Have You Been Affected By Madeleine Coverage?
August 10, 2007


By Simon Cole, Deputy Head Of News

It's almost 100 days since Madeleine McCann went missing and there've been almost as many rumours and theories as to how she disappeared. The story has gripped the nation and affected ordinary people in much the same way as the aftermath of the death of Diana ten years ago. It is a phenomenon which we as journalists have been accused of helping create. Without the modern media, especially 24 hour news channels and state-of-the-art websites, would you have paid so much attention to the Madeleine maelstrom?

The dilemma for us has been how to satisfy the public hunger for news without adding to the speculation and myth-making that has been rife. Every day the story meanders this way and that and our job has been to try to stick to the facts while at the same time reflecting other shades of opinion and comment. You, the online audience, clicked on the story in such numbers that we created a separate Madeleine section.

Yet the basic facts have changed little since May 3 - a little girl went missing from her holiday apartment in Portugal. She has never been found. No one has been charged. Her parents have started a campaign which has had worldwide publicity. The media has been frantic. Everything else is rumour and conjecture, not helped by the fact that the Portuguese police give nothing away.

What I find fascinating is that the Madeleine story has split the public into two camps. By far the biggest has total sympathy with Gerry and Kate McCann - the heartbroken parents who still cling to the hope that their daughter is alive. Yet there is another group - and this one includes much of the Portuguese media and public - which thinks the McCanns are neglectful parents who are themselves partly culpable for their daughter's disappearance.

The British media falls mainly into the sympathy camp. Look at Kate McCann's anguished face. Imagine having to spend the rest of your life wracked with guilt that you weren't there when your firstborn needed you. Gerry McCann has been strong but you can see he's getting angry as fingers start pointing.

It is a story without an ending and this week there has been another frenzy of Madeleine coverage but eventually the media circus will leave Praia da Luz. Some questions will be asked: did the overwhelming media coverage help or hinder the search for the toddler? Were we fair to the McCanns? Were we fair to Robert Murat? Did the public thirst for news cause the media to act irresponsibly in reporting some of the wilder stories?

We won't know until this tragic tale has reached a conclusion. The McCanns said this week that they strongly believe Madeleine is still alive. I think everybody hopes their unshaken faith is rewarded.

Written by Sky News, August 10, 2007


i was watching the news this morning and a man took pictures of some people i who were walking. they all had dark hair and dark skin and one of the ladies had a fair skined little girl on her back. the girl was looking over the lady's sholder and i swear she looked just like her. i mean everything about her i was in tears looking at the picture. i just pray that they find her. what i was wondering is why did the man just take the pictures and why didn't he follow them and report them to the police right away. but now maybe they will be able to find out where they are and if it is her. you know, i dont think the parents did anything to harm her. what i am upset about is why would you leave your children alone? but i do believe that she is alive. i just pray that they find her. it touches me so much because i am pregnant with twin boys and they arn't even here yet but i couldn't imagine my life without them.

All of a sudden the McCann's memory has returned, now that they have been advised by their lawyers in England that is, how convinient.
The bedroom door was open, Gerry had left it shut on his last vigil, the kidnapper must have been hiding in the apt., the front door slammed shut when Kate come out of the apt., after finding Maddie missing, a window must have been open, the kidnapper must have opened it. What about the DNA found in the car, oh, one of the twins must have urinated in spare tire compartment, ofcourse that was it. Odd place to find body fluids. Come on people.
What kind of parents have absolutely no emotions? Kate never looks directly at the cameras, never did, from day 1, not a tear in her eyes. Something is terribly wrong with these 2 parents.
Don't blame the Portuguese police they are being assisted by the British police and who best to help. Why would the British police volunteer their services if they believed the parents were not at fault.
May God bless Maddie, I hope to be wrong, but I believe she is no longer with us, poor little angel.

