Opinion: Media can't afford to banish Jade Goody

It will take a few months of apparently 'soul-cleansing' media exposure to change the nature of the headlines around Jade Goody.

But, despite last week’s ‘Bigot, Fake, Bully’ headlines and the musings of various publicists over the weekend, I feel sure that Celebrity Big Brother’s number one chavette will be propelled back to the big time by a media that simply cannot afford to lose her.

Headlines, with the right PR management, will shift the emphasis away from the loud mouth to the ‘warm heart’ and the newly found self-knowledge. Jade will go back to the starting point of her journey to celebrity: again being portrayed as a victim – of her own ignorance.

The wheel of this TV genre, and the celebrity wannabes it elevates to stardom, tends to turn full circle. The dizzily uncomprehending Jade will spin with it once more.

There will be tears and tantrums on the road to media redemption. They started with last week’s ‘no holds-barred’ News of the World interview.

Wisely cynical media managers will insist on Jade the repentant sinner joining up with the anti-racism lobby and parading her own mixed-race background. Photocalls with deprived children from all ethnic groups will now replace the launching of personalised perfumes, and charity appearances will initially be less lucrative than the easy celebrity wealth of recent years. But the alternative of a descent into obscurity would be too terrible to contemplate, not just for Jade, but for the industry created around her.

Consider the number of magazine front covers she has (dis)graced in the past three years, the chat shows whose sofas she has adorned, the audience she has delivered for advertisers. She is too valuable a commodity to be lost from the public eye when a huge segment of the younger generation still see her ‘brand’ as empathetic with their age.

Of course, the media could destroy Jade, or – worse – simply ignore her and chart her descent back into the pond of obscurity.

But smart publicists and editors will realise that a protracted and public ‘learning of the error of her ways’ will work best for everyone in the end.

Yes, this age of entirely talentless, but brilliantly managed, celebrity owes nothing to shame.

Give it a year or two and we will be worshipping at the feet of Saint Jade, the multicultural ambassadoress. Meanwhile, this parody of a show will run and run.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and was formerly a senior newspaper executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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