Sunday

The McCanns versus the Internet


Here's a very valid post on the Missing Madeleine forum (registration required)

Posted by charlesp

I can't help but wonder if the sorry saga of the McCanns would have been over months ago - with the whole thing forgotten - if it wasn't for the internet, with its associated blogs, mail, and the all important fora.

The Mirror forum, Anorak, Digital Spy, McCannfiles, the late lamented Three Arguidos; all have played a part in the continuation of what must be the most argued, the most polarised, the most heated, debate since Lindy Chamberlain and the dingo. Remember that one? It was twenty nine years ago.

But there was no Internet then. So daily news releases were not discussed or torn apart online as they are nowadays. There was no immediate forum where someone in Australia could converse with dozens of people from across the globe in what iss almost real time. Sure, there were telephone - but then it was an expensive business, and of course it was one-to-one.

Before that there was the Lindbergh case in 1932. That was massively celebrated, debated and discussed.

Public opinion seems to have affected neither of those two cases, but I am absolutely convinced that it is the central battleground of the one we're discussing here. Even before the hiring of the first PR reptile there was PR expertise available courtesy of the Mark Warner people. That was before any of us realised there could possibly be anything to spin. Mind you, alarm bells did ring very early on for me - one look at their faces had me convinced that something was up. I know that statement will be pounced upon by the staunch defenders, but I can't help but be honest about it. Naturally that's not all that makes me believe - still - that the dodgy doctors know much more than they are letting on. So must their PR animals, too. They surely must know, in their heart of hearts, what's going on. Or do they think that's judgemental, and therefore not a thing to be contemplated?

The spin doctors, if they're worth their salt (lots of salt in most cases) must be aware of all that is said here, on the McCannfiles, on the 'Have Your Say' sections in the newspapers. They must read what's written, and they surely must nudge the one sitting next to them and say 'I didn't know that - is it true?' and they must go and find out if it is indeed true in order to formulate the best plan to counter it.

So perhaps we are working against ourselves. We are not privy to the plans and campaign tactics of Team McCann, of course we aren't. But we do put everything we have (real or imaginary) in front of these people. I'm doing it right now (Hi Guys).

This recent business of the book in Portugal isn't really a surprise to any of us. And to those that have been saying 'Bring it on I'd love to see the McCanns in Court' all I can say is don't hold your breath. They will be too anguished to appear, it'll be the lawyers you see. BUt note that this isn't about 'The doctors are innocent'. This is about 'Madeleine is still alive'.

Of course they have to maintain this myth. Their livelihoods depend uponj it. But they are accentuating that one rather than the 'Innocent' stuff.

Does that mean that in the Team McCann headuarters they think that people generally reckon Madeleine is dead? Remember Gerry's blog - 'As long as people continue to believe she's dead...

If the battleground for hearts and minds has shifted to bolstering the belief that she's alive I reckon we (the online community) have achieved something. Not much, but a small changing of tack at this point could mean the PR team are losing ground.

What do you think?

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And an excellent response by Carrie:

I think that everyone who challenges the McCanns versions of events, is a thorn in their sides. Because the press has a blinkered approach, more and more people need the internet to get accurate information. Even today, the Express publishes a very pro article about the McCanns, and how they have been the subject of a nasty letter from Mrs Amaral, and yet they do not allow comments. So its like you have no voice anymore.

The McCanns probably hate all the sites that are anti them. But whilst our press is so biaised towards them, then the internet will flourish with sites about them. Because at the end of the day, their story is questionable, their behaviour in leaving those kids was wrong, and because they told US we should search for their daughter, and/or give money, they involved us. So they can't have it both ways. They can't expect our money, our "searching" - without us retaining an interest. We have the right to question them. They put themselves in the public domain - they hired PR people for God's sake - they made the search for Maddie global and promoted their "Fund". We can't turn our feelings and opinions on and off like a tap to suit them. They opened a can of worms and put themselves in the spotlight. Our Press fuelled our indignation by tarring us all with the same filthy brush - and implying that if we didn't leave our kids night after night, then we were in the minority! The internet is only place where we can debate with same-minded people; people who really do care about child neglect, and think that parenting is the most important role a human can fulfill. We have the right to question them - they gave us that right when they slammed the door shut on three little kids, then begged us to give them money to find one of them.