Letter of complaint after Anne Davies 'interviews' Debbie Butler on East Midlands Today

Posted on the 3 arguidos


During your East Midlands Today broadcast of 6:30pm Friday 14th August 2009, the show’s anchor, Anne Davies, presented an item on the activities of The Madeleine Foundation (‘TMF’). The item covered the recent, lawful, activity of TMF in distributing a leaflet in, amongst other locales, the Rothley Village area of Leicestershire, the content of which, inter alia, relates to the urging for a re-opening of the formal enquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine Beth McCann.

Ms Davies opted to interrogate, as opposed to interview, the on-camera TMF representative, and Ms Davies presented such a biased and subjective ‘report’ on this event as to relegate journalism to the sewers.

I strongly object to the gross lack of professional performance of Ms Davies in this matter, and I earnestly recommend that, in light of her plastic reporting, she revert to her founding secretarial crammer course as a more viable, certainly more honest, career path.

The issue of the loss of Madeleine Beth McCann as a phenomenon itself is so vast and amorphous that no crisp and perspicuous analysis of its concept, let alone the event proper, can avoid being procrustean. Nonetheless, it should be possible to say something helpful, even though it is not likely to be decisive.

Even the most basic and preliminary questions about this matter remain, after all, not only unanswered but also unasked. I should know. As a journalist, Ms Davies failed, miserably so, to professionally exploit the opportunity presented by the activity of TMF and to present a balanced account of events to-date and, indeed, the legitimate realm of alternative approaches as represented by TMF, however unpalatable to some such may be (though unlikely Madeleine herself).

What I do know is that organisations such as TMF, and their related acts, have a proper and rightful place in society’s search for the truth as to Madeleine’s situation. This child was:

(1) betrayed by her parents;

(2) let down by an EU host state; and now

(3) dealt further injustice by the likes of the stance of Ms Davies and your public broadcast organisation.

As a viewer, licence fee payer, and someone who has taken a keen interest in the 'disapperance' of Madeleine McCann for two years, I find such reporting abhorrent, puerile, and reprehensible.

The contemporary proliferation of this sort of reporting also has deeper sources, in various forms of scepticism that deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are.

These 'antirealists', like Ms Davies, pander to doctrines which undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry.

One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by journalistic dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by a pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity.

Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide an honest representation of herself. Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which she might hope to identify as the truth about things, she devotes herself to being true to her own nature.

It is as though Ms Davies decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, she must therefore try instead to be true to herself and her employer: In colloquial parlance, I believe the descriptive word is humbug – as in humbug reporting.

I expect higher standards of and from the BBC, entrenched dumbed down cheap and simplistic regional reporting or not. It seems all Ms Davies has perfected in her career to-date is, and I quote her: “... the art of carrying a tray of teas and coffees, all the newspapers and a great pile of tapes – at the same time”.

God help us.

Faithfully, [name withheld]


Debbie Butler being interviewed today on BBC (merged)

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