Friday

Thoughts on BBC Inside Out and the Madeleine Foundation


Many thanks to Sasha from Little Morsals:

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. - Edith Wharton

Although I’m not a member of the Madeleine Foundation, I did attend the meeting in Nuthall as a supporter ...a supporter in as much that I lean towards the possible death of Madeleine in apartment 5a. For me personally, the abduction scenario just doesn’t fit.

The Nuthall meeting was the first I had attended and naturally I had no idea what to expect. I knew I would be meeting like-minded people to discuss the case and chew over various ideas but that was about it. I also knew, as all attending members/supporters did, that BBC journalist Simon Hare would be there on Sunday afternoon. This nearly put me off from attending until I learned there would be no cameras present.

I attended Saturday’s venue and was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the people, feeling as though I’d known them for years and quickly settled in. I listened to the debates, suggestions and ideas and was quietly impressed with the in-depth knowledge of most. There was no nastiness or name calling. The McCann name was never at any time mocked in anyway. The whole reason for gathering together was to brainstorm the information each person had collected.

Sunday morning was very much the same, but things changed on the afternoon when Simon Hare arrived. Although Simon seemed a genuinely nice person (I must say that there’s no doubt he is a very likeable person), no one likes the feeling that there may be a spy in the camp.... consequently, the brainstorming minimised and people were careful on what they said. The outcome was a rather splintered discussion compared to Saturday and the morning of Sunday.

So, I can understand when Simon said at the beginning of the documentary that: “But at the moment I still don’t feel I’m any nearer to understanding exactly what the Madeleine Foundation is about.” However, as he spent subsequent months in the presence of Tony Bennett, Grenville and Helene Green, I have no doubt that he is fully aware what the Madeleine Foundation is about, yet nowhere during the 16 minute documentary did he correct his original statement.

His apparent on- the-spot interviews with the general public comes into question too. It seems he only aired the negative comments rather than doing a professional job of airing both sides to the argument, which is of course, is one of the objectives of professional journalism. Were these carefully selected people or did Simon simply decide that anyone who spoke in favour of the Madeleine Foundation would be left on the cutting room floor? And why did he include a group of children who are not old enough for life experience let alone to make an informed decision? Choose anyone who is spoon fed by the mainstream media who hasn’t so much as begun to investigate the case and you will hear parrot fashion responses. Goodness, it was on the News so it must be true!

Another psychological move was to show Helene Davies-Green with the now infamous Sun article calling her and the Madeleine Foundation ‘Sicko’ ... this was quickly followed with a clip of Grenville Green in Portugal supporting Mr Amaral’s Freedom of Speech. I’m not quite sure why it was spliced this way but in case there is any confusion between the meanings of the two clips: Name-calling and freedom of speech is not the same thing. I have never heard any of the Madeleine Foundation members lower themselves to such levels as the Sun had done.

To my mind the documentary appears to discredit the Madeline Foundation, albeit in an almost friendly manner. But to be fair, I’m sure if the ‘Inside Out’ team wanted, they could have portrayed the Foundation in a worse light, especially considering previous press coverage that's been levied against them. So on that point, Simon and his 'Inside Out' team should be congratulated for not turning the documentary into a complete anti-Madeleine Foundation campaign.

On a lighter note, I did quite like the filming of Helene in the kitchen preparing wild mushrooms and of Grenville tinkering with his now infamous motorbike – ordinary people going about their lives, yet sharing one thing in common with the fast growing public concern that something is not quite right with the abduction scenario.

But back to the documentary....

The Madeleine Foundation isn’t a huge organisation which shows itself off in places such as expensive hotels which brag conference rooms the size of football fields – that can be saved for the likes of corporate investors and others who may feel the need to impress – The Madeleine Foundation, rightly so too in my personal opinion, choose to hold their meetings in more friendly surroundings where buffets are laid on by the members. Had it been any other way then I for one would feel most uncomfortable. Simon Hare may have expected the hotel (where he met Tony Bennett before being brought to the village hall) to be the meeting place for the Madeleine Foundation but then that does show the mindset of someone who is probably used to a more exaggerated atmosphere...no offence intended to Simon Hare.

Another point to make is that Kate and Gerry McCann are not looking for the case to be reopened as stated by Simon Hare; they are merely looking for a review. The two are very different things with very different meanings.

I seem to have the feeling that the documentary was a prelude to something much bigger on the horizon, mostly because it never really concluded anything. In fact it was so disjointed in places it leaves the viewer wondering what the purpose of the documentary was, especially as ‘Inside Out’ bragged they intended to find out what the Madeleine Foundation is all about...when finding out was the last thing they seemed interested in and something the documentary did not seem to accomplish regardless of the amount of time spent with the main members.

So...as the ‘Inside Out’ team seem unable to comprehend what the Madeleine Foundation is all about, please allow me to fill in the gap:

Considering Kate and Gerry McCann have a vested interest in making the public believe their abduction scenario it is understandable that the Foundation (and many others outside of the Madeleine Foundation for that matter) should put aside their word of what they say happened (as I have mentioned several times in other articles, it is ONLY the McCann couple who have suggested and pursued this route. The police have not.) For this reason the Madeleine Foundation use the official police files as their guideline which – incidentally – does not contain any evidence to suggest there was ever an intruder in the family holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. So, in the belief that Madeleine may have died in apartment 5a, their sole objective is to try and uncover what really happened to Madeleine McCann in May 2007.

It’s as simple as that.

Sasha
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Discussion on BBC Programme re MF - Inside Out 7.30 pm 22/11/10

BBC film on The Madeleine Foundation to be aired Monday 22 November, 7.30pm