Faith in the media.jpg

Faith in the media


AN AEOLIAN harp makes music only when stirred by a passing breeze. In a similar manner people’s feelings are played upon by fact and rumour that in the hands of the Media are powerful tools for good or ill.

Innocent victims of crime or the wrongly accused, who in the beginning are embraced and supported by public opinion, cease to be objects of sympathy as time passes. A story, like a forest fire, will flare up and die out but one breath of scandal, false fact or the leaks so loved by newsmen may fan a blaze that cannot be put out.

The famous, admired for achievement in whatever sphere, are acclaimed and even honoured by a public show of grief, with carpets of flowers for the young and glowing obituaries for the more mature. Then biographers and iconoclasts begin their work of demolition. Skeletons in cupboards and private demons are the stuff that sells books and “the public has a right to know”.


Mother Teresa is on the fast track to sanctification as her private letters have been published against her wishes, revealing that for the last 40 years of her life, she felt deserted by God. Diana, Princess of Wales, victim of both the media and her own publicity will feed the jackals for many years to come.

Here in the Algarve some of us will continue to pray for Madeleine, her parents and for resolution and closure of the wound sustained by both her family and a small Portuguese town by the sea.

For the time being, the matter rests while the police pursue their secret quest and after a last frenzied photo shoot at Faro Airport, perhaps newshounds and televisors will move on.

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