This is a very sad case and as a parent I feel for the McCanns. I do not understand why they have not used their considerable influence with the Press to arrange a LIE DETECETOR TEST which would prove their innocence and refocus the attention of the search for this poor little girl. Perhaps if they read this they could respond!

I have just read the article "World's Missing Children" and quite frankly I am horrified! Have I been affected by Madeleine McCann's disappearance? ... YES most certainly. And God do I fear that the same thing has happened to her! These paedophiles must be stopped!

As for the Kate and Gerry McCann we and they must remember that they are NOT ON TRIAL.

I know they wish to clear their name in the midst of all the speculation. But at the moment that is all it is - speculation.

They have not been arrested, nor charged, and are not sat in a court in front of a judge and jury.

However, Freedom of Speech allows the public and the Press to speculate and criticise as much as we like.

And the Police have the right to follow up on whatever hunches or speculation they feel is necessary to prove or disprove theories.

If the MCanns do go to trial I doubt whether they would get a fair unbiased trial anyway - because of all the speculation.

But that is not what I want to point out. Its about the DNA samples ... and here I am confused. I was under the impression that DNA can only be matched positively through a blood sample ... provided previously by the person.

In other words there must be a blood sample from Madeleine already on file to which the Police can match other samples to that they have found.

This raises questions. Where has Madeleine's original sample come from?

We do not have a general DNA database in Britain. So Madeleine's DNA profile would not be amongst the ones that are in our database.

The other way in which Police match DNA samples is through the closest living relatives.

In other words they take a sample of blood from the relatives and a sample (of blood) from the (usually) deceased person, and using a series of "markers" Forensics can tell if there is a match between the two samples. Much in the same way as one would to prove or disprove parentage.

If the McCanns have not given a blood sample or are not on the registered DNA profile database, then how can it be positively proved that the DNA supposedly found is in fact Madeleine's?

I suppose one way would be to take blood samples of each of the McCann family and see to which one of them the DNA-evidence actually belongs.

But I think, and certainly after reading your article on the World's Missing Children that Madeleine was abducted.

I pray that she will be found!

This blog statement does not mitigate against the fact that Sky News - and the rest of the media - are giving a free platform to Philomena and John McCann to spout what is (because they cannot POSSIBLY be any authority on the facts of the case) effectively propaganda.

As the PJ are bound by their laws not to comment on the case, Sky is guilty of going to these two biased people for OPINION which they are allowed, and encouraged, to pass off as fact.

I really want to believe the parents are innocent, and they ARE innocent until proving guilty - BUT - anything that comes out of Philomena McCann's mouth is SPECULATION, and it is shoddy reporting to allow her to suggest otherwise.

She and John, who becomes disturbingly aggressive in his interviews, are not police officers, they are not forensic experts and they are not even in-expert witnesses.

Report FACTS, and GENUINE DEVELOPMENTS. Do not report SPECULATION, because you are leading this people to delude themselves into believing they are celebrities.

I really dont know what to think of this case now..my did they or didnt they, i hope not.lets hope this case gets solved very soon .and they charge the right person or person...

Dear sir or madam,
The car hired could have been hired by the abductor on the 3rd may, or hired by a hundred people inbetween. I didn't once hear in the news that they were quering the hiring of the car by other people,even the person who hires the car would be suspect.
I support the mccanns even if the are found guilty, it dosen't make since that they would kill this child.
tony griffin

It's so sad to see that some people, as they think they have been misled, start to attack the Portuguese people and their institutions.
In every blog or comments zone about the case Portuguese people are being insulted of almost everything.
For that people and that people alone i will remind you that it is not the Portuguese people who for years when going abroad to see a simple football match destroy and rob everything on their pass.
If you see a list of wanted "pedo weirdo's" count Portuguese and British.
I could stay here and do a enormous list of who would win in stupidity.
Let me remind those people that this investigation is being made in cooperation with the British Gov and Police so if you are calling us incompetents you are calling yourself to!
It was even a British Lab used to do the tests.
Stop insulting Portugal, we are doing all we can to find the Maddie or the truth of what happened!
If you continue with that people is going to start removing the millions of pictures scattered in the country and just forget Maddie.
Don't do that, don't be so racist you are a better country than that, i think.......
For all the others who just want the girl to appear and understand that a investigation must follow all the lead's and it as nothing to do with the Portuguese people i ask sorry for this post.
In the end i, as almost all the Portuguese are still hoping that maddie will be alive somewhere.
May God be with her!!!

