No Conspiracy - We Aim To Be Fair
September 12, 2007


By Steve Bennedik, Editor, Sky News Networked Media

So are we being pro-McCann or anti-McCann?

Over the past few days we've been accused of being both. Some claim we are too kind and others believe we are too cruel.

Certainly from Sky New Online's perspective I believe we have been neither pro or anti the McCanns.

We have aimed to be fair. I can assure you there is no conspiracy, no dictated slant and no intention of taking sides.

Madeleine's disappearance and subsequent events have been emotional and sometimes distressing. We've taken an active part in reporting the story and doing what we can to help find her.

We've featured it prominently and given the story its own section on the site.

We've reflected the unprecedented interest in what has happened to this young girl. And you've given your views in your thousands on our Message Boards.

As our Deputy Head of News, Simon Cole, pointed out in the Editor's Blog in early August, the dilemma for Sky News has been how to satisfy the public hunger for news without adding to the speculation and myth-making that has been rife.

Admittedly, that hasn't been easy.

In terms of access, there has been an obvious imbalance. Until recently the McCanns have been eager to promote the story to keep it in the news. In the past, the local police have only reluctantly emerged from the confines of the Portuguese legal process.

Journalists are not a breed apart from the rest of the human race. We discuss events, amongst ourselves and with friends and families. On social occasions outside work we are sometimes turned to with the expectation we know the truth, the real story behind events.

The reality is in the McCann's case, we don't yet know what really happened, how she disappeared and whether she is dead.

We send journalists to cover the story and report events, we speak to people involved and we get information from sources. We make a decision on whether to report it and how we report it.

And then we go ahead and share it with you.

I think on this occasion there's a danger in seeing and judging coverage in isolation and out of context.

Journalism can lead and influence. But more often it gathers and reflects current perception, and yes, sometimes people's prejudices.

With this story, over the past weeks, we've tried very hard to concentrate on the facts. And that's our aim as we wait to see what happens next in Portugal and the UK.

Written by Sky News, September 12, 2007


I think the major in Portugual was right in what he said, whilst the parents have my sympathy, they are responsible for what happened to Maddie. I hate to say it but I really do think it's about time parents were made responsible for their actions, it was and IS wrong to EVER leave a child alone and they did exactly that. I thought the point of a family holiday was exactly what it says on the tin, "time to spend time as a family!" If Maddie hadn't been left alone this would never of happened, I know I sound hard and believe me, my heart breaks for the parents but it breaks even more for Maddie! I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but the truth hurts! If people knew they were going to have face consequences then maybe they would think twice before doing such things!

Put Madeleine back on homepage. Why has she been taken off? SKY please put her back. Let's find her!


Just to clarify. The trust was not set up by the McCanns. Whilst they were desperately searching for their daughter and making appeals, members of the public responded by sending messages of support and monterary donations. These donations were not asked for by the McCanns but they were sent by giving and kind indivuals who wanted to help the family and the search anyway they could. As a result, a board has been appointed to manage the trust. The people on the board make decisions about how the money should be spent. Gerry McCann's brother has been prolific in trying to help raise awareness of his niece's disappearance and I don't think there is anything sinister in that.

The family are still trying to find Madeleine and hopefully the new police team and the renewed drive in the campaign will help lead to this little missing girl.

hope that helps.

The one question I would like someone in the media to ask the McCanns is, 'Why did you set up a fund so soon after your daughter went missing, how could you possibly KNOW that she would not be found and the fact that John McCann gave up his job to look after the fund'
These people knew that Madeleine was not going to be found within weeks, if at all.
If it was my child, every day I would think 'This is the day , they will find her today. Why did not 1 of your reporters ask that question?

As to money problems please do not forget that Mr McCann not only works for the NHS but he is a member of staff in a private practice in Leicester.

Paul of Hastings has hit the nail on the head.
We all sympathise with any parent for the loss of a child in any circumstance, tragic illness, murder, abduction or even should the child merely
wander off (most people have been ripped by sheer panic when their child has momentarily disappeared from their view)Lets not forget that the McCanns are very educated and professional people whom are surely trusted by all their patients and peers alike. How is it then that these educated, trusted and professional people deem it OK to leave three children under the age of four in an unsecured apartment (no signs of a break-in, should the case be abduction)on their own while the adults dined and drank the night away? Is this legal or are the McCanns above the law on this one? Should this be Illegal, why have the parents of Madeliene not been charged with this neglect?
(I beleive that education is a wonderful thing everyone should posess, however, COMMON SENSE guys, COMMON SENSE, is only posssed by the truly gifted.)
Is it known wether the dining friends of the McCanns had their children with them (if they had children) whilst they drank and dined or were their children also left alone in their respective apartments?
Was the point of the childrens neglect on the evening in question ever spoken about during the dining session? Or as mentioned above, is this the done thing in some peoples minds?
There are other missing children in the UK, can we use some of the raised fund to help in searching for those also?
Maybe if Sky News reported on true FACTS about the case, there would not be a lot of news coverage as it seems there is not a lot of FACT known. The only true facts of the case that is known is that a child is missing and that the parents are guilty of neglect!


