February 1, 2012

Bill Nemitz: Titillation is not helping in Ayla case

The media report many newsworthy developments in the case of the missing toddler – but then there's the mindless chatter.

By Bill Nemitz bnemitz@pressherald.com

(Continued from page 1)

Missed that one? That's because only hours after McCausland put out a blistering news release calling the report "unattributed, irresponsible and inaccurate," the TV station toned its website report down to "Hope Fades for Missing Toddler."

There is, of course, one way to shake the truth loose – and it has nothing to with half-baked theories and talking heads.

It has to do with money.

Remember David Hobson? He's the guy who escaped from a jail in New Hampshire back in December and kept all of southern Maine on pins and needles until he was caught five days later.

As McCausland correctly recalls, federal marshals made headlines during that search when they announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to Hobson's capture.

"They got a phone call within hours," said McCausland.

The reward for information about Ayla's fate, in case we've all forgotten, is $30,000 – raised by Waterville attorney John Nale and others in the community.

And strangely, of the 700-plus calls about Ayla that police have fielded so far, not one has qualified as reward-worthy.

Maybe that's because very few people out there know what happened to Ayla – and they're not talking.

Or maybe it's because the media have been talking too much about the blood – and not enough about the money.

Either way, if anything's worth thumping news cycle after news cycle, it's not the hastily plugged police leaks or the partially completed polygraphs. It's the cash.

Tuesday afternoon, McCausland found himself standing with Nancy Grace's shivering producer outside the Maine Department of Public Safety while the never-shy Grace screamed orders from her studio perch about how she wanted the interview to proceed.

The piece covered no more ground than the telephone interview they'd done the day before – but at least this one had that visual of genuine Maine snow falling live from the sky for all the world to see.

"I dressed for the occasion," mused McCausland. "Unfortunately, the producer didn't."


Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at: bnemitz@mainetoday.com


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