British Media: Supporting Child Neglect Since May 2007
(Daily Express - No online links to Express Group)
I have no idea if Eamon and Antoinette McGucklin, while holidaying in Vilamoura in the Algarve, really did drink themselves into such a stupor that their three young children had to be taken to a refuge centre over night, or if, as they claim, their drinks had been tampered with. I do know that the Portuguese press trumpets this kind of story at its peril.
Obviously still smarting at the completely botched inquiry into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance it can’t resist crowing at yet another British family whom it accuses of behaving irresponsibly and neglecting their children. The McGucklins are, according to those who know them, extremely attentive parents who would never put their children at risk.
Who knows the truth? But this new allegation of parental neglect must surely damage the Algarve’s reputation as a tourist resort still further. If I had young children I would not holiday there for all the tea in China. There is something I don’t like in their attitude to British families. I’d stay well clear.
If Judy Finnegan does indeed decide to stay 'well clear' of the Algarve, then that is something for which the Portuguese people should be eternally grateful.
Originally Posted In McCann Files
Who is Judy? Or should I say Richard & Judy aka 'Shake n' Take' or 'Punch and Judy' - A pair of mindless Puppets.
Judy Finnegan is married to Richard Madeley, they write a 'pink' column on Sundays Daily Express and they have always showed their support for the McCanns and a very strong Prejudice and Racism against all things Portuguese: the Portuguese Police, the Portuguese People and Country, etc... Richard is well known for saying really stupid and outrageous things like this blogger reports: "Richard was interviewing a lady who had written a book about the struggle she had looking after her severely disabled child and the brave but heartbreaking decision she made to have her taken into care. Richard pipes up (while the mother was cradling the child in her arms, on live tv);
"Infanticide. You considered infanticide. How were you planning on executing the infanticide? What were you thinking? Pillow on the face?".
I may well have delicate sensibilities but I'm not sure that infanticide is a word to be bandied about at tea time. Especially not when the interview ends with a handbrake turn like this;
"so there we have it. The tragic tale of a woman who considered the infanticide of her severely disabled child. Available in shops now. And now... yo yo dieting..."
And if you want to know more 'hello' gossips about this minor starlets couple just google "Functional Alcoholics" and "Richard & Judy". Enough Said.
'You Say You Pay' is a Spoof video by Adam Buxton, but gives an idea of how intelligent Judy and Dick are and you can see the quality of their show...
They had an afternoon magazine/talk-show in the UK until February 2007 when they were exposed in a Quiz Scam, they systematically cheated viewers out of tens of thousands of pounds in a premium-rate phone scam. The daily average of 15,000 viewers would call and pay £1 each though then potential winners had already been selected. Channel 4 was fined £1.5million for phone-in competition rip-offs on Richard & Judy and Deal or No Deal. Currently they have another show called Richard & Judy on Channel4, last season starts in July before they move to digital channel UKTV. If you gave that 'You Say You Pay' show any money you still can claim your refund here.
To read again an excerpt of Spudgun's A story for Christmas
(...) What started as simple rebuking and contending amongst the British press and media quickly grew into a mass, concerted ‘war of attrition’ against firstly, the Portuguese press and media, followed by the Portuguese Police, its Government and then, finally, its people.
“Useless Porto Plod!”, “Bumbling Portuguese Cops” and “Lazy, Boozy Porto Police” were just some of the headlines that informed the avid, British public of the progress of this case. Serious and reputable Journalists came out in force to support the McCanns in their ordeal with a reverence that bordered on Canonising in the true sense of the word. Penny Wark of the ‘TIMES’ treated them with a fawning manner reminiscent of the way the late Diana, Princess of Wales was revered. Every other Broadsheet columnist of note pens pretty much the same story; Madeleine was ABDUCTED, the Portuguese police are ineffective and the parents are living Saints.