I've just seen the latest coverage of the case. THIS is brilliant! A sketch of the abductor from the eyewitness account of Jane Tanner! Has Ms Tanner only just remembered that a child is missing and that on the night of the reported missing child, she saw "a man of Southern European or Mediterranian appearance walking with a child in his arms."
"She spotted the man striding from the area of the McCanns apartment." Hmmmm, and this has took six months to report this?? Maybe if she remembered this at the beginning of the case, she would probably have remembered more detail about the man walking with a child in his arms to give to the FBI trained sketch artist who drew the ground-breaking, case-busting picture. A picture so enlightening that the "World reknowned specialist" isn't even named. Is this because my "Not-Worldly reknowned six year old duaghter could've drawn the same picture?
The alleged 'perp' is also described as being "aged about 35 to 40, 5ft 6in (1.7m) tall, and of slim build." doesn't this describe arount 75% of Southern European or Mediterranean men?
Mr Clarence Mitchell pleads "Anyone who knows this man should contact our confidential phone line immediately." Nice one Mr Mitchell, you're obviously worth your coin.

I've been on the MArtin Blunt blogs where there has been extensive debate on this topic.

I have one question for the sky editors.

Why are you following only the abduction and accidental death by parents theories? I know Luz very well and I think there is merit in looking at the simpler explanation - that she wandered out, and then something happened. She may have been run over by someone who panicked and then dumped her body. She may have got to the rocks on the beach and been swept away. Both a stretch of the imagination but by no means more radical than the bogie man or the bogie parents.

So Sky - of you are a balanced channel - pleaes report on this posisbility and let the public know why it is not being examined by you. Clearly we do not know whether the police are pursuing this line of enquiry and they may be.

But Sky - you have the power to perhaps unearth a truth - if say someone out there is harbouring guilt of a more normal type of accident - a hit and run.

Or is this just not lurid enough for you?

I really hope you read this and listen.

For Madeleine's sake.

Dear Mr Editor, I am so happy the McCanns can sleep so well because I can't due to having this shoved up my nose 24/7, I am a 70yrs old grandmother and when I go to bed all I can see is this poor little girls face and then my thoughts go to if she is alive what is she being put through, this seems so unfair the neglect of the parents and they can sleep while others who did contribute to this childs fate are tormented

can I refer you the Editor to the comments made by DAVE IN HASTINGS. 19.sept. 19.19.

Every day that goes by, what he says has more meaning.

And your reporting has continued to be heavily biased in favor of CHILD
NEGLECT. Why is that ???????

Here here Paula in Portugal, very well said, it's an absolute disgrace that these two so called proffesional people are still allowed to keep their twins, after the appaling way they abandoned their 3 BABIES in a foreign country, i will say again there is only one reason that Madeleine is missing and thats because her totally unfit parents saw fit to leave her and her two siblings alone while they had a fine and dandy evening with there friends, any other person alive would have had their children placed on the at risk register (and rightly so)or had them removed and placed with someone who can care for them properly. I feel that Sky news has been so totally biased to camp McCann it's sickening, these people deserve no respect or sympathy, the only sympathy i have is for poor little madeleine, god alone knows what happened to her.

I posted a comment very early on in this blog and I said we needed to stop speculating until we knew the facts. But having just what DAVE from HASTINGS had to say, I hate to admit it but I'm starting to doubt the McCanns, no mother would would care what the hell she looked like if their baby was missing, I know I wouldn't, somethings just not right! I think I don't want to think they were involved but maybe they were. Well written Dave from Hastings, you really made me think!

do not turn the mccanns into victims.do not insult our intelligence .it is obvious they are not telling the whole story. a suffering mother that still finds the sternght to travel to other countries that is so hurt but finds time to go out jogging with her husband finds time to act like a superstar for the media and yes is so worried about her appearence. they took time to call the police giving priority in calling the media first . why have i never seen in their faces a little bit of sorrow .they certainly have more to say.if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear .let the police do their job and dont forget that the results of the lab were not manipulated thank god they were made over ther otherwise someone would probably think the portuguese police planted the evidence.and for last is just to let you know that we are a small country but with good and working people and we deserse respect.you also have dozens of dissapeard children and your police certainly did their best to find them even if some werent found .you cannot blame them so please the same applies to our police .by the way their working hard for maddie i just wish they do the same to our own children in future and they had the right to all this ««propaganda« as this one as other missing children should be treated the same despiste their nacionality

At no point have Sky ever reported the facts. Instead their reporters have chosen to comment on what their 'sources' have told them.

Who can forget the toe curling embarassment of the reporters proudly announcing that they thought Robert Murat was suspicious. Then the every 15 minutes character assassination of him. This comment is not supporting Murat but merely making the point that on the question of abduction/murder etc the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

Of course Sky ignored that and proudly pointed the finger at whoever giving details of their whole life. Then it all changed when the McCanns were named suspects. Now we are reminded that people are innocent until proven guilty.

We are then treated to a special programme aimed to seperate fact from fiction. Perhaps Sky should read the Trade Descriptions Act.

This programme had some ex-police officer arrogantly telling us what he would have done or what might have happened - where are the facts in that.

Indeed Sky left out the only fact - the only fact that is undeniable (save for of course that this poor girl is still missing) and that is that the McCanns left her alone with her younger siblings while they went out eating and drinking. Hardly mentioned as it has been throughout Sky's 'unbiased' reporting of this sad case.

The McCanns did not do it because Sky said so. That may be correct but guilty for the abduction/death of Maddie will be investigated by the Police and decided by the Courts. Sky's role is just to report on it - providing the viewer with the facts.

Incidentally, was anyone else annoyed that a Child Protection expert refused to get involved because of his reputation. I hope he sleeps well at night that someone would be so selfish.

I mean if I had his expertise that could make a real difference in finding this young girl would refuse just because it may not look good on me in case it all went wrong. Maybe Sky should name him so he will find out about ruined reputations.

As a parent I find the mc canns past comments very insulting and insensitive such as "we had an early night,we were so tired from the campaign that we slept all night" its almost as if they want us to feel guilty for their daughters disapearance in order to make them feel better about leaving their children unnattended. They are really a sad and embarassing example to their profession I will in the future think twice before following a doctors advice as these couple made such a poor
decision that probably costed their daughters life and what really gets me is that they have never appologised for their mistake that is causing so much misery to so many people. Why aren't the british authorities doing something about the negligence suffered by madeline that led to her desappearance in one way or another.

I don't understand why it has been publicised that there are sightings of Maddy in Morocco. If it is true then the person/s who took her could go on the run with her. I think it should have been kept a secret.

I'm with Dave, Hastings and Sandra on this subject, i think the focus should be on finding Maddy. I don't think Sky News have been nothing more than fair with the McCanns. They report things the news as it happens what else can they do?

Keep up the good work Sky!

Editors statement re no conspiracy. We aim to be fair.
Its not what your reporters have said, its more the way they have said it that a lot of people are angry about. you have most definately come across as totally trusting the mccanns and a total lack of disrepect for another countrys police department. You have probably made it very difficult for yourselves in the future to have any cooperations from the portuguese police, if some other matter arises in the future. Every person you have invited to your studio have also had a biased opinion. So I do understand the need for apologies regarding the words aiming to be fair. The only fact in this case is that a child is missing, Where that child is and who is and who is responsible for her disappearence at the moment NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS. except the perpertrator/s. so Im keeping an open mind, and so should your newscasters.

I just red the new here at skynews... another millionaire financing the McCanns! This is amazing! They are former suspects of killing their daughter! Go and give your money to someone who really deserves it!... This case stinks...this whole thing feels so wrong...


After reading these comments especially the one from DAVE IN HASTINGS. it is time that you yourselves (SKY) face some facts. DAVE"s comments are almost word for word what the MAJORITY of people I know are thinking. The mccanns, their family, P.Rs. etc are always talking about everyone supports them, letters, emails etc, Fine, but I hav"nt met a single person here where I live in spain or recently on a visit to england that does"nt think that they are not telling the complete truth. As usual the selfish pair are putting themselves first. "stop saying nasty things about us" then we will start looking for our daughter again. your news has been biased from the beginning so your comments above dont wash with me. But then I"m just a member of the public.

To Magali.uk I am quite happy for you to copy my previous comments over to the UK board when the gremlins have been sorted.

As regards to Sky's coverage I think it is showing slightly less bias towards the McCanns but then again there has been little further development.

That is other than them being told no further questioning in Portugal is planned (Mrs McCann appeared very happy) and that they are quite prepared to take a lie detector test.

The polygraph issue I have mixed opinions of. On one hand I'd like to see the result.

However no polygraph is 100% accurate and would the police (or whoever performed the test) ask all the questions that really need to be answered?

Secondly I understand that polygraphs can be "manipulated". I am sure that in the particular fields they work in the McCanns might have some idea about the workings of the process.

If such a test were to be performed and as they seem quite happy to remain in the spotlight perhaps this ought to be done "live" on something like the Jeremy Kyle show so the public could see the result.

