Tabloids handling Madeleine investigation with usual reasoned detachment.

Another day, another stunningly tangential “lead” in the Madeleine McCann case. Now we hear that a British couple saw a 2×3″ “bundle” being carried out to sea by a man on a jetski, who then apparently deposited it on an “official-looking” boat – just nine hours after Madeleine apparently went missing. After reporting said sighting to the staff at the Ocean Club – with all the investigative powers that a hotel has at its disposal – the couple’s family then did what anyone would do and kept quiet for ten months before going to the tabloids about it. Armed with such a cast-iron lead, the PJ shamefully did absolutely nothing about it – yet more proof that the Portuguese police are a bunch of slackers.

Between them, the Sun and the Mail don’t seem sure when this sighting actually took place, and have differing information on the couple who witnessed this highly suspicious activity, but both are certain, without speaking to the PJ, that the lead was not followed up. The Sun in particular state in their headline that it was a “Maddie Bundle” on the jetski, which shows a remarkable level of certainty on the matter. Indeed, with all the evidence-gathering Team Wade has carried out, one is now forced to wonder whether it woudn’t be an idea to hand the entire investigation over to them. This latest development comes, after all, hot on the heels of a Portuguese taxi driver coming forward with the information that he ferried Madeleine, Robert Murat and three other adults, one who looked a bit like Kate McCann, to a nearby hotel.

Amid all the mud that has been fired at the PJ by these same papers, there is a nigh-on comical lack of objectivity, particularly from the Sun. In the “taxi driver” story, they wait for four paragraphs to state that at the time of the journey, Madeleine was not yet missing. Well worth splashing a headline that states (quotation marks mine) “Maddie and Murat were in my taxi”, then. A completely uncritical report of a parish councillor’s supposed sighting, which unaccountably fails to pose the questions of why the “Portuguese couple” were out in broad daylight with Europe’s most recognisable toddler, why the man didn’t go straight to the police, and why a Portuguese couple would bring to England a toddler that the entire British tabloid media have barely moved from their front pages since last spring. Not to mention the Dutch student who reports that “Maddie” looked startled when addressed by her name in a French service station (top tip: address any stranger you see as “Maddie”, or indeed any name, and see them be startled).

The old defence of “public interest” – as in “if the public are interested, it’s in the public interest”, is generally spouted by tabloid editors when asked why they jump all over sensitive stories. If some of them actually stopped to think that sometimes investigations will be negatively affected by their idiotic speculation, would it actually make a difference to the tone and detail of their reports? Of course it wouldn’t, but they will continue to launch brickbats at the PJ without bothering to look any deeper than the surface of the increasingly fatuous “sightings” that they stick on their front pages. Madeleine McCann deserves better than to be the new Elvis, with each new sighting more ridiculous than the last. When these “Exclusives” are taken in hand with the hectoring taking place over a potential “Sarah’s Law”, – taken to new lows here:
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– it’s hard not to conclude that the Sun’s main motivation in these stories has less to do with finding missing children and ensuring the same thing happens again, and more to do with flogging more copies of their vile rag. As Shannon Matthews’ own mother has said, the suspicion in this case is within her circle of friends and family, and thus “Sarah’s Law” would be of no help here. But that’s the Sun for you – if they can crowbar in their pet project, they will do – and relevance be damned.

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3 Responses to “Tabloids handling Madeleine investigation with usual reasoned detachment.”

  1. So the Portuguese are not competent? OK, but who left the three little children ALONE at home with the door open while they went out partying? Who called Sky News and let tons of people get in the room BEFORE calling the police and therefore destroying VITAL clues? Give me a break, before throwing stones to the Portuguese Police see how the parents behaved! They were IRRESPONSIBLE and if Madeleine is gone it’s not because of the Portuguese! The Hotel has a FREE babysitting service who speaks English!

    Stop throwing stones to the people who are doing their best together with the British Police instead of always defending the people who were irresponsible: the PARENTS!

  2. bootlegmarkchapman Says:

    Hi Miguel.

    I’m not sure if your comment is directed at me – but I agree with you. My post is having a go at the English media, who have been obsessively hitting out at the PJ since Madeleine went missing. Without being in full possession of the facts, the tabloids have chosen to blame the “foreigners” – which is pretty much their modus operandi.

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