I would like to see top Criminal Psychologist PAUL BRITTON to be involved in this case- he is very successful in cracking cases like this. He wrote two book The Jigsaw Man and Picking Up The Pieces, he does just that and is extremely thorough

Re Madeleine McCann story:
No reporters or commentators have asked the most obvious question to date!
Who rented the vehicle in which the DNA evidence was found BEFORE the McCann family at the time / since Madeleine went missing?
- In a small vilage rental vehicles are circulated regularly.
- The most important lead in the case might have landed in the police's lap as a result of the most outrages coincidence of the McCanns hiring this troubled vehicle five weeks after the fact !!!

I wonder if any of those who accuse parents of Madeleine of negligence, have children or have ever been to any of Mark Warner resorts? You pay double the money versus normal family holiday for staying in a safe environment with your children. Parents who go there, often dine without children because this is what you do there as the infrastructure is suited for that. I see nothing extraordinary or irresponsible in that. My question is where is Mark Warner in that? Why was the appartment relet shortly after it happened? And why all other clues have been dropped? Portugal is quite a corrupt country, not mentioning the police. all this does not help the case...

I found in this blog a post that, almost, summarize the history. (in response to that post...)
"... I think the Portuguese Police are using the parents as scapegoats ..."
1) How come the DNA has only come to light now?
A1:Its a fact. I only can explain this has a act of faith of the Portuguese Police (they believed in the parents saying the girl was missing) but, soon, with the help of the UK police, they change the search to other path...

2) The McCanns are both doctors - they would know of better ways to dispose of a body than by burying it and then stupidly moving it again? I don't think so!
A2) Yes. That's why I PERSONALY think, if they in fact killed her, the body will never appear.. By the way... Nobody spoked, yet, about dispose the body an that moving it again... Interesting theory...how did you get that :)

3) They would not have stayed in Portugal so long if they were guilty.
A3) If they are guilty, that's easy. They stayed in Portugal wile it was safe. As soon they notice thing ware "dangerous" they moved.

4) Anybody can see that they are distraught.
A4) In fact nobody can know that. Can anybody say that just looking to their images, interviews, blogs, photos,...???
5) Why go to all the trouble - like meeting the Pope etc - if they new where their daughter was.
A5) great mystery that one. I PERSONALY believe that:
Gerry did not participate on the "incident";
Gerry in the beginning did believe that Maddie really was missing;
Like this, he start a campaign to find her; (obviously, Kate plays her part...)
Gerry discovers the true but, it's too late. He already involved his friends on this and already saw the Pope...
Than... It was already too late to go back

6) If the DNA has to be sent to the USA for proper testing, who is to say that the Portuguese forensics are any good?
A6)That's not the question. The real thing is: if it was the Portuguese lab to get this same results, it was incompetency but, it's a UK lab. You have to admit, in this one Portuguese police was smart, real smart...
By the way, the information we have is that he equipment and methodology use by the Portuguese Lab is the same used in UK ;)

7) Why would they not let the British police in on the investigation righ from the beginning?
A7)Define beginning? First day? Two days? First week wen? What it is the reasonable time for that? Do you know PJ is one of the most cooperative polices in Europe? You didn't ? informed please.
UK police is in Portugal in the time Portuguese police need them. That's it...

Now, an advise: here we think by ourselves no meter what police or government or newspapers say (who knows Portugal or Portuguese people know this is true - we never believe- it's a cultural issue, we never believe and, because of that, we just say something in the end) try do do the same.

