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Anorak | Madeleine McCann: BBC Is Live, Peter Wilby’s Right, Stephen Glover Investigates And Tabloid Facts

Madeleine McCann: BBC Is Live, Peter Wilby’s Right, Stephen Glover Investigates And Tabloid Facts

by | 21st, July 2008

MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

Today Portugal’s attorney general, Jose Pinto Monteiro, is to make a statement about the Madeleine McCann case. Reports that the inquiry into her disappearance will be shelved.

This means Kate McCann, Gerry McCann and Robert Murat – the three named suspects – might be cleared.

But what crime occurred? Kidnap? Murder? Paedophilia? Neglect? The Portuguese police have never been able to say for sure.

The BBC has its man in Portugal. It’s “live” from Portugal. And we are watching the parents.

DAILY MAIL (front page): “New agony for Kate as Maddie detective cashes in”

Kate and Gerry McCann are expected to be told today that the inquiry into their daughter’s disappearance is being shelved.

But in a heartbreaking blow, a book by the disgraced former head of the investigation will be published on Thursday promising ‘explosive revelations’ about the inquiry.

The memoir by Goncalo Amaral reportedly contains allegations that Madeleine died accidentally in her parents’ care, and that they disposed of her body to cover up the death.

Why would this be agony now when it is a theory already mentioned in newspapers?

Let’s just stick to the facts:

The McCanns, both 40, vehemently deny the claims.

DAILY MIRROR: “Ex-Maddy cop’s book ‘to tell all’”

Former Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, 48, was axed from the investigation last October after criticising Kate and Gerry and the UK police.

But the disgraced officer is expected to repeat his controversial claims when the book – Truth About The Lies – hits the shelves on Thursday.

Will the Mirror dare to repeat the claims? The Mirror deals with facts:

Kate and Gerry, both 39, of Rothley, Leics, are today widely expected to be cleared as official suspects in the case, along with Robert Murat, a Brit living in Praia da Luz.

Such are the, er, facts.

THE GUARDIAN: “Murat’s £800,000 – a minor marketing expense”. Says Peter Wilby:

The 2007 marketing budget for the Sun was estimated at £16m, that for the News of the World at £5m – and the figures are likely to be higher this year. The budget for the Daily Mail may be close to £20m. When you look at those figures, £72,727 seems like small change. But that is the figure you reach if you divide the collective damages of £800,000 paid to Robert Murat and two others falsely linked to the Madeleine McCann abduction, between the 11 offending newspapers, including the Sun, News of the World and the Mail. Legal fees will probably boost the cost to each paper well beyond £100,000 – but, if you regard smear stories as a circulation booster, you might reasonably treat the overall costs as a minor charge on the marketing budget.

They got off lightly.

The INDEPENDENT: “Stephen Glover on The Press”

All of us will feel a great deal of sympathy for Robert Murat, who accepted damages of £600,000 from 11 British national newspapers last Thursday. Mr Murat was for a time an official police suspect in the search for Madeleine McCann, the little girl who disappeared in a Portuguese resort last May.

He still is an arguido. But go on. Glover wants to see if the broadsheets behaved as badly as the tabloids:

The Times also mentioned on at least three occasions that Mr Murat had told friends that he was missing his own estranged daughter, who was the same age as Maddy. On 18 May the Daily Telegraph reported claims that a home-made video of a “disturbing sexual nature” had been found in Mr Murat’s villa, and on 11 July it informed readers that he could be questioned by police over “intriguing emails”. Such vivid details, whose veracity has never been established, hardly undermined the false impression of Mr Murat’s involvement.

I do not deny the tabloids sometimes went further, with the Daily Express probably being the most egregious in its suggestions of a paedophile ring. No doubt tabloid headlines were also bigger and more dramatic. But it is surely undeniable that, albeit in a more circumspect way, the quality papers also implicated Mr Murat, relying mostly on police evidence, but sometimes adding touches of their own. Incidentally, I am sure that some television news programmes also displayed tabloid excesses.

No mention of the tabloid-sized Independent being a quality read, nor of its past comments on Murat. Such is the strength of Glover’s investigation…

DAILY STAR: “NOW PLEASE HELP US FIND OUR MADDIE”

Our Maddie:

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “All Kate and Gerry want is to be allowed to keep looking for their daughter and have this weight of guilt by association lifted from their shoulders. They will make it clear that they will continue to search for Madeleine, come what may.” Yesterday a legal source close to GP Kate and heart consultant Gerry, both 40, said: “They have been told that their status of arguido will be lifted.”

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Kate Summerscale: the perfect crime story – Summerscale found her subject in an 1890s anthology of famous Victorian crimes.”

There, among other forgotten horrors, was the Road Hill House murder, as famous in its day as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

A point of reference for an otherwise dull book?

The savage death at the heart of this mystery was that of a three-year-old boy, Saville Kent, stolen from his cot and brutally killed.

Suspicion immediately fell on his father, Samuel, the other children and the servants.

It was notorious, Summerscale says, because “it was a middle-class child murder and it exposed things about the family that were fascinating and horrifying.

Newspaper editorials of the time said that no mother in England could sleep easy until this crime had been solved, so it took on an immediate symbolic importance.”

THE BBC is live in Portugal, just as it was over a year ago at the start of this single-thread story…



Posted: 21st, July 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Money, Tabloids Comments (869) | TrackBack | Permalink