From a Philadelphia newspaper:
I have championed Don Imus keeping his job. I have defended Barry Bonds' achievements. I stood up for the falsely accused Duke lacrosse players long before they were cleared. I complimented a governor, whom I disagree with on virtually every policy, because he had the guts to take responsibility for a mistake. And I even stated that Paris Hilton was wrongly jailed, receiving unfair treatment because she is a celebrity.
But no matter how much I try, I simply cannot find anything worth defending about Gerry and Kate McCann. Or the complicit paper tiger known as the British media.
It has been nearly 100 days since little Madeleine McCann disappeared, yet intriguing developments and inconsistencies continue to emerge, literally day by day. There was a "100 percent sure" sighting of Madeleine in Belgium, subsequently debunked by DNA testing. A well-respected Portuguese newspaper, the daily Diario de Noticias, has alleged that intercepted e-mails and phone conversations between the McCanns and their friends show that they had knowledge of Madeleine's death.
The perception that the McCanns have not been forthright is building huge momentum. And, as we all know, rightly or wrongly, perception becomes reality.
Millions worldwide have kept Madeleine's story on the front page for a longer duration than ever thought possible. People have offered their prayers, thoughts, assistance, and yes, their wallets to the McCanns in the hope that Madeleine will be safely recovered.
Yet the McCanns' eccentric and illogical behavior, along with conflicting facts of what happened that fateful night, have begun to turn the tide of public opinion. Whereas very few publicly called for child endangerment charges to be brought against the McCanns back in May (yours truly was one of those voices in the wilderness), public opinion now strongly supports such action. Whereas very few originally espoused the notion that the abduction was in some way "faked," doubts about the official version of the May 3 events are now rampant. Whereas the initial investigation did not genuinely focus on the McCanns or their friends as possible suspects, a respected Portuguese newspaper just reported that detectives have "definitely abandoned" the theory that poor Madeleine was abducted, now believing that she was killed inside the McCanns' ground floor, unlocked apartment. Two specialized British dogs, one trained to detect blood and the other to identify the scent of a dead body, apparently reacted positively to both inside the room.
I am certainly in no position to state what actually happened to Madeleine, and there is not enough evidence - yet - to accuse the McCanns of physical wrongdoing, either deliberate or accidental (well, other than their horrendous lack of judgment and non-existent parenting skills). As previously stated, they should definitely be charged with child endangerment, if for no other reason than to ensure that this tragedy does not befall any other "Madeleines."
The British Media's Complicity
Thousands of Brits (and Aussies) have e-mailed with a fury on this issue. What is striking is the commonality on two main points. First, the vast majority of British people think that leaving young children alone while their parents go out to dinner is abhorrent behavior, especially for doctors who should certainly know better (Gerry is a cardiologist and Kate a general practitioner). Second, the British media has absolutely whitewashed the facts in this case, squashing any dissent of Team McCann and choosing fluff over substance. The blatant bias and orchestrated disinformation are outrageous: Letters to the editor are being filtered to only reflect "victim status" toward Gerry and Kate, blog posts and forums containing criticisms have been shut down, common sense questions continue to go unasked and objective journalism/investigative reporting are almost non-existent. All of this from a media establishment, both mainstream and the red top tabloids, that prides itself on its "print and be damned" attitude. Why the rose-colored glasses, and what about the true victim, Madeleine?
What sway the McCanns have over the media, I do not know. But the pendulum has begun to swing back, and the McCann media machine's vice grip on the media is now tenuous.
As famed Australian blogger Mike Hitchen wrote, "The British media establishment is very much a closed shop and operates on the simple concept that you can fool all of the people all of the time. In days gone by that was very much the case. But in their smugness they have failed to take into account an increasingly questioning public with access to information outside the traditional media."
Well said, mate!
Questions For The McCanns
If Gerry and Kate are sincere about cooperating fully with the police, there should be no issue answering some of the most basic questions:
1) Will you and your friends take lie detectors tests? While not guaranteed, they are a decent barometer for an investigation's direction. If there is nothing to hide, releasing the results would be a public relations boon, and the investigation could center around Madeleine for a change.
2) What time was it when you discovered Madeleine was missing? Was it 9 p.m., as Kate states, or 10 p.m.? And why the discrepancy? How long did it take for you to call the police? There are reports of a significant delay on your part. You stated that the shutters were forced open, but the police and hotel staff said there was no evidence of tampering. And Kate, why, upon discovering that Madeleine was missing, did you return to the restaurant, leaving the two-year old twins alone (again) while a predator could still have been lurking nearby? Since the restaurant was only "twenty yards" away, your screaming clearly would have been heard. Interestingly, Kate, you yelled, "They've taken her," but how did you know Madeleine was abducted? After all, the doors were unlocked. Madeleine was known to sleepwalk. Or perhaps this little girl just happened to awaken in a dark, unfamiliar place, becomes scared and, alone and understandably frightened, looked for the comfort of her parents. When she didn't see either of you in the apartment, could she have walked outside to find you? And, by the way, Kate, why did you say "they" took her?
3) Your resort was extremely child-friendly. Why not use the inexpensive babysitting services that were available? Some reports state that you did not want the children to be around unfamiliar people. Yet the same people who ran the day camp your children attended were also the babysitters. Also, how could "strangers" be any worse than leaving three young children (with a combined age of seven) alone in an unlocked apartment?
4) Exactly how far away was the restaurant? There are huge inconsistencies with your answers to this question. Was it 50 yards, 150 or just 20, as Kate stated in an interview last week? Could you in fact see the room from your table? How often did one of you walk back to check on the children before Madeleine went missing: Every hour, half-hour, or not at all? (The statements of the resort staff differ markedly from yours.) If, as you say, this arrangement was so secure, and you could see your apartment from your table, wouldn't you have been able to see any alleged abductor? Isn't it true that your view of the room was partially blocked by a wall and a hedge, and that the other door to the room and the windows were not visible at all? Is this the "secure arrangement" you actually compared to eating in your backyard garden?
5) During a BBC interview, Kate, you were adamant that the children would not awaken during the time you and your husband were dining. Yet since Madeleine had a history of sleepwalking, how could you be so sure of this? Were the children given any sleeping drugs or medications?
6) How often did you dine out (at child-friendly restaurants) while leaving the children alone? What were the distances of these restaurants from your room?
7) Did you ever hire private investigators after Madeleine's disappearance? If not, why?
What is the nature of the Limited Company you established after Maddy vanished? How much money has been raised and spent? For what were the spent monies used? Has any reward from the company been posted? Are any family members on the payroll? What are the limitations, if any, on how the money can be spent?
9) Why did you travel to the United States when not one lead ever suggested that Madeleine was taken there? How much money did you raise in America?
10) You stated in an earlier interview: "Looking at it from where we are now, I don't feel we were irresponsible, I feel we are very responsible parents." Do you still feel that way?
These questions are, at a minimum, a logical starting point to get to the bottom of Madeleine's disappearance.
However, there is one point that I simply cannot rectify:
Assume for a minute that if the police dog was accurate in its detection of death in the room, and the death was that of Madeleine - and we all pray that it is not - then why would the perpetrator take a dead child from the room?
A wise man once said that lies reveal more than they conceal.
In their quest for the truth, the British people have shown a temerity and passion that is increasingly rare. They should be justifiably proud of their tenacity in the face of tremendous adversity.
But Gerry and Kate, your 15 minutes are up.