If they are guilty, They are guilty.DOT. If not they are not, they are NOT. No point to argue if they did or they did not! The question is: Can we ALL find Maddie? Or she will never will be found?



It all just reminds me of the Life of Brian (Monty Python for those of you still caught in the headlights !!). Eventually everyone will get wise to the money grabbing family & photo opportunities and get back to the real world.

"Have You Been Affected By Madeleine Coverage?"... yes I have... It "moved" me so much that I felt compelled to say something, not about the subject but about the coverage itself.
The premise that "the Primary Purpose Of Journalism Is To Inform" would appear to be somewhat outdated. 99.9% of what is "reported" in this case is speculation... how does that inform? What is news-worthy about what road the McCanns might take to Faro airport, or which entrance they might use? (just the first thing I saw this morning).
And why so much coverage about ONE missing child and ONE family with everything else that's going on in the world. In fact, is there anything else going on? How would we know? Is this the news media's idea of balance?
And "how to satisfy the public hunger for news without adding to the speculation and myth-making"?... well, how about NOT adding to the speculation and myth-making? Yes we have a hunger for news, but when we're asking for steak and chips, stop force-feeding us bread and water and trying to convince us its steak and chips!
At the end of the day what we all want is balanced, informed reporting... if there's something to report then lets see and hear it... if there isn't anything to report, then don't try and make it seem like there is!

Can we just get back to the REAL issue - where is Madeleine? This nonsense that the Portugese police are using to deflect from their lack of success in finding anything is really dragging the focus off the main issue...let's get back to looking for Maddie - that is all that matters

Let me tell you what is our view here in Portugal about some of the english media. We believe that Gerry has some friends that have conditioned the way some of the media is looking at this case.

I've read a lot of criticism regarding the work of the PJ. And a lot of arrogance. You don't respect us.

Let me put this to you. Did skynews interview the employees that worked at the Ocean Club? Did skynews look at Gerry and Kate's lifestyle and their relationship with their children? Did skynews investigate the allegations that the children were put to sleep early everyday so that Gerry and Kate could go and party? Define dinner? I've read once, twice, many times, that they just went to dinner. Does that include 14 bottles of wine for such a small group of people? Did they really leave the dinner party to go check on the children? Really? Did they go to dinner everyday? Did they leave their children alone everyday? Or just that day? And for how many hours? Did they contact the police authorities BEFORE they contacted the press and their powerful friends? Or did that happen at least 40 min later?

Did you look at the allegations that they were swingers? And that to swing around, the children were put to sleep early? And with the help of medicine? You don't believe in all these allegations? Ok. But did you do your work? Did you investigate?

Did you know that when an arguido is subject only to TIR (termo de identidade e residência - arguidos must notify the police of any change of residence), that restriction does not require the intervention of a judge? Did you know that it's nonsense to speak of accusations and formal accusations and linking that to the interviews of Gerry and Kate? An arguido is NEVER formally accused on the same day he's interviewed. That will happen a few weeks or months later.

You speak of portuguese legal system has very alien. Did you know that most of Europe has a very different legal system than yours?

You look at Portugal with arrogance. In the long run, you can be part of Europe or you can just leave and be pals with the USA. Some independent studies report that half a million innocent people died in Iraque. You were part of that crime. Your troops were directly involved. Do you have a mirror? Well look at it. You're ugly!

Did you know that the Vatican removed from their website any reference regarding Madeleine? I wonder why?!...

I think the Portuguese Police are using the parents as scapegoats as they have not succeded to find anything. They are using this to hide their inadecquisies'.

