Anorak | Madeleine McCann: WMDs, Princess Diana, Credit Crunch, England And Bingo

Madeleine McCann: WMDs, Princess Diana, Credit Crunch, England And Bingo

by | 24th, October 2008

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

NEW STATESMAN : “The Real McCann Scandal”

What scandal? A child went missing. She is still missing. And that’s it. Although after a year and a half of breathless reporting not all newspapers can agree on where she went missing from .

Brian Catchcart details how the British press set out to systematically destroy the parents of Madeleine McCann.

All the press? Surely not…

You may have missed it: at the High Court in London on 15 October, Express Newspapers agreed to pay £375,000 in libel damages to the so-called “Tapas Seven”, the friends of Kate and Gerry McCann who were with the couple in Portugal when Madeleine McCann disappeared.

Missed it? Who reads the New Statesmen who could have missed that news, it being on every news bulletin? Read about it here.

The Tapas Seven victory, it seems, was treated as a minor footnote to a burned-out story; few people were likely to be interested.

Not on Anorak. But why would the Sangria 7 be a big splashy story? A child is missing and libelling the friends of the parents is not the main story, is it? The story, such as it is, is about a missing child.

Well, they ought to be interested, because the McCann case was the greatest scandal in our news media in at least a decade – an outrage far worse than the Andrew Gilligan “sexed-up dossier” affair of 2003 – and those responsible are now slinking away almost unpunished.

The dodgy dossier, with its links in a paper chain to an iffy war and the deaths of Dr Kelly and Our Boys in Iraq, is a less great scandal than newspapers sensationalising on a single thread story of a missing child? So says this left-wing, Labour-supporting organ.

The editors and proprietors of the papers responsible for the great balloon of speculative nonsense that was the McCann story had the power to kill off discussion of what went wrong in the press, and they used it. When their balloon burst, they simply began pretending it had never existed.

They moved on to another story. Some papers the Express being the chief culprit were simply sued and paid up , or settled out of court . The McCanns won money for their cause, and the story once more featured in the national press.

Not one editor and, so far as I know, not one reporter has lost his or her job or even faced formal reprimand as a result of the McCann coverage.

Daily Express editor Peter Hill has left the Press Complaints Commission. If anyone knows a reporter who got a bollocking do tell us.

Catchcart then plays the most reaching game of Tabloid Bingo we’ve seen for a while:

Our national press is unforgiving when things go wrong, and the problem doesn’t have to be as apocalyptic as the banking crisis.

Credit Crunch and Our Maddie .

Ask Steve McClaren, pilloried so comprehensively for his performance as England manager that he now coaches at a small club in the eastern Netherlands.

In-ger-land and Our Maddie .

Ask Sir Ian Blair, the former Commissioner of the Met, whose scalp was demanded by most of the right-wing press even though crime figures were improving.

Menezes and Our Maddie .

Ask the two BA executives who had to go after the disastrous opening of Heathrow’s Terminal Five (Willie Walsh, their boss, survived a clamour of calls for his own resignation).

Big business

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Posted: 24th, October 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, News Comments (161) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink