Double Standards at The Daily Mail


I've been working for some time on a blog post about the McCann story. I keep updating it as the changes occur and hopefully it will be ready soon. In the meantime, I was intrigued by this gushing piece of journalism from author, Allison Pearson in Britain's greatest birdcage floor covering. She has also written for the Independent so this is not so much a dig at the DM as a poke at crap writing.

Whilst some of the press are carefully realigning themselves in case the good doctors are not as innocent as first claimed, this article could easily have been written by the McCann PR team. With such high profile friends as Gordon Brown, JK Rowling, Esther McVey (Tory candidate for Wirral West: God help us!), Alex Ferguson et al, maybe she knows them.
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I refuse to believe the McCanns are guilty
12th September 2007 Allison Pearson

The past few days of Kate McCann's life may have rewritten the definition of hell.
Imagine coming home for the first time since your four-year-old daughter disappeared and walking into her bedroom to find her toys, her clothes, all her things exactly as she left them, maybe never to be touched by her again.
And then try to imagine, on top of such unspeakable sorrow, that there are people out there who believe that you killed your child, and that for four months you have simply been acting the part of a heartbroken mother.

Gerry and Kate McCann insist they had 'nothing' to do with the disappearance of their daughter
As if that weren't bad enough, the police and social services have just held a meeting to discuss the future of your two-year-old twins in the light of allegations against you and your husband.
Sean and Amelie McCann taken into care?
My stomach actually churned at the thought that Kate might lose the babies who have given her a reason to get out of bed and generally pretend to go on living since she and Gerry lost Madeleine.
It's such a grotesque idea. But over the past few days, the McCann story has gathered momentum so quickly that nothing seems shocking or impossible any more.
Imagine how thrilled those literally clueless Portuguese cops were to be handed some inconclusive DNA evidence they could talk up to scapegoat the British visitors who had become such a pain in the backside.

Overnight, Gerry and Kate found themselves trapped in a nightmare straight out of Franz Kafka. A world where lack of hard evidence is taken as proof of guilt and innocent explanations are twisted to fit our darkest suspicions.
During an 11-hour interrogation, Kate's Bible, for heaven's sake, was used as proof against her because one passage about a sick child was crumpled.
Since when in the Western world are devout Christians considered suspicious for reading the Bible?
Now Kate and Gerry have been named as official suspects, it suddenly feels as if it's open season on the doctors from Leicestershire.

Kate McCann leaving the police station in Portugal after an 11 hour interrogation
Even those of us who have believed in the couple all along, and prayed for Madeleine's safe return, may have experienced an uncomfortable sliver of doubt.
"I always thought they were too good to be true," is a common view.
Gerry is described as controlling and unemotional. As for Kate, she attracts suspicion for the sin of being nicely turned out. I actually heard one man complain that she wore a different, clean T- shirt every day and matching earrings.
In this post-Diana age, people want proof of grief. They don't want dignity or faith or an attempt to keep up appearances, even if you are collapsing inside.
Trained to deal with trauma, doctors can seem more detached than the rest of us. That professional self-control may also have counted against the McCanns.
So in the absence of definite proof - as opposed to rumours and allegations from unnamed sources - let's set aside the sensational headlines and expert theories about DNA strands.
Look at Kate McCann. Notice the checked trousers that fitted her four months ago flapping on her emaciated frame. Watch her head lean with infinite tenderness into her baby daughter's face.

Kate's weight loss under the stress and worry is clear from the checked trousers that hang from her tiny frame as Gerry reads a statement to the press
Observe her spasm of anguish at the airport when Gerry, breaking down in outraged tears himself, said: "We have played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter, Madeleine."
Can anyone really believe that woman killed the child she went through two gruelling years of IVF to conceive?
That she then hid the small body and strolled down with her husband to enjoy dinner with friends?
That Gerry and Kate, devoted parents by all accounts, loaded Madeleine's decaying body into the boot of a hire car four weeks later while they were busy courting the international media to help find their child?
Can you credit it? Of course not. The allegation is not just revolting. It is surreal.
Whatever you may think about the error they made in leaving their children alone that night, these people are not Fred and Rose West.
The deed the McCanns are accused of would have required such black, cold-hearted evil that I refuse to believe they are guilty unless overwhelming evidence is uncovered.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told the BBC she had full confidence in the Madeleine investigation.
Well, you're on your own, honey. The British Government should be expressing disquiet to the Portuguese about the sorry excuse for an inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance - and the subsequent outrageous attempt to bully Kate into a quick confession.
Debate is already turning to whether the McCanns, as they fight to clear their names, should be able to dip into the £1 million Madeleine Fund to pay for legal help.
My answer, unhesitatingly, is yes. That money was given by the public to try to secure Madeleine's safe return.
I fervently believe her kidnapper is still at large, and just imagine what sick pleasure he must be taking as the Portuguese police try to stitch up the little girl's parents.
What hope of justice can there be for Madeleine if the only line of inquiry is into her beloved mother and father?
Now, more than ever, the McCanns desperately need our support, not our cynicism.
It is time to call off the witch hunt for the simple reason there is no witch, only a heartbroken mother who wants her child back.
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This is bad journalism, lacking in fact and relying upon sugar-sweet sentiment.
Let's look at it more closely:


The past few days of Kate McCann's life may have rewritten the definition of hell.
Actually. Septicisle in Obsolete beat me to it here. This is just lazy writing. Everyone has their own definition of what constitutes hell. Mine involves relegation from League 1, A copy of the Daily Mail and a giant Jade Goody. In fact, my personal Inferno alters by the day; the Daily Mail and relegation remain constants though.

As if that weren't bad enough, the police and social services have just held a meeting to discuss the future of your two-year-old twins in the light of allegations against you and your husband.
Moving away from hell, social services are clearly damned if they do, damned if they don't. This is the same Allison Pearson who wrote in August of this year, "We should take more children away from their parents....... In fact, Britain has among the lowest number of children taken into care in the world. Yet a child is killed by its parents at home every single week. "

Of course, what she means is working class children from council estates. It is not just that they have become suspects in the case, their level of child care has been questionable from the outset. Contrary to the view in the World of McCann, most parents do not leave children alone in a holiday apartment every night whilst they go out drinking. My first thought when this came to light was not the risk of abduction, but the risk of an accident. I remember reading a letter someone received from Leicestershire Social Services stating that they should warn their friend she risks prosecution/intervention if they continue to leave 3 children alone when she went to the pub at the end of the street. The original letter was, of course, a spoof, but it does show the hypocrisy of those that defend them.

As for Kate, she attracts suspicion for the sin of being nicely turned out.

On the face of it, a relevant point. There has been a deluge of nonsensical statements and comments about the couple's demeanour. But what's this later on in the article.....
Look at Kate McCann. Notice the checked trousers that fitted her four months ago flapping on her emaciated frame.

So, appearance is relevant. A person couldn't lose weight through fear of being guilt, no?

Overnight, Gerry and Kate found themselves trapped in a nightmare straight out of Franz Kafka.

A little learning is a dangerous thing. This is not A Kafka-esque situation. Here, the charges/accusations are known. The McCanns were presented with it in interview. They chose not to answer many questions. The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are in a proper Kafka novel. Likewise, those incarcerated in the UK on terror concerns.

I fervently believe her kidnapper is still at large, and just imagine what sick pleasure he must be taking as the Portuguese police try to stitch up the little girl's parents.

The abduction theory does not look too healthy at the moment. The media here accepted the McCann version of events from Day 1 and are paying the penalty. Independent and rational reporting went out of the window.

.....£1 million Madeleine Fund to pay for legal help.
My answer, unhesitatingly, is yes. That money was given by the public to try to secure Madeleine's safe return.


Even the Fund Trustees have now decided this is not appropriate. The McCanns still tried to put spin on this by claiming THEY had decided not to seek funds.
Imagine how thrilled those literally clueless Portuguese cops were to be handed some inconclusive DNA evidence
This translates as, 'we don't like foreign police forces because they're not English like our detectives. Amanda Burton in Silent Witness would solve it. Her ice cool, unflinching, emotionless demeanour would be very apposite.

3 comments:

transfattyacid said...

The simple fact is that Alsion Pearson is a nutcase.

In additon to her delusional rantings about the McCanns she was equally stupid, racist, and 'funny' with her comments about the plan to give mothers fresh fruit.

The Daily Mail should sack her.

eric the fish said...

Apparently she was feted as the 'new' Lynda Lee Potter, which, I think sums her up.
I didn't manage to wade through hr other gems as I was losing the will to live.
As a quack lawyer, I always have to give benefit of doubt to suspects/defendants etc but I'm hard pressed here.
I just think to take the view 'I know they are innocent' is as intelletually shallow as to say 'I know they are guilty as fuck'

Thanks for the comment!

septicisle. said...

Nice fisk.