1) How come the DNA has only come to light now?
2) The McCanns are both doctors - they would know of better ways to dispose of a body than by burying it and then stupidly moving it again? I don't think so!
3) They would not have stayed in Portugal so long if they were guilty.
4) Anybody can see that they are distraught.
5) Why go to all the trouble - like meeting the Pope etc - if they new where their daughter was.
6) If the DNA has to be sent to the USA for proper testing, who is to say that the Portuguese forensics are any good?
7) Why would they not let the British police in on the investigation righ from the beginning?

This is all just nonsense. They should ocncentrate on finding the child !!!!

Regarding the comments made by a newspaper, G said "As well as damaging our personal and professional reputations...blah blah..."

Honestly, you did that yourself the night you left your kids alone to go out on the raz with your wife and mates.

Very Strange.
Portuguese police didn't received , yet, the results of the tests made to the blood found in the apartment.

Strange very strange.

I feel for them going through this but i still cant believe that nobody says much about them leaving the kids alone to go and eat, how bad is that, surely they are guilty of neglect

Let suppose Maddie was never in the apartment before the McCanns went out on one of their many self indulgent nights. (after all let's keep things normal as possible) Did anyone see Maddie go into the apartment with her family before they went out for the evening? Allegedly the night before Maddie had escaped her room and was seen walking the streets - how do we prevent that happening again?

Only G&K have said Maddie was abducted. Gerry has totally manipulated the media and we've all fallen for it out of sympathy for the two. In the meantime the police have also gone down this abduction road and turned up absolutely sod all.

When a spouse is murdered the partner is no. 1 suspect, why has this not happened in this case? Why from the start have the McCanns never been suspects? Because Gerry is leading the investigation!!
When he says we are not suspects there is no proof of us being involved - what he's actually saying is the police haven't found the evidence - yet!!

There is only one victim here and that's Maddie - put in this nightmare situation by her arrogant parents who believe what they did was within parential guidance to leave your children unattended in another country.

As for the McCann sympathisers who say people like me should back off and leave them alone. We live in a blame culture society because we have to take responsibility for our actions, and I have seen no signs of this from G&K. Just remind yourselves why Maddie is missing, it's called pre-meditated negligence!!

Isn't it strange how the portuguese press are now asking the McCanns awkward questions, Gerry wants to sue the local press because the control is beginning to ebb from his manipulative hands. He says his reputation is at stake. Would you care about your reputation if your daughter was missing? There's only one focus here and that's Maddy, not GERRY MCCANN.

The 2 have played a blinder!!

My heart goes out to poor defenseless Maddy, she didn't stand a chance. I feel angry at her parents for getting their priorities so wrong - children or fun, unfortunately they chose the latter, and Maddie's paying the price.

One last note, I can't believe how the British Press have come down on the side of the McCann's, especially SKY,it's like saying what they did was ok to leave your children alone while parents eat out 50 to 100 yards away, if you're to believe G&K. At least portuguese media have the nerve to ask awkward questions even if the police don't know how to solve a missing person's investigation, but then again Portugal is probably not use to dealing with something of this magnitude, and you've only got the McCann's to blame for that.

i really cant believe that today, on the 10th anniversary of dianas death, gerry mccann has grabbed the headlines again!!!

who needs posh and becks when weve got kate and gerry!!

As a preface I would like to take the time to ask you to articulate your sentences with correct punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Secondly I would remind you that rallying hate against an innocent man could leave you liable for large sums.

Murat was happily present at the times when police searched his house, and they have taken no action against him whatsoever. They most probably believe him to be innocent. I think most people agree that in this case there has been enough tabloid nonsense. It’s ok if you want to continue reading them, just don’t share your opinion with other people.

Hannah the parents could be seen as suspects simply because the police know they are some of the last people to see Madeline. It’s very important that they are, even if they are to be excluded from the case very fast. It is a procedure, and they did not follow it.

I feel that since the death of Diana we have all been in a state of mourning by media and the coverage of Madelaine again is leaving people in a state of disbelief and grief that is keeping us from being happy in our lives. We are constantly being bombarded by news reprts of doom and gloom and never happy solutions.

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