Perhaps the worst and most offensive article written appeared in the ‘Daily Mirror‘. Under the Header “OH, UP YOURS, SENOR”, Tony Parsons resorts to appalling xenophobic comments and outrageous abuse. He refers to the “stupid, cruel Portuguese police”, adding “I have never much cared for the convention of calling cops "pigs" or "filth", but I am happy to make an exception”. He goes on to say that the PJ are “fitting up”, the McCanns and advises the Portuguese Ambassador Antonio Santana Carlos to“keep your stupid, sardine-munching mouth shut”. On a Editorial note, I feel his comments would have had more gravitas had he utilised the correct, Portuguese ‘SENHOR’ in his title, rather than creating even greater, unquestionable ourage by implementing the SPANISH Senor! On a more serious level, I would have to suggest that, had similar comments been made by a journalist, concerning any other race or subject, then I feel the full weight of the Authorities, (acting under the austere legislation surrounding Race Relations and the plethora of new ‘Race Hate’ crimes that exist in the UK), would have been dispatched to address the offender forthwith. Indeed, the disgusting words that were printed by the Daily Mirror appear even more hard to believe when you consider that the UK is famous for its ’political correctness’, considered absurd by most people conversant with it, and especially by those that have faced intervention by the police for inadvertently breaching some obscure legislation relating to such matters.
I positively shudder with shame when I imagine the good and decent people of Portugal, whom Parsons referred to as ‘Bumpkins’, especially those who took time off from their work places and normal lives to search the ground on their hands on knees, looking for clues regarding the missing girl, using their bare hands.
When Gerry McCann attended the Edinburgh festival in August, on the invite of BBC ‘Newsnight’ presenter Kirsty Walk, to address TV executives on the Media role in the search for his daughter, I considered this to be a most extraordinary turn of events and indicative of just how much power the McCanns yielded in controlling how this case was being reported and thus, potentially, perceived.
At the same time, The Daytime TV news schedules were, (and still are), often dominated by the case, with ‘friends’ and family members of the McCanns lining up to praise them. Minor celebrities too, do not hesitate in telling us how the poor McCanns are being treated despicably by the Portuguese press.
Richard Madeley who, with his wife Judy Finnegan host a popular TV program, vilified and abused members of an internet Forum who voiced possible suspicions surrounding the McCanns, calling them ‘scum’.
Another daytime ‘Queen’ of the ‘GMTV’news programme and tabloid columnist, Fiona Phillips, displays a regular sycophancy towards the McCanns that positively nauseates, and flies in the face of EVERY journalistic trait. Surprisingly, it has recently been revealed that Phillips was offered a ministerial job by Gordon Brown, also suggesting she was also offered a peerage. Fortunately for British politics, the Prime Minister couldn’t match the £400,000 she currently receives for her ‘journalistic’ qualities.
Vanessa Feltz, tabloid columnist, ‘social commentator’ and former chat show ‘queen’ expressed disgust at what she called ‘McCann Baiting’, lambasting the deplorable Portuguese Press, and their British counterparts who reprinted their stories. These are just a few of the well known faces of British TV that have unquestionably helped to forge opinions amongst the general public, or at least, those members who have neither the interest in formulating their own opinions, or where they have, allowing this constant media barrage to change them.
More worryingly, and with startling regularity, the newspapers and TV stations here have given column inches and time to fill by retired, notable British Police Detectives, including CID detective Mark Williams-Thomas, (who, by happy coincidence now runs a company dealing with media handling and advice for high profile cases), who became a regular partner alongside Sky News’s Martin Brunt; Mike Hames, the ex-commander who set up Scotland Yard's paedophilia unit; John Stalker, former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and the wonderfully titled Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, formerly John Stevens, former Head of the Metropolitan Police, now International Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. ALL renowned, respected, successful high flying career Police Officers whose stupendous collective powers of detection, pretty much came to the same conclusions, albeit to varying degrees, even though they do not, presumably, have the benefit of any more evidence than any one else outside the Polícia Judiciária; NAMELY, that Madeleine McCann was abducted and that the Portuguese Police are incompetent. Other high ranking ex-police have stated that the likelihood was the Portuguese were framing the McCanns.
But the real and, in my opinion, truly damaging bias was reserved for the mainstream television channels. Both the BBC and SKY news, in particular, have displayed a most obvious and uncomfortable loyalty to the McCanns, in regular news reporting devoid of any impartiality, the presenters frequently making derogatory comments to each other concerning the Portuguese claims. It was a common occurrence for the studio link to engage in derogatory ‘banter’ with the at the scene reporter, invariably Martin Brunt in Praia da Luz when he was giving his latest report about the Portuguese police and their progress in the case, or when commenting on some of the stories appearing in the press there. Kay Burley, a predominant Sky News ‘anchor’, would frequently roll her eyes, shake her head or ‘tut’ in disgust and ridicule at Brunts’ revelations, peppering her responses with asides such as ‘Poor Kate’ or ‘How much more can the poor parents bear?’
However, what I consider to be the most despicable, incredulous and unprofessional piece of reporting occurred on the 7th September when Kate McCann was made an official Arguido. Both Sky and the BBC, reported throughout the whole day, that Kate had been offered a ‘deal’ whereby she would receive a reduced prison sentence if she confessed to the accidental killing and subsequent disposal of Madeleine. It would have taken all of 15 minutes for the back room researchers to establish that, for the interviewing police to make such an offer was an impossibility under the constraints of the Portuguese Judicial system. There was no offer of a plea bargain. It had all been "a misunderstanding", the McCann lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, explained the following day. The quoted ‘source’ of this scoop, was Gerry McCann’s sister Philomena, who revelled in the limelight whilst explaining to all and sundry that this information had been revealed to her over a telephone call with Kate, subsequent to her interrogation.
To this day, this shameful piece of fabricated ‘news’ is still on virtually every on-line edition of most British newspaper archives. The truth, however, relating to this “misunderstanding”, isn’t.
Then, on the 10th September, Martin Brunt sombrely stated to Sky News viewers that amongst other samples, a FULL, non-transferable DNA match to Madeleine had been unearthed from the rear boot of the car hired by the McCanns. By this time, GERRY McCann had also been made an Arguido and combined with these new ‘developments‘ there was a curious ‘pause’ in the Press and Media, a kind of ’shell’ shock that resulted in the media doing nothing more than reporting the facts, such as they were. The McCanns were suspects, and they were back home .
The huge thong of reporters that had awaited there arrival at the airport asked no questions, appearing to me, almost subservient, as Gerry read out a carefully scripted passage, declaring his and Kate’s innocence.
Almost seamlessly, the ‘Pro McCann’ media wagon was back on the road. As more and more information started to surface and be reported on the mainstream TV news, concerning such unpalatable topics as ‘Body fluid samples’, ‘Cadaver dogs’ and ‘blood spots’, not only did I expect the ludicrous, servile reporting to cease, but I expected the UK Journalists to give at least a modicum of consideration to the possibility of the McCanns complicity in their daughters appearance. After all, ‘speculative’ Portuguese sources weren’t responsible for the apparent evidence in the possession of the Portuguese Authorities.
The Cadaver dogs, that had purportedly detected the ‘Scent of Death’ were BRITISH, with an impressive track record in the fields of evidence recovery. The DNA samples, recovered from the apartment and the boot of the McCanns hire car had been, and were continuing to be, analysed by the Birmingham FSS, the “vanguard of forensic science technology that has an unrivalled reputation for the integrity, impartiality and accuracy of its findings“. It was also revealed that BRITISH police who had assisted the Portuguese in the investigation, also apparently concurred with the PJ that Madeleine had probably died on May 3rd.
It crossed my mind at this stage that a huge and collective sense of astonished embarrassment was potentially about to unfold. Here was a nice ‘middle class’ couple, both Professionals, highly regarded and respectable people who had accrued a huge wave of worldwide public support in the initial stages, (not to mention around £1.3 Million in donations, around £2.5 Million in pledged reward money for information leading to the safe recovery of Madeleine and other undisclosed amounts and contributions, including a private jet to enable the McCanns to more effectively spread their campaign); who had kissed the Papal ring after receiving his personal blessing, met European and other World leaders, accepted an invitation to the Whitehouse, been interviewed on a number of European and American TV stations and had actively taken part in initial discussions designed to launch a new ‘Madeleine’s Law’, aimed at formulating a European database of known Paedophiles. Not to mention cosy, telephone chats with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who has frequently been known to not only pledge support, but actively become involved in the investigation itself.
At the VERY least, the circumstances now surrounding the McCanns, I summised, would result in a perceptible retreat by the media that would put an end to what I considered to be the celebrity status to which they had been appointed. In fact, I rather thought that the press would now exact a tortuous revenge and would seek to print anything that was derogatory towards the McCanns, at least to the degree of abuse and invasion of privacy that had been showered earlier on the other Arguido in this case, Robert Murat.
Of course, my country is, and always has been instrumental in maintaining that most basic of human rights, the right of ‘Innocent until Proven Guilty’, and I personally believed that never to be more appropriate than in this case. I considered it would be neither suitable nor fair for the Media to comment, speculate or assume anything until a fair and judicial process had been undertaken. Certainly, the tales, theories and assumptions being made and propagated on internet Forums had no place in the realms of anyone’s National press.
However, to my mind, what occurred with the British media, subsequent to this Arguido status being applied to the McCanns, was every bit as offensive, preposterous, irrational and groundless as the most wildest Conspiracy Theory ANYWHERE on the net. The McCanns arguido status seemed to actually harden the resolve of the entire British media, and Kay Burley was back to her acerbic best, making sniggering asides to Martin Brunt when he reported on the Polícia Judiciária officially handing over the 4,000 pages of prosecution evidence to Judge Frias. Burley feigned mock surprise, stating that she couldn’t believe that the Police would miss out on such a “photo opportunity” to present the pile of boxed documents for the cameras, implying that perhaps the documents weren’t quite as substantial and plentiful as was being reported.
Tabloids and Broadsheets alike began producing countless articles explaining how and why Portugal is a haven for paedophiles, especially the Algarve. Column inches were given over to explain how Portugal’s ‘elite’, including Government officials had once been involved in a Lisbon Paedophile ring centring around an orphanage. A Portuguese Investigation into paedophilia, involving a nationwide operation, including the seizing of 150 computers was reported in the UK Press as being an integral part of the McCann case, suggesting that the operation was effected to establish whether any indecent images of Madeleine McCann existed, even though Operation Predator was nothing whatsoever to do with the events that occurred in Praia da Luz. The Daily Mail’s Roger Graef explained that Portugal has “more Paedophiles than it cares to admit”. He goes on to explain that the Portuguese have “an odd attitude towards under-age sex.” erroneously stating the permitted minimum for same age couples.
And just in case we’re not getting the picture, ’Dispatches’ a Channel 4 Investigative Documentary entitled ‘Searching for Madeleine’ is endorsed by David Canter a ‘Criminal Psychologist’ who explains how the alleyways around the Ocean Club apartment where Madeleine went missing, “provide an ideal rat-run that would be well known to local criminals“. He goes on to point out that the most convincing arguments he had heard for an abduction by a local came from his colleague at Liverpool University, Professor Kevin Browne, (who advises many international agencies including the WHO and Unicef on child protection) He, apparently, made clear that this quiet village could harbour a number of child abusers who had been released into the community rather than convicted, (adding that Portugal convicts a much smaller proportion of child abusers than some other European countries). The Documentary entirely ignores the findings of the Cadaver dogs and completely brushes over the DNA evidence without any elaboration.It gives no consideration whatsoever to the fact that the McCanns are official Arguidos in the disappearance of their daughter.
