The Downfall of British Journalism

(500 words)

Journalism in Britain, impartial investigative journalism, ended on May 3rd 2007, the day our media began saturation coverage of an event that occurred in Portugal. A little girl named Madeleine McCann, aged three, had disappeared from her holiday apartment.
So what do I recall of that event? Non-stop coverage on TV with a maddening lack of any real information. A woman with chiselled features making a televised appeal. “Please give our little girl back.” Funny, no tears, not even the watering of an eye, and your little ‘princess’ stolen from under your nose!
They’d left the children every night whilst dining with friends. “It was like dining in your back garden.” But it’s OK, they were doing ‘regular checks.’ As if!
Stories of shutters smashed, doors broken, the little girl taken out of a window. These being reports given by the parents to close friends and broadcast within the first 24 hours.
Hearing the Portuguese police say there was NO break-in, that the window sill was unmarked and the girl couldn’t have been taken out of it!
Then an appeal. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were donated to ‘find Maddie.’ Maybe millions. Support of the rich and famous. Appeals by famous footballers. David Beckham. “If you’ve seen this little girl …,” holding up a picture.
The father talking about his little girl being ‘abducted.’ Strange, why not use the word ‘kidnapped’? Maybe because that involves a ransom and he knew one wouldn’t be forthcoming?
Four months later, shock, horror! – the parents declared arguidos – suspects! Cadaver dogs hitting upon the scent of human remains in their apartment, the garden below, on their clothes and in their car!
Top Portuguese detective on Panorama saying the statements of the parents and their friends ‘didn’t add up.’ The father, asked about sightings of his daughter, trying to hide a smirk.
Then, very strangely, our journalists made a volte-face. Articles appeared slagging off the Portuguese police. ‘Bunglers, fat sardine-munchers.’ On and on.
Ten years later, regular newspaper articles still tell of the ‘brave, anguished parents’ and their ‘fury’ over a book written by the lead detective. Panorama and Crimewatch on the telly, now portraying the parents, never cleared, as saints. The mother, an ambassador for Missing People charity!
Funny, what about the cadaver dogs? Never happened! History rewritten.
So who or what is orchestrating this? Well, their spokesman ‘left’ his highly-paid job as head of the government’s Media Monitoring department to work for them. So affected by their plight, was he. Allegedly.
What did that department do? It ‘controls what comes out in the media’ according to the man himself.
But why would the government want to plant regular pro-McCann stories in our newspapers and bias towards them in TV programs?
Why set up a huge police investigation, Operation Grange, to find Madeleine, still running six years later, where the ‘cop’ in charge stated that ‘neither the McCanns nor their friends are suspects nor persons of interest’?
That’s the $64,000 question.
Links: (ex-police inspector, ‘Peter Mac.’) (14 hours of documentaries by top investigative journalist, Richard D. Hall)

Madeleine McCann Case Solved by James Bogart (added 19th March 2019)

9News: ‘Maddie’ podcast series by Mark Saunokonoko (added 25th March 2019)

N.B. This post was republished, unchanged, in February 2018. Click HERE to see it.

Related: The ‘Putney Bridge Jogger’ Case: 20 Questions That Must be Answered!

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21 thoughts on “The Downfall of British Journalism

  1. There was a time was journalist prided themselves on reporting the facts. Now, everything is either an editorial, or propaganda. We, as readers / viewers need to separate fact from fiction and know when someone is pulling at our heart strings for ratings and sales.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. There’s an article out today by an investigative Irish journalist, Gemma O’Doherty, published in the Village Magazine in Ireland (you can find it online). If anyone doesn’t know the story, an Irish family spotted someone looking like Gerry McCann carrying a small child in pajamas who matched the description of Madeleine, about 10 p.m. on the night she vanished.

      Very conveniently, a friend of the McCanns spotted someone carrying a child, matching Madeleine’s description, in the opposite direction to the Irish family, 45 minutes earlier. That sighting was regarded as fake by the Portuguese police but trumpeted by the British police/media. The British police ignored the Irish sighting until 2013 when it was announced on BBC Crimewatch and called a ‘revelation.’ Six years after everyone else (who was following the case) knew about it!

      However, it was widely claimed that the father of the family, Martin Smith had subsequently changed his mind and decided it couldn’t have been Gerry. In a recent Panorama, probably the top BBC current affairs program, they stated exactly that – Martin Smith had changed his mind. It wasn’t Gerry McCann his family saw that night, carrying a child who looked like Madeleine.

      Gemma O’Doherty is the first to have managed to interview Mr. Smith and he says not only has he NEVER changed his mind, he phoned Panorama to tell them so. However Panorama did nothing about it until Gemma O’Doherty investigated. As of today (by coincidence, my post was scheduled!) it’s public knowledge that Panorama have admitted to making a ‘mistake,’ and they are now taking Mr. Smith’s alleged retraction out of the iPlayer version. They have not admitted how the ‘mistake’ occurred.

      So good for Gemma, someone with the balls (ironically!) to investigate one of the most important aspects of the whole case and to get it published. She is being insulted left, right and centre on Twitter by McCann [paid] trolls, but the rest of us are all grateful to her, one of the very few investigative reporters to publish something anti-McCann of substance.

      Meanwhile, Britain’s finest, the Metropolitan Police, with Operation Grange have supposedly spent nearly 12 million pounds on their investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. Without interviewing the McCanns, nor their holidaying friends. They say it isn’t necessary, the Portuguese police already did that. Despite the fact that Kate McCann declined to answer any questions pertaining to the evening Madeleine disappeared. And no MP or public figure speaks up against that.

      The media/politicians continue to lie, lie, and lie to us. And then Sky News publish vitriolic articles against Donald Trump for decrying ‘Fake News.’

        1. It’ll be interesting to see how she handles the resulting ‘flak’ and if she’ll tell us about it.

          I hope she won’t succumb to the abuse from McCann trolls, and will get other shocking aspects of the case published. We need someone like her over here in England!!

  2. Re: Sonia Poulton’s documentary [Sonia Poulton is a British journalist/film-maker. My bold below.]

    Today is the 10th anniversary since Madeleine McCann was reported missing. British media is even more PR-oriented on the story than ever before.

    Media has failed to apply due objectivity to this case and, by doing so, journalists and broadcasters have failed Madeleine McCann – as well as a number of other victims this story has created.

    For all the sentimental musings from the disingenuous media pack there is scant regard to the true fate of the missing child.

    For the past three years I (and a small but dedicated team) have been making a film looking into the events following Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. It is a version of the story that has yet to be told.

    Making the doc has been a fairly horrendous time. I was warned by media colleagues not to do it. I was told it was “the one story you don’t cover.” Which translated to me as the story that I must. So, we did it, anyway, despite the warnings. Little did I know the madness that would ensue.

    The obstacles – from smear campaigns and threats to almost financial destitution – have been numerous. Primarily because when you’re accusing the Establishment, including British media, of being part of a narrative that has more holes than your average colander…’re going to have problems with, well, the Establishment and the British media.

    Finally, with regard our documentary, we’re on the home stretch. We returned from a second shoot to Praia da Luz (where Madeleine was reported missing) several weeks ago, spent 12 hours a day in post production and now we’re in talks with TV producers. Not British ones, I may add.

    I should say, our film makes no claims of innocence or guilt towards Kate and Gerry McCann and their holiday friends, it simply tells the facts of the story as seen through the eyes of forensic examiners, ex-cops, case observers and the Portuguese Police files. Oh, and with the help of people at the heart of the story who are quite unused to British journalists asking questions that haven’t already been vetoed by the official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

    Personally, I always believe that the truth, simply told, is potent. And it is. I hope to be able to announce a broadcast date sooner rather than later.

    This is not only a story about a missing child – as sad as that is to the many, many people who experience such an event – but about wide-ranging matters that affect us all. It’s time that truth, not public relations, was applied to it.

    Here’s a little recording I did on my phone. For those familiar with the story, you may recognise the famous church. This is the scene of much controversy and became known worldwide for the press shots of Kate and Gerry McCann visiting it.

  3. Found this article really interesting. You obviously have your suspicions. I remember the initial story and the follow-up arrests and exoneration, have thought about Madeleine often since and wondered, “Will anyone ever really know?”

    As far as the media being manipulative and manipulated by certain forces (or opinions), yes, we’ve seen that a number of times. Interviews with people who fit with the media’s “agenda”, news accounts presented in such a clever way as to lead people to the “proper” — if erroneous — conclusions. It isn’t a new thing.

    1. Hi Christine, thank you for your considered response. Regarding the Madeleine McCann story, I would highly recommend the Richard D, Hall films I mentioned below to another commentator. They are accessible via the second link above. They will definitely boggle your mind if you don’t know much about the case!

      He has a further one coming out on the 17th April about WHY Madeleine’s death was covered up. That should be pretty interesting! If you don’t want to watch them all you could look at part 4, Government Agents.

      I’m currently watching them all again, after writing the above post, and much of the stuff covered is almost unbelievable.

      You are right, I’m sure, in that the media has likely been used to influence the populace ever since its invention. Probably even before that messengers were charged with ‘lies’ to disseminate. I think it’s because we are supposed to have a ‘free press’ here in England/the West that it is a bitter pill to swallow when you find you have been systematically lied to for so long, ten years in the case of the McCanns.

      RDH also has a website where you can view programs about many other cases.

  4. Shameful… that big corporations own newspapers is the worse that could happen to journalism. Maddie’s story is an example among so many others… and we see it today with Trump’s presidency. The endless click-baiting to make more money. We’ve lost so much in terms of quality. France is the very same. Sad times!

    1. Many thanks for your insights, and I didn’t know France was bad too. The problem for the big corporations is there is now the internet, where people can still discuss things freely. So that is probably why stories have to be rammed down people’s throats on the TV and in the newspapers, to influence the neutral majority to the extent where those who question what we are told are ‘drowned out’. No doubt many of the ‘fake news stories’ on the internet are deliberately created to undermine internet news too.

      Reminds me of the famous quote by Mark Twain. ‘If you DON’T read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you DO read the newspaper you are misinformed.” !

      1. It’s such a complex question! Parties involved have different end-goals which makes it even more difficult to decipher the behind-the-scene intents. Being informed nowadays is a matter of personal will when you see how easily ppl fall for unfounded stories…

        1. Hi Freddie, that’s a good analysis. The ‘Maddie Case‘ seems particularly complex as it involves the government, the police, the security services, the newspapers and the television, all of whom apparently don’t want/can’t let the truth about the affair to come to light. Certainly, the further you look into the case, the murkier it becomes. I’ve followed it for years and when I had to write a short story starting with the word ‘Journalism’, the idea of writing about it just wouldn’t go away. Hence my post. Thanks again for your observations and please check out the links I gave if you’d like to learn more.

  5. In Louisiana, back in 2016 we had a major flood and nobody reported on it!. Lives were lost and it was one of the worst floods in history yet no one reported on it. Funny how the news chooses what to report on…

    1. Hi, thank you for that information, and yes, it is strange it wasn’t reported. I wonder if it was deliberately covered up?

      It is funny what news is reported on and I have always thought of it like a spotlight. It shines on one story for a few days, then onto another, then another, hardly ever revisiting the early ones, as if they never happened.

      Also, it’s odd how so many of the newspapers here in England run with the same story, even when it’s nothing that important.

      At the end of the day SOMEONE makes the decision what to publish/broadcast. Is someone else pulling their strings we ask?

      1. It’s a setup, they’re picking and choosing what to show us and being selective with what they let us see. If it does not fit into their views, they will not publish it.

        1. Very true, but it would be extremely interesting to know just who ‘they‘ are. Are there many or just a handful of ‘puppet masters‘ I wonder?

    1. Hello and thanks for the feedback. The idea of journalism reporting the FACTS (if it ever did) seems to have gone out of the window. In the words of Richard D. Hall, it’s now about ‘manipulating public perception’. When most of the (British) newspapers are owned by one man, and that man is in cahoots with the prime minister (or vice versa), then unbiased reporting is hardly on the agenda.

      I highly recommend watching RDH’s Madeleine McCann films via the second link above. They are the most searching and in-depth analyses available, and show quite clearly it does look like power is being misused.

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