BBC 'wasted money' covering McCann case
Martin Bell, the former BBC correspondent, has accused the corporation of wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in its coverage of the abduction of Madeleine McCann.
Mr Bell criticised his former employer sending the news presenter Huw Edwards to Portugal and paying for a helicopter to follow Kate and Gerry McCann’s car as they drove home from East Midlands airport in September.
"I’m calling it the death of news," he said. "It is the stupidification of the news agenda. It is pretty obvious television news has lost its way not just with the McCann case but that has been extreme."
In secret correspondence sent out by the BBC, the corporation asks staff: "Did we get sucked into the media circus?"
Mr Bell, who quit the BBC to run as an independent MP fighting Tory sleaze, said: "I don’t think they would be having a debate about the McCann coverage if they were entirely happy about the way they had done it."
A BBC spokesman said: "The McCann story was of enormous interest to a large part of the audience. Our role was to balance that interest with regards to the rest of the news agenda, and on the whole, we felt we got it right."