Monday, September 17, 2007

Madeleine McCann and Lindy Chamberlain

Madeleine McCann and Lindy Chamberlain

As a regular visitor to the Google News site, I've become aware that the great British public is currently obsessing over the disappearance of a small child by the name of Madeleine McCann.

The British public's reaction to Madeleine's disappearance struck me as being, in many ways, similar to the Australian public's reaction to the disappearance of Azaria, Lindy Chamberlain's child, who was taken by a dingo while on a family holiday at Ayers Rock.

I became curious to know whether the similarity of these two situations had penetrated the consciousness of the Internet, so I ran two sets of identical searches, one on Google News and the other on The actual searches, complete with quote marks used, are given in square brackets, with the numerical results in curly brackets.

Here are the results:

On Google News:
["Madeleine McCann"]{about 8,813}
["Lindy Chamberlain"]{66}
["Madeleine McCann" "Lindy Chamberlain"]{58}

["Madeleine McCann"]{about 2,230,000}
["Lindy Chamberlain"]{about 56,200}
["Madeleine McCann" "Lindy Chamberlain"]{1,040}

Doing the Google News searches, the first two snippets that I found which included Lindy Chamberlain's name included the following:

"For Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann in Portugal in May is a mirror image of her experience of losing her" [News24, South Africa]

"Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton said yesterday that people were viewing Madeleine's disappearance as a reality TV show with no ending." [Sydney Morning Herald, Australia]

To expand the second story, here's a quote from a version from the Herald Sun:

The quote is in square brackets:

[PEOPLE are viewing the disappearance of British toddler Madeline McCann as a reality TV show with no ending, Lindy Chamberlain said today.

Ms Chamberlain, now Chamberlain-Creighton, was convicted of murder in 1982 following the 1980 disappearance of her nine-week-old daughter, Azaria, at Uluru [Ayer's Rock], but was exonerated six years later.

She said a lack of answers in the McCann case has led to wild speculation and rumour, which Madeline's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, have been caught up in.

“It is as if we have run over the hour allotted for the 'show' and the viewers are saying, 'Where's the answer?',” Ms Chamberlain-Creighton wrote in Britain's The Mail on Sunday newspaper today.

“We're looking at it as if it were reality TV. Yet these people have to live their lives moment by painful moment.

“When the public atmosphere is like this, questions of justice or truth start to take second place.”

Ms Chamberlain-Creighton did not rule out offering advice to Madeline's parents, who have come under increasing pressure since being named as suspects by Portuguese police investigating their daughter's disappearance.

Mr and Mrs McCann both vehemently deny having any involvement in their daughter's disappearance.]

Wikipedia has an article on the Lindy Chamberlain case, and from this I was able to get the title of the pretty good movie on the case, which apparently goes by two names, EVIL ANGELS and A CRY IN THE DARK, with Meryl Streep playing Lindy Chamberlain. (The movie also starred, if memory serves, the New Zealand actor Sam Neil, one New Zealander who ended up making a career for himself in Hollywood.)

Lindy has her own official website, which is here:

Azaria's father also has his own website, here:

What interests me is this: What Lindy and Michael Chamberlain went through is very similar to what the McCanns are being put through by the British public.

And Lindy has evidently drawn out the similarity in The Mail on Sunday, which is a major British news outlet. But while the Internet has over two million pages on Madeleine, it has barely a thousand pages which connect the two cases.

I found it interesting that the lessons which could reasonably be drawn from the public hysteria concerning the Lindy Chamberlain case are, evidently, not being applied to the Madeleine case, at least not in the public's mind.

Basically, the Chamberlains were subjected to what was, in public relations terms, a public lynching, chiefly on account of three things: (a) they were members of a religious minority, the Seventh-day Adventist church; (b) their daughter had a non-standard name, Azaria; and (c) the TV audience didn't find Lindy sufficiently emotional when she showed up in front of the cameras.

That's all it takes.


Blogger transfattyacid said...

8:15 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home