Anorak News | When Jade Goody Met Madeleine McCann

When Jade Goody Met Madeleine McCann

by | 13th, March 2009

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

Daily Mail -Jan Moir: “Gerry’s complaints leave a bitter taste”

How strange it was to see pale, pugnacious Gerry McCann back in the news this week. It serves as a reminder that while the world has moved on for the rest of us, time stands still for him.

Did Moir not get the invite to the twins’ birthday party? And why not grieving Gerry or tragic Gerry or brave Gerry?

For the McCann family, the clocks stopped nearly two years ago, on that terrible night in the Algarve when their three-year-old daughter slipped from public view and has not been seen since.

How old are the twins in this forever midnight of the soul?

In their quest to find Madeleine, the desperate McCanns invited the world’s Press into their lives. It was a relationship that was doomed to sour.

For months, the McCanns’ efforts to keep their daughter’s plight high on the news agenda were intense. Far from shrinking from the oxygen of publicity, what they feared most was the muffle of public apathy. In the process, they became experts at manipulating the media to their own advantage.

At a guess – and that’s all it can be, right, Moir? – we’d say what the McCanns feared most was never seeing their daughter again. But, then, was their story ever about Our Maddie?

At one point, Mr McCann even returned to the family home in Leicestershire to tie his own yellow ribbon to the teddystocked Madeleine shrine that had been hastily erected in the centre of the village. Then and now, watching Gerry McCann walking the red carpet of his grief, as knowing as a Cannes film star, can be an uncomfortable experience.

As the Mail said back then:

More than 2,000 toys were left at the war memorial in the McCanns’ home village of Rothley, Leicestershire…They were washed, wrapped and shipped to orphanages in the former Soviet Bloc country of Belarus by the charity to be given to children who had no toys of their own. Each toy was individually tied with green and yellow ribbons – a symbol of hope – and carried a tag with a small picture of Madeleine as a reminder of her plight”

It was the biggest show in town. But isn’t Cannes for actors? Fact and fiction – can you spot the difference?

This week, Mr McCann took the opportunity to air his grievances about the Press and its treatment of his family in front of the House of Commons Culture Select Committee.

For what possible purpose?

See above – the bit about the “oxygen of publicity”, maybe?

Certainly, some bad judgment decisions were made by the more excitable newspapers, who have been punished with hefty libel payments and widespread approbation for their troubles. Surely that is an end to the matter?


No. Mr McCann is not finished complaining. Yet the more and more he complains about what happened in the aftermath of his daughter’s disappearance, the more I feel he is attempting to assuage his own guilt for failing to be there when she needed him most.

And after two years of speculation we go back to watching the parents.

Still, it’s not his fault that these useless Select Committees, stuffed with the third rate and the Parliamentary walking wounded, give an indulgent platform for anyone with a grievance.

Which beggars the question – what’s Moir’s point about Gerry McCann?

The Guardian – Mariella Fostropp: “Draconian laws are no way to reform our ravenous media – In my experience press self-regulation is feeble. But the solution sought by McCann and Mosley is a threat to public interest”

Max Mosley and Greta Garbo have something in common…

Fluent German and a passion for men in helmets?

“…not least the fact that they both ‘want to be left alone’.”

Fact and fiction – can you spot the difference?

However, while Mosley mounts as his defence of a right to privacy the fact that he had got away with his sadomasochistic party lifestyle for four decades, I suspect that a realist such as Garbo would just have popped the champagne corks in celebration of her lengthy triumph over the odds of exposure.

And then shoved the bottle…

The irony of the evidence presented to the Commons media select committee is that while Mosley is hard to pity, Gerry McCann and his wife, Kate, are not; it’s impossible not to empathise with the McCanns’ anguish over the still unsolved mystery of their daughter’s disappearance and to sympathise with their determination to exploit all avenues to find her.

Empathy? There for the grace of God… It’s every parent’s worst nightmare… No empathy, just a desire to be part of the story; to make it relevant to you; to harness the morn porn and ride it. As a parent, Mariella understands…

Minnows in the fame shallows like myself complain when a paparazzo leaps out from behind a bollard on a bad hair day, but then exchange family photos for free tickets to Madagascar 2. It’s a dirty business and few emerge with principles entirely intact.

So much for empathy.

The orgy of headlines that splurged forth around the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine may have been unseemly, irresponsible and downright misleading at times..

The word Fostropp is grasping for is “libellous”…

Gerry McCann said on BBC2’s Newsnight only a couple of days ago that the search for Madeleine was ongoing, and he would go “public when we feel we need more in the public arena”. It seems he hasn’t learned his lesson. The media don’t just sit there waiting to publicise what they’re told, they set their own agenda – not that of those hoping to bend it to their advantage, however worthy the cause.

Er, no. The media and the PR are indistinguishable. So who’s setting Mariella’s new agenda for her column? The Anorak Bingo Cooperative sponsors Mariella Fostropp. Eyes down for Tabloid Bingo!

Occasionally the two combine and a happy marriage of subject and story is achieved. This would appear to be the case with Jade Goody. Her desire to live out her final days in the full frontal flash of the cameras should come as no surprise to the audience for her every last poignant, Max Clifford-manipulated moment.

The PR?

It’s a dog-eat-dog environment, so most perplexing of the whole bunch is Julie Myerson, currently at the centre of a media storm surrounding the publication of her memoir about her son’s drug use.


I recently allowed my kids to appear in a travel piece, thinking that the benefit of a trip to the Caribbean would be greater than the harm done by the appearance of a couple of holiday snaps in a national newspaper.

Little Fostropps. Bingo!

Fines, public humiliation and fear of litigation are the tools best employed in the battle against bad journalism.

That’ll be £80, payable now…

Daily Mail – Stepehrn Glover: “A privacy law would suit Mr Mosley very nicely. Like his father he does not believe in freedom”

Can the members of the Culture Committee really go along with this?

They are down on the Press at the moment, somewhat credulously indulging criticisms of newspapers made to them on Tuesday by Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter, Madeleine, vanished from the family’s apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007.

According to Mr McCann, he and his wife ‘have been the focus of some of the most sensationalist, untruthful, irresponsible and damaging reporting in the history of the Press’.

Up to a point, I’d say. God knows, some newspapers committed some unpardonable excesses. But newspapers also provided indispensable publicity to the McCanns in their desperate attempt to track down Madeleine. Indeed, the McCanns and their PR people became expert at manipulating the media to their advantage. Nor, I am afraid to say, was their own conduct invariably above criticism, either at the time of their daughter’s disappearance or later.

Madeleine McCann is missing – the media is doing what it does best. The media is talking about the media.

Posted: 13th, March 2009 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews Comments (14) | TrackBack | Permalink