SKY News has its own, SPECIAL Investigation: ‘Madeleine:The Search For The Truth’, which actually searches for no such thing, but does imply that the Portuguese are so inefficient that apparently a British ‘expert’ in child abduction declined offers for his help in the matter as he didn’t want to ‘risk his reputation’, given the ‘mess’ made by the Portuguese. Yet another British ex-detective gets his chance to solve the mystery, and concluded that the Portuguese police appear to be “trying to make a situation fit round a theory so all these bits lock together in order to show them to be guilty”. He goes on to conclude that “one is left with the only other solution”…… which I’m not going to quote verbatim here, suffice to say that it involves “1 or 2 men”, abuse and an unpleasant ending. Unfortunately, the documentary didn’t appear to have sufficient time to include the evidence, nor the reasons for the detective ariving at this conclusion.
ITV took an even more pro-active stance in defending our Kate and Gerry, with ‘Tonight with Trevor McDonald: The McCanns, Questions of Evidence”. They interviewed Allan Jamieson, a ‘top British forensic scientist’, who proceeded to rubbish reports that suggested hair recovered from the McCanns hire car showed evidence of containing traces of sedatives, and had been derived from a corpse.The documentary also featured the irrepressible Mark Williams-Thomas, the former CID Detective and SKY News regular, mentioned previously, and who has been one of the most violent critics of the Portuguese Police investigation of Madeleine McCann's case. He appeared as a “child protection expert” Mr. Williams also concluded that Madeleine was abducted. Unfortunately, what he failed to mention in this Documentary was that, although his company WT Associates Ltd. is A ‘Child Protection and Risk Management Consultancy’, this company also lists amongst its services, “MEDIA MANAGEMENT, providing media handling and advice for high profile cases”, and also “Design or review organisations media crisis policy”. More importantly, he forgot to mention what he subsequently declared to a Portuguese journalist: that he was “involved with advising the McCanns”, although he did later issue a retraction of this, declaring that “there are no conflicts of interest”.
Of course, the social commentators, columnists and media people, especially those that have actively and openly supported the McCanns, are wont to say that this case is an apalling ‘Trial by Media’. My own, personal, response to that is that the case for the DEFENSE definitely has been by media!
With the appointment of former British Government Director of Media Monitoring Clarence Mithcell as the McCanns spokesman in mid September, (although it’s difficult to establish exactly when and how he turned up on the scene in the first instance), it was very quickly made clear in the press that, indeed the Portuguese Authorities and Police had got the case all wrong! Madeleine wasn’t dead at all.
Almost immediately, she was spotted in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh by two unrelated witnesses. A further sighting was reported by another Spanish woman, who is convinced she saw Madeleine in the town of Zaio being led by a Moroccan woman in Muslim dress across a street. In yet ANOTHER sighting, in Zinat, the witness not only photographed Madeleine, but took the precaution of only forwarding the photograph to ‘lawyers working for the McCanns‘, thus avoiding those ‘incompetent’ Portuguese police. The photograph, taken by a Spanish holiday maker, was very widely published. (Proving, if nothing else that the Spanish are surely the most observant, attentive and productive witnesses in the World). Alas, barely 24 hours later, the girl in the photograph was identified as local five-year-old Bushra Binhisa, the daughter of an olive farmer.
Clarence Mitchell commented that the discovery was “disappointing news”. Presumably not least because it remained in the papers for all of a day, and subsequently might reinforce the notion in some peoples’ minds that it couldn’t possibly have been Madeleine in the first place.
Still, help was at hand in the form of a NEW suspect to the ‘abduction’, 24 hours later. This time, a mysterious Englishman, ‘stairwell lurker’ observed by an Ocean Club employee to be ‘hiding‘ in a stairwell beneath the McCanns holiday apartment. The employee, who did not want to be named, exclusively told the Mirror: "I'll never forget him”. Alas, everyone else did. Not least because there appeared little to suggest he existed in the first place. (...)