10 March 2009

Gerry McCann attacks 'irresponsible' press coverage

By Paul McNally

 A former journalist- spinning a carton character as the alleged abductor

Journalists covering the disappearance of Madeleine McCann "blatantly made up" stories in the pursuit of sales, her father has told MPs.

Giving evidence to the media select committee's inquiry into press standards this afternoon, Gerry McCann accused the British press of "disgraceful conduct".

And he said that if he had not taken legal action, the media storm – which he called "the Kate and Gerry Show" – might have "resulted in the complete destruction of our family".

  Look in to my eyes - a death sentence if Maddie was kidnapped

Kate and Gerry McCann received a £550,000 libel payout from Express Newspapers last summer over a series of more than 100 defamatory articles.

"Our family has been the focus of some of the most sensational, untruthful, irresponsible and damaging reporting in the history of the press," McCann told MPs.

"We saw pressure to produce stories when really there wasn't anything new to report. That was the point where half-truths were making the front-page news.

 Look in to my eyes - a death sentence if Maddie was kidnapped

"I always believe that other than maybe quite marked exaggeration to some front-page headline stories, I never really believed that many could be absolutely blatantly made up. I believe that was the case with Madeleine."

He later said of the newspapers' coverage: "Madeleine was a commodity and profits were to be made."

The McCanns On-line shop

McCann claimed the worst distortion came when British journalists in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luiz – who did not have access to many sources – took articles in the Portuguese press and embellished them.

"A single line buried deep in an article in a Portuguese newspaper – usually unsourced – it was front page and exaggerated to the extent where we had ridiculous headlines," he said.

'Intense pressure'

The McCanns' press officer, former BBC journalist Clarence Mitchell, said reporters on the ground were under "intense pressure from their newsdesks".

"We had a pack of UK reporters who were looking for their front page," he told MPs.

"They had no other traditional sources that would be available to them – and because of that they didn’t push any further

 True Fact

"Something that was just a suggestion or allegation in the Portuguese press, by the time it made it across the Channel became a fact in the story when in fact they were complete distortions or entirely untrue."

Mitchell said there was also a "circle of lunacy" – where small nuggets of information would go from the Portuguese press to the UK papers and back again, picking up momentum on the way.

"Clarence I would often hear on the phone to journalists expressly telling them it was rubbish. It was still published," McCann said, claiming journalists typically only gave a few hours’ notice ahead of publishing a story.
True Fact

He added: "The most damning and damaging aspect of all the coverage that Kate and I cannot forgive was the presentation that there’s a substantial body of evidence that Madeleine is dead.

"If you portray a missing child as dead and people believe she’s dead without due evidence then people stop looking."

 McCann's Pope Media Event: manipulation?

McCann said he had an informal conversation with Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer, who advised them that "legal redress was the way to address the issue" of defamatory stories appearing in the papers.

Adam Tudor from the McCanns’ lawyers, Carter Ruck, told the committee: "The PCC is perceived as being overly friendly, it lacks teeth. It can’t force apologies.”

He said if the McCanns had gone through the PCC instead of the courts, "it would have led the Express to thinking they were off the hook".

Death of free speech in the UK media

"By going to the PCC, Kate and Gerry would have been sending out a signal that they had no appetite to see this through and could perhaps be fobbed off," he said.

McCann added: "Undoubtedly we could have sued all the newspaper groups. But that wasn’t what we were interested in.

"The Express were the worst offenders by some distance and were the ones who, after the quiet period, rehashed it. It was a very easy decision."

Source: Press Gazette

7 comments:

  1. I was hoping you'd have something posted in response to the latest nonsense to come out of Gerry McCann's mouth and the trashy reporting of the British press. I was hoping we wouldn't be in for it until at least a month or more from now. They've started the anniversary stories early, looks like.

    Thank you so much for putting up those photos, particulary the one featuring bracelets from the Madeline on-line store, to highlight the hypocrisy of Mr. McCann's claiming that others have treated Madeleine as a commodity while he and the Mrs. most certainly did that within a very short time of her disappearance.

    I wish I could afford to print millions of copies of The Madeleine Foundation's pamphlet to send around the UK and the US. Then it would be harder for people to be ignorant of the truth.

    Oh, Mr. Amaral, I hope the English translation of your book is due to come out before May 3 of this year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wait for the next line. "Mccanns to sue press". With Kennedy out of the picture they have to get cash from somewhere and to me, this looks a build up to just that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're so full of shit, making crass fun out of a tragedy. I hope you feel very proud.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Joana, great, great!Thank you for so much trouble.
    How is the weather today in your communist country?
    Now I understand why Gerry was unemployed for two years. He is an analphabet, not knowing that a country belonging to the European Union could not be communist.
    It is everybody's fault, except for theirs!

    Lovely that brian Kennedy stopped porring
    money on the couple!
    I hope he will help Tony bennet, if he can.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gerry MacCann`s words - "The media have given a complete disservice to Madeleine."

    NO Gerry, you & Kate are the only people who gave disservice to Madeleine that fateful night she disappeared, & all the other nights you left your THREE year old & her younger siblings ALONE while you went out with your friends - friends I hasten to add who also left their children alone.

    Even now when she`s still missing you give Madeleine the disservice of not answering all the questions the Portuguese police put to you. You refused to do a reconstruction. I`ve known people whose dog/cat has gone missing be willing to do anything to help find their pet than you did to help find a human being.

    Definition of Disservice - a harmful action; an injury. The act of walking out, closing the door, & leaving three children under the age of four in an apartment without adult supervision was the disservice to your daughter Madeleine, NOT anything the media has done surrounding this case.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Twatto said:

    You're so full of shit, making crass fun out of a tragedy. I hope you feel very proud.
    -----

    Exactly Twatto! Gerry should be ashamed of himself for all this crap, why don't you email him directly and tell him that?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Unfortunately everything points to Madeleine being dead.You, Gerry, have known from the start that she is no longer alive.Stop lying.How can you be blaming the media? The english newspapers have protected you, your wife and your "friends" like they have never protected anyone before you!Stop complainig!You should be thanking them instead, ungrateful man!How can you say"... Kate and I cannot forgive (...) the presentation that there’s a substantial body of evidence that Madeleine is dead" ??!!
    Are you mentally retarded? Haven't you read the process? Can you read? Or are you just the biggest liar on earth?

    You, your wife and your devoted friends are a disgrace as parents, as doctors and as human beings.

    ReplyDelete