Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat, MPs And Gerry McCann’s Heated Debate

Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat, MPs And Gerry McCann’s Heated Debate

by | 6th, March 2009

MADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann, featuring special guest star Robert Murat

Madeleine McCann is missing, still missing. She is now missing from the papers. The story is not of a missing child. The story is of the media, how the single thread story became a maelstrom of speculation and clai, and now introspection.

Last night Robert Murat – a media victim – addressed an audience of students at Cambridge University’s Union Society in favour of a motion that “the tabloid press does more harm than good“.

In The News: Madeleine: Murat speaks out against tabloid fairytales

Read: Madeleine Mcann: Express Newspapers Win, Robert Murat’s Tabloid Trial And Money

Robert Murat has delivered a scathing attack on the journalists who defamed him over the abduction of Madeleine McCann, saying he felt “like a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds”.

Not the best analogy. Anorak would have Murat as Quasimodo, alikeness more in keeping with the press portrayal of him – “creepy” “oddballRobert Murat – the bouncy castle fetishist.

Would Max Clifford have done betterfor OJ Murat?

Murat won £600,000 in libel damages for almost 100 “seriously defamatory” stories in British newspapers.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann was his “horror story”. He blames a specific unnamed journalist, who was “so anxious, it appeared, to break a story that she literally created her own”.

“To my personal cost, I now know what the maxim ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ really means.

Madeleine McCann, Robert Murat And PC Porn

“Over a period of many months, day after day, a torrent of outlandish, untrue, and deeply hurtful allegations about me were systematically splashed across the pages of British newspapers.

Madeleine McCann: Charlotte Pennington Poses, Metodo 3 Says And Blood

“I was one day said to be a sexual predator, another day a kidnapper; the tabloids reported apparently that I had been outside the McCann flat on the night Madeleine went missing, with her DNA apparently found in my home.

The story of one girl’s disappearance had become the story of one man’s survival.

“They even came up with a story that I had a secret chamber under the floor of the house. Fairytales. Every single one of them, as the police themselves concluded.”

Madeleine McCann Suspect Robert Murat’s DNA Tests

No investigation in the press. There has never been one. The money spent on sending hacks to Portugal was not to search for Our Maddy but to point the finger at Murat, to cast aspersions, to watch the parents and abuse the local police.

Mr Murat argued against the motion that ‘tabloids do more harm than good’, describing them as a “travesty” and a “force for harm”.

No, tabloids do not do the harm. The hacks do the harm. The editor does the harm. The publisher does the harm. The newspaper is just an organ.

Says Murat:

“My own life will be scarred for ever by the lies they printed.”

Who can doubt that? But Mr Murat proves that there is smoke without fire. But the press aren’t listening, not really. There’s Baby P, Ivan Cameron and all manner of mourn porn to tap into.

Media litigation lawyer Louis Charalambous, Mr Murat’s lawyer of Simon, Muirhead and Burton, adds:

“Although Mr Murat’s good name has now been rightfully restored and he and his family have begun rebuilding their life, the intolerable distress and stress they experienced as a result of such malicious reporting to benefit ad revenues and market share, is a shameful episode in the history of the British press.”

Who can disagree?

Also speaking in support of the motion were Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik and Guardian assistant editor Michael White.

The motion was opposed by media consultant Peter Bazalgette and Sport Newspapers editor-in-chief Murray Morse.

Press Gazette: “Robert Murat ‘scarred forever by tabloid newspaper lies’”

Murat said the intense press interest in him for eight months turned his home village into a “ghoulish carnival” and “nearly destroyed” his family’s lives.

As a father…

Says he:

“There was never a shred of evidence that I was in any way involved, despite eight months of lurid headlines. At times, I felt like a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds. I was literally forced to jump over fences to avoid the scramble of photographers waiting outside.”

Maybe the fox is right? And the press pack?

“Mobiles glued to their ears, ringing through to their newsdesks to bid and outbid one another for the next outlandish tale, British tabloid journalists did not so much cover the story as move it on from one breathless mix of speculation and invention to the next.”

Adds Louis Charalambous:

“It’s not the fact that they are tabloids, or the fact that they are not broadsheets, but that they cynically exploit their readers, with an agenda which suits their editors and owners, often at the expense of their targets – be they good or bad, deserving or undeserving.”

PA: “Madeleine media coverage questioned”

Questioned by… Clarence Mitchell. The PR for hire. Really:

The spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann is set to address the Oxford Union about whether media coverage helped or hindered the search for their daughter Madeleine.

Anyone spotted her since the tabloid press removed her from their front pages?

Next week, Mr Mitchell will join Mr McCann to give evidence to MPs about how the media reported on the disappearance.

Yellow ribbons on:

They have been invited to answer questions from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday. They will be joined by Mr McCann’s lawyer Adam Tudor, a partner in libel firm Carter-Ruck.

The lawyers. The PR. Talking to the MPs about the media. Paying the bills. And the child is missing.

The MPs are expected to ask Mr McCann, 40, why he and his wife Kate, 41, chose to sue a number of British newspapers for defamation instead of going through the regulatory body the Press Complaints Commission.

Because it would have been a waste of their time.

In March last year Express Newspapers agreed to pay the couple £550,000 in libel damages over false allegations that they were responsible for Madeleine’s death.

Question asked; question answered.

Press Gazette: “Max Mosley and Gerry McCann to appear at press inquiry”

Gerry McCann, the father of missing girl Madeleine, and motorsport boss Max Mosley are to appear before MPs next week to give their views on libel law and privacy.

The father of a missing child and a spanking enthusiast. The story just changes to fill the space.

Mosley won £60,000 in compensation from the News of the World last July after the Sunday tabloid published photos and a video of what it claimed was a “sick Nazi orgy” with five prostitutes.

High court judge Mr Justice Eady said Mosley had a “reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to sexual activities” and said there was no evidence of Nazi re-enactment.

Get this:

Mosley is now asking the European Court of Human Rights to strengthen privacy laws – and make it a requirement for newspapers to approach the subject of a story before publication.

If that’s passed, newspapers are finished.

Dear Madonna, tomorrow we are running a story about how your veins are unsightly and cause Mail readers to puke… RSVP.

Madeleine McCann is missing – and the media is talking about the media…

How did it get to this?

Posted: 6th, March 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews Comments (35) | TrackBack | Permalink