Baroness Buscombe Explains How The McCanns Failed The Press
MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann – The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s report on Press standards, privacy and libel has bad news for the PCC and the McCanns:
FOR three summers Anorak has brought you the media’s take on the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
Baroness Buscombe would like you to know that while the McCanns, the Tapas 7 and Robert Murat were being abused in print, the Press Complaints Commission was conducting “numerous discussions internally” about the matter.
Baroness Buscombe is the PCC’s chairman. MPs have reported on the PCC and made their views known:
“In any other industry suffering such a collective breakdown … any regulator worth its salt would have instigated an inquiry. It is an indictment on the PCC’s record, that it signally failed to do so.”
You may recall that the story was at it apogee when the MPs were sporting yellow ribbons for Our Maddie in the debating chamber. Revolting it was. Mawish and revolting. Even more mawkish and revolting than the Mirror sticking a yellow ribbon on its masthead.
Says Buscombe on Radio 4:
“It’s very important to put it in context. What actually happened was that as soon as the story broke, the PCC was very much in touch with the McCann family and repeatedly offered to help.
“The McCanns and the PCC over the months that followed were in touch and indeed Gerry McCann in this inquiry actually praised the PCC for helping very much in terms of privacy matters relating to their other children.”
So the PCC did a top job. Did it warn any papers and broadcast media about their lurid and libellous stories?
“The difficulty that it had was that it’s very difficult for a self-regulatory body such as ours to actually pre-empt and decide in some ways whether a headline or statements that are being made are something that we should be tackling without proper engagement of the complainants.”
Difficult? The press were rabid. The McCanns aside, the treatment of Robert Murat was horrendous from the off.
“And we did say that there were lessons to be learnt from that, absolutely. We just think it’s regrettable in some ways that the McCann family didn’t actually come to us for us to be able to act on their behalf.“
So it was the McCanns’ own fault they weren’t media savvy enough to face the voracious media feeding frenzy? Now the McCanns are a slick operation, the PCC will not repeat any mistakes.
“The PCC made it clear back in 2007 that there were definitely lessons to be learnt. Since I’ve come on board I have been very clear that I believe there are ways that we could improve our accountability and our transparency.”
In other news, an innocent child went missing and the press had a field day…