Meanwhile......... who exactly is looking for Madeleine at the moment?
If that were my child and I was in the same situation as the McCann's (regardless of the legal situation) I'd be back in Portugal with an obsession for looking for her.

I'm bad enough when I lose the cat for an hour!!


Unbiased reporting? Are you serious? Sky news and the rest of the media has acted like the defence for the Mccanns from day one.

Why do you defend the McCanns so much when the fact is nobody really knows? The only person that can say for sure the McCanns are innocent is someone that has harmed Maddie themselves.

As for you telling the world that the Portuguese police are planting information etc etc that is just ridiculous.

Ludicrous is claiming you are good parents whilst leaving your kids alone to go out to have fun. Refusing to answer police questions and making yourself seem more suspicious does not help.

The parents seem more upset at being made suspects than they are to have their child go missing.

Having spoken to lots of people and read the forums on the internet it is obvious more people are suspicious of the McCanns than those supporting them but you don't listen to public opinion and choose to report that.

Sky like all the other media is only interested in one thing and that is selling adverts and making money.

I watch sky all the time but have lost faith in you due to your very biased pro McCann reporting. Try to get back on track and keep an open mind.

You bring on experts that know nothing about the case and only those that are ready to rubbish the evidence.

Your ready to disrespect the Portuguese but I ask how many English people would have been out looking for a child here in the UK if a Portuguese kid had gone missing? Especially if the parents had neglected them.

Have some respect for Portugal and don't forget our English police have been working with them all along. The Police are only human and do sometimes make mistakes but you should understand that all resources in Portugal have been made available to help and obviously they don't have the sort of resources we have over here. How do you think the Portuguese feel to see so much time put into the McCanns and then on top of it they get slagged off by the English.

Like I said you guys are acting like the defence for the McCanns.

People of Portugal be proud that you are not as biggoted and snobbish as some of the English public and press.

I think Dave from Hastings says it all....yep there must be some new rules around. guess the Maccans know them all because they are using everyone in the book
By the way Maddie must have very sweaty feet to have sweated so much on a pair of sandals that haden't dried in the days between the move from apartment to 'free of rent'villa, I mean we aren't talking damp dismal England here we are talking lovely warm Portugal where soaking wet swimsuits and towels dry within minutes.....but then I guess sweat is different for the Maccans!!! oh and how wet were thouse nappies maybe Kate should change her children's nappies more often if they were sooooo wet as to leave such a big DNA sample underneath the mat in the boot...but then maybe it was whilst the parents were out jogging, playing tennis, having their hair done or simply boozing it up.... please notice in the press today the nice bit about Gerry being a great dad at the resturant, 'Maddies last meal' the waiter points out that although he severed various children spagetti and chips the parents had nothing to eat but just drank beer and danced......then after tucking in their children in carried on to drink the 15 bottles of wine that the police found a reciept for....but then this is obviously what the Maccans and their friends do on holiday...drink and party on down whilst their children are left home alone
anyone know where I could get a copy of the Maccan rule book because I fancy a few months of work and to jet of and leave my kids behind......

hello,excellent points for DAN and IRELAND!

Sky,who are you trying to fool,seriously...i call a cat a cat,Where are all the explanations and details about Sousa resigning,why the change of family spokespersons again,how about this modidified secrecy of Laws,is it just for this case or what...???We are in an eternal FOG and it's all thanx to Sky.

Journalistic skills...Some here at Sky offices WILL go down at the SAME TIME AS SOME OTHERS!

Ah Dave....its a legal/investigative process, not an election. They dont have to "listen to public opinion" and react accordingly. What a ridulous suggestion.

Pleased to hear that if your child ever went missing you will be doing exactly what is expected of you. For mine, I think its a mile in someone else's shoes that I dont wish to take and therefore wouldnt want to suggest how they should be acting.

Over the last few days, as the case against the McCann's appears to fade, it reveals the bigoted, anti-McCann comments on here for what they are: uninformed, village gossip.

Whether they did it or not we can all put our point accross but who really knows. I am sick of hearing from the McCann Camp how wonderful parents they are, they would never hurt them but if they were so wonderful parents why did they leave their children on numerous occasions.

As the McCann camp have their opinions that they have done nothing wrong well it is an offence to leave your children under 12 on their own, isnt it about time they stopped all parading rouund like some film stars and be made to answer to that?

Maddies search should go on but maybe putting the money from the donations to hire investagators, mediums whatever it takes to at least put her to rest.

As a parent of 3 i am mortified that anybody in the right mind would leave such young children on there own, and my opinion being right or wrong you maybe be professional people but you lack common sense and i should not be trusted.

Is sky news pro-McCann?

Yes it is. And I wonder why...is it because of the McCanns/Sky News friendships? I just don't know, you tell me.

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