Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Madeleine McCann: McCann bites the hand that helped pay his mortgage

Gerry McCann, front man for Madeleine McCann Enterprises, was yesterday allowed to speak for himself instead of through a highly paid family spokesman. Addressing MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport committee, he turned his much publicised anger on a media that has in fact gone out of it's way to protect and canonise the McCanns as paragons of responsible parenting.

The compliant British media have spared McCann and his now strangely reclusive wife, the venom they have directed at other parents who made a conscious decision to leave their children unattended while they went out drinking - and who in some cases, have been jailed for doing so when predictable yet avoidable tragedy occurred.

However, that did not stop McCann fired up with self-righteous hypocrisy, claiming the media coverage damaged and hurt his remaining family.

From the very moment Madeleine was reported missing, Team McCann swung into action. Phone calls were made, favours called in, and the grotesque McCann created media circus unleashed. Lurid headlines about Robert Murat were published and circulated - in fact at one stage McCann carried a newspaper headline that pointed the finger at Murat, on the top of his blog. As always, there is one set of rules for the McCanns and a very different set for what McCann has in the past referred to as, "ordinary people".

It was the media's saturation coverage and glorification of the McCanns that helped raise almost £2million for the dubious and controversial Find Madeleine Fund, in the first ten months after little Madeleine vanished without trace. The McCanns, along with their family and friends who administer the fund, revelled in the media coverage and took every opportunity to keep the story in the public eye. Apart from the fund being used to pay the mortgage on their luxury house, £123,573 was spent on campaign management which is believed to include the salary of the McCanns’ temporary spokesman Justine McGuinness and the fees of a PR agency.

More than twenty-two months after Madeleine vanished, the McCanns still have a media spokesperson - the man who speaks on their behalf even when the daughter they betrayed is the target of publicly displayed pornographic stunts and sick jokes. Why the parents of a missing child need a spokesperson and well oiled media machine to speak on their behalf has never been satisfactorily explained. Most parents in such situations are able to express their feelings quite adequately without the help of strangers.

Addressing the committee, McCann pulled out the slogan that is well known to those who dare speak out against the two negligent parents He said many had "too much time on their hands", adding: "I feel very sorry for those people who feel a need to do that [write abusive and unsubstantiated comments] and there's something clearly missing in those lives."

How many times have those words appeared in the mailboxes of reputable bloggers and on newspaper "Have your say" forums? Well Gerry, there is something missing in your life - a daughter. She is "missing" because of the deliberate negligence of yourself and your wife. That is why people like myself fail to play the Official McCann Game.

It's interesting to note that overseas media have also published scathing articles on the McCanns. In Portugal, Spain and Philadelphia. Yet the McCanns only sued British media groups, perhaps in the knowledge they would be more open to settle without a fight than their overseas counterparts - some of whom would welcome their day in court with the McCanns and their expensive army of lawyers, spokespersons and perception managers.

McCann failed to mention that as a result of McCann inspired media coverage, the lives and privacy of innocent people including children, were the subject of intense and disparaging scrutiny by the tabloids.

An innocent Moroccan family was vilified and belittled because of their poverty after one of the many "sightings" of Madeleine. They were not the only victims of McCann promoted media hysteria.. Many innocent children and families were harassed and had details of their lives published for all to see. While all this happened, the McCanns sat back at Rothley Manor and neither said nor did anything to stop it.

McCann complained that Madeleine had become a "commodity". Yet it was the McCanns themselves who were responsible for turning Madeleines plight into a commercial enterprise complete with tacky wrist bands, T shirts and images you could download onto your mobile phone - all sold on an out of the box website operated by a friend of the family who was paid £30,000 out of the fund to do so. Callum, the friend of Philomena McCann (the brains behind a mass email campaign), even took the opportunity to approach other families of missing children, to offer his services.

But perhaps there were other reasons behind yesterday's appearance before a Parliamentary committee. McCann said that in today's "changing media landscape" self-regulation was something that the media needed to improve. "I'm not sure personally whether self-regulation is keeping up with that technology and it is something they will need to address in coming months and years."

There is nothing the British Establishment would like more than to be able to control the media - especially the new media.

It would not be the first time in this sorry affair that Madeleine has been used as a tool for other agendas.
Written and Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits