American columnist Chris Freind again questions why Gerry and Kate
McCann won't admit that THEY are most responsible for Madeleine's
it any wonder why the state of journalism is so dismal' Why its luster as a noble profession has been lost'
And why so many citizens no longer have faith in the media to ask tough
questions and seek the truth, wherever it may lead'
Sadly, that brand of hard-nosed, 'no sacred cows' reporting is now
virtually nonexistent. Instead, it's all about making nice with
interviewees and bowing at the altar of political correctness, where
reporters spend more time trying not to offend than actually doing their
Case in point: the nauseating interview by CNN's Piers Morgan of Gerry
and Kate (G and K) McCann, parents of Madeleine, the British toddler who
went missing from a Portuguese resort four years ago. Maddy, you may
recall, was left alone in a ground floor, unlocked apartment along with
her twin two-year old siblings while G and K ate and imbibed at the
Rather than probe G and K to shed light on the many questions needing
clear and concise answers, Morgan merely placated them (''you're
certainly good parents' no one is questioning that..'), allowing the
McCanns to manipulate the discussion to their liking.
once again, a chance to help Madeleine via a worldwide audience is
wasted by the McCanns' self-serving spin.
McCanns claimed Madeleine was kidnapped, though there is scant evidence
to that claim. While those who have followed the drama have various
theories as to what really happened to Madeleine, this author has
consistently hammered home four core points:
1) There are numerous inconsistencies in the McCanns' version of what
transpired that fateful night. And the only way to get straight answers
would be for an interviewer to do his job and ask the right questions.
But for the world to trust the McCanns, and by extension generate
renewed vigor in the search for Madeleine, Gerry and Kate need to come
clean and address the many inconsistencies. Example: why did Kate
allegedly yell 'they've taken her' rather than 'Madeleine is missing'
after discovering her disappearance' And why kidnapping was her first
thought, which is totally inconsistent with Gerry's interview answer to
Morgan (detailed below).
Court of Public Opinion will judge G and K accordingly, but the longer
questions go unanswered, the more doubts arise. (For the record,
'Freindly Fire' has repeatedly requested an interview, but to no avail).
2) The McCanns, unequivocally, endangered their children through
negligence. No matter what spin is put on the situation, the fact
that three children, with a combined age of seven, were left alone for
hours is inexcusable. Sure, no one is perfect, and there are
degrees of mistakes, but that takes the cake. Some critics argue
that focusing on Gerry and Kate's actions do nothing for finding
Madeleine and serve no purpose, but in fact, the opposite is true.
First, by genuinely admitting their grave mistake and taking pains to
show the world that children should never be left unattended, they set
the right example for parents who may still engage in that practice.
More important, they would build enormous goodwill with those who simply
can't get past the McCanns' arrogance, and in doing so, generate a level
of trust that they can be believed. Taking blame for their mistake
will win people over, and for obvious reasons, the more people tuned
into Madeleine's situation (without so much anger directed at the
parents), the better the chances for additional leads.
3) The British media should do its job by reporting the facts and asking
the right questions. Despite Britain's ridiculously stifling and archaic
libel laws, the UK press still has plenty of leeway in which to move
this case forward. They should neither pronounce guilt nor cozy up
to the McCanns, but take an objective down-the-middle approach to
finding answers to the most pressing questions.
along those lines, the McCanns would be well served to stop suing or
threatening every individual, web group and media entity that states
something they don't like. By leaving your children alone in a
foreign nation --- and not adequately addressing that mistake --- they
brought criticism upon themselves. Deal with it. Threats to
silence critics only make them look guilty.
4) Why have no negligence charges been brought against Gerry and Kate,
thus showing the world that willfully walking away from your children is
not only wrong, but criminal' Remember, for a three-year old in an
unfamiliar place, parents who are 100 meters away might as well be in a
Unfortunately, the Piers Morgan interview demonstrates that those
lessons involving humility and honesty have not been learned by Gerry
and Kate. It's just more of the same: softball questions, slick
answers, and the blame game. The most telling excerpts:
Piers Morgan (PM): Why didn't you just pay to have a
nanny if you wanted to go out to dinner'
Gerry (GM): We did what we thought was best'.If you're
children are asleep upstairs in a bedroom and you're dining (outside) in
the garden, you can't hear them. And that's the similar thing to me.
PM: But most people's homes are secure. (The resort)
wasn't a secure property. People could come in off the street'
GM: It gets back to the safety issue. We did not
perceive an element of threat. Child abduction is so rare. Why
would you have ever thought that someone would have entered the
apartment and steal your child' It just didn't enter our head.
Kate: We've been through all these questions, day in and
day out'.we felt really safe'.and there's no way we would have taken a
GM: (These questions on our behavior) take the
focus away from the abductor, and that becomes quite frustrating for
us'.Those responsible for taking her are still at large.
question comes to mind for our well-to-do globetrotting celebrities
(both physicians who could have easily afforded a nanny or babysitting
there a change of seasons on your planet'
Give Gerry credit. He actually said those things with a straight
face. As far as Piers, he dropped the ball and let them off the
hook. Same old story.
Perhaps he could have followed up just a bit more on the
'dining-in-the-backyard is the same as being out at a restaurant,'
pointing out that Gerry couldn't see the room (it was blocked by a
six-foot wall) and was barely within earshot of the apartment even if an
adult had screamed, let alone a child crying in distress.
Piers, it appears, isn't ready for prime time.
the 'element of threat'' Why is it only kidnapping, in hindsight,
that Gerry sees as the threat' I've been to resorts in that area
of Portugal. Guess what' The floors are hard as rock, because in
many instances, they are. So the possibility never occurred to the
McCanns that an unsupervised Madeleine could playfully jump on the bed
--- and fall off' And if she did, how would checking on the
children every half-hour help if she broke an arm --- or skull'
What about little children getting into medicine and overdosing'
Or simply walking out the unlocked door and into a dangerous world ---
one very close to the ocean'
if there had been a fire, would Madeleine, with her whopping three years
of life on Earth, be expected to save herself and the twins'
Perhaps most interesting, were the McCanns' valuables locked in the
safe, as some state' If so, why --- if there was no 'element of
threat'' Smart doctors surely would not have left their children
alone in an unlocked room if there was even a remote threat of burglary.
risks to the McCann children are obvious to all who possess common
sense, and, one would presume, to two well-respected doctors. But
Gerry and Kate once again failed to admit what is apparent to most
people: negligence has consequences. So when Gerry expresses frustration
that focusing on the McCanns' behavior takes away from the search for
the abductor, he still doesn't get it.
and Kate need to admit that by looking in a mirror, they will instantly
see who is most 'responsible' for Madeleine's disappearance, since, by
definition, she wouldn't have gone missing or been 'kidnapped' had an
adult been present.
Then, and only then, will Gerry's and Kate's long road back to
credibility begin. And that is the best thing possible for little
Chris Freind, an accredited
member of the press, is an independent columnist, television
commentator, and investigative
reporter who operates his own
His extensive collection of columns questioning the McCanns for their
negligence can be found in his website's archives.
Readers of his column, 'Freindly Fire,' hail from six
continents, thirty countries
Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia
Magazine and nationally in
and all fifty states. His work
has been referenced in numerous publications including
The Wall Street Journal, National
Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick
recent bestseller "Catastrophe."
also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and
state/national/international television. He can be reached at