw disturbing parallels with the 1980s case of the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain in the Australian outback. Almost thirty years ago the creation of a blaming news discourse saw Lindy Chamberlain become the central figure in one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the 20th century. In 2007 that pattern was repeated with the creation of another highly prejudicial maternal news discourse that placed Kate McCann in the Medea frame when her daughter Madeleine went missing. This chapter will argue that the Medea frame continues today to reflect society's concerns about mothers who step outside what is considered acceptable maternal behaviour.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Goc, NE
Keywords: Medea, Medea frame, news frame, news narratives, news discourse
Publisher: Interdisciplinary Press
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