When a young baby disappeared from Uluru 32 years ago, the media found the perfect scape goat. The grieving parents, it was a perfect storm of a media witchhunt. Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo, but now, the death certificate rules, the dingo really did do it.
The cause of the Azaria’s death was as the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo,” Deputy NT Coroner Elizabeth Morris said before a packed Darwin courtroom.
The media had made up their collective minds, the story of the parents was better than One Rogue Dingo. The parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, had a strange religion (Seventh-day Adventist Church, portrayed by media as strange), the name Azaria meant “sacrifice in the wilderness” – it means “blessed by God”. Why did the family took a 2month old out in to the desert?
It was a media driven feeding frenzy. The final piece of “evidence” the media dragged up as proof of guilt was that Lindy Chamberlain didn’t cry. The young mother hid behind huge dark glasses.
Interviewed this morning on ABC’s breakfast show, Lindy Chamberlain was asked if she understood why people thought she was guilty because of her lack of tears. Her response sums up so much of what is wrong with the media:
when we did cry it was edited out – Lindy Chamberlain.
The media can construct its own narrative, the story it wants to tell, regardless of truth, but what will sell newspapers, what headline is the most attention grabbing.
Let us think about how the media could manipulate a story when we think about the Member of Dobell, Craig Thomson. The media created a story, and then run more stories about his is judged guilty in the court of public opinion. People have already made up their minds, they don’t want to listen to the evidence.
Innocence before guilt does not apply to a newspaper.