Friday, 22 April 2016


‘Good morning everybody, I just flew in yesterday so if I sound a little spaced out at times I do apologize. ...I’m going to try and cover 9 years of  communications activity into about  20 - 25 minutes…’

Yesterday, you could at least have changed your shirt by now. All about presentation.  It’s also going to be more like 45 minutes. As for sounding spaced out, that’s fine, we’re used to it.

‘Why did the story catch fire?  Essentially it was an exceptional story in the exceptional multi-platform environment that we now all operate and work in on a daily basis. In effect Madeleine has in fact become the first missing child case to really take on the capacity and power of the internet and of the 24/7  news cycle that we’re all operating in. ... other case ... but Madeleine not only through her own family’s efforts in the first place became the situation that was able to utilise and capitalise that power that we all have sitting in front of us on the laptop, the PC or on our smartphone.
Why did we get the likes of Beckham coming  in to support us very early …’
Madeleine  is here associated with ‘the situation’ and this made it possible to utilize and capitalize the power of the internet. It sounds more like a commodity.
As for Beckham, he was co-opted before the 11th May, when he made his appeal. On the very day that Gerry spent an appreciable time at Portimaṍ police station giving his second statement. As Clarence Mitchell wasn’t on the job until the 23rd of May, he wasn’t involved in the Beckham connection.
‘ .. there is no evidence to suggest she has come to physical harm, mental situation is a different matter..’
That is a most peculiar statement. Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, as Madeleine was reported by her parents as having been abducted by paedophiles, the likelihood of her being harmed is pretty well 100%.  Mental situation would be no better in my opinion.
 ‘They could have had, if they’d been able to have a professional nanny service which wasn’t available at the time –‘
Now get this right. There was no listening service, which they knew. But there WAS a professional nanny  evening service and it was free. A lot of guests used it. It was there, really. Every evening. Free.
‘…nevertheless there were situations where information that was only in the official law enforcement domain began to emerge. Tal Y Qual is - was -  a free newspaper which was one of the first to make allegations against the parents about their alleged involvement.  
But what he is saying here is that information from the PJ  was leaked. NOT that it was inaccurate information. Tal Y Qual was the first newspaper the McCanns wanted to sue. However, it was  stony broke and  ceased trading not long after those headlines.
‘We had the Portuguese .... differences why on earth would these crazy Brits want to put their children to bed at 7.30 at night, they should be out with us at the table having wine till midnight. That’s just how it is, and a group of doctors and friends wanted to put their children to bed and they tried to eat off the site where it happened, the Holiday Inn, for some evenings early on in the holiday - the children were fractious so they decided to eat on site close to campus that was one of reasons why they were eating in the Tapas bar the night it happened and then they were mounting this checking system as I say. ‘
I have to help you here. There is no Holiday Inn in PdL. There was the Ocean Club. This little story doesn’t go well with the reason given in ‘madeleine’ – that the walk to the Millenium (part of the OC) restaurant, was long and dangerous. Ten minutes or so along a very busy road. According to Kate, the children were fine and so was Madeleine.
‘ can be issued a parking ticket and be an arguido - it just means you’re a person of interest in the police enquiry. But that very word arguido developed its own narrative around it and confirmed the prejudices of many [..} of course we have forum debate a multiplier of the wonderful world of the blogosphere, we all blog and I’m sure we’re looking at many, many bloggers here today, absolutely fine, blogging is in fact a fantastic innovation but in the wrong hands, with people who have a set of preconceived notions and prejudices it can be just as destructive as sitting in a mainstream newspaper, so we had to deal with that, the constant monitoring of that. There are still two or three anti McCann forums in existence this day but who still rail against the situation, they are all wrong I might add. ‘
Why exactly do you have to deal with blogs and forums if they give their opinion? Why the constant monitoring?  Most blogs don’t have anything like the readership of a mainstream newspaper, so you’d only need to monitor the ones that do have a larger readership than say The Sun.  I don’t know of  a single blog which does have millions of readers.

‘ And of course, at heart this was a coms campaign - it didn’t feel like it but it felt like daily fire-fighting and essentially I had to sit down with Kate and Gerry and say right, we’ve got to define our central theme here, we’ve got to define our com messages, our key messages, you will need to stick with them in the interviews that you’re doing, I will stick to them in the public communications I’m performing …’
So why did you and the Drs. McCann have to define ‘a central  theme’, define your key message, surely when you’ve lost your child it’s quite simple? We want her back and will do anything, anything at all would be good start. As for choosing the word ‘performing’  - interesting.
Jon Corner, godparent of Madeleine, in Liverpool he was already pumping out HD video material of M from previous birthday parties and events, even before the Portuguese authorities had confirmed that she was missing. There was so much material on Madeleine coming into the BBC newsroom, into the hub that brings in all the social media the user generated content as they like to call it, that the BBC actually had to tell the family to stop sending us the stuff - who is this girl, we don’t even know her and it was only later that morning that finally, grudgingly, confirmation came from Portugal that yes the police were looking at this and a British child had gone missing. So again it was the harnessing of the capacity we all have with access to the internet and the ability to download that became a very quick early factor in why the press established traction so quickly.
This is very interesting. Why should the BBC refuse material that came into the newsroom, because it is clear from the above that all this happened before the BBC sent out a news bulletin on the morning of the 4th of May. Yet Jon Corner had been ‘pumping out’ videos and photos. Now what is the point of that?  A few recent photographs would have done the trick. None of the family or friends have ever mentioned in their statements that the first thing they did was to send whatever they had on Madeleine to the BBC.
Adding that the PJ only confirmed ‘grudgingly’ seems to be part of the standard vilification of all things Portuguese which permeates this speech like raisins in a Dundee cake.
‘…and there were lots of thick (either Clarence has developed a lisp or he meant ‘sick’ ) pieces being written in London, errm which was also extra pressure because these would appear and suddenly news reporters would follow them up and then I would get demands for access to Kate and Gerry which had to be very carefully controlled as I say  at all times ...’
Yes, we can imagine.
‘….and the anniversary campaigns every year of course the media as we well know, runs on rails, doesn’t feel like it at times, but it does if there’s an anniversary in the diary in the forward planning diary thats the story again, it’s two years, three years, next years ten years if we get that far, so each time, rather than a problem for us it was an opportunity  to capitalise on it by creating something new something that would keep the story alive, but again, on investigative terms from our side, not just the soap opera aspect. ‘
That would be the unlikely or in some cases resurrected sightings of choice as some which are mentioned in the previous post?  We’ll get back to those anniversaries later.
‘…was they were just given this arguido status, which in reality meant that  if they wanted to they could have a lawyer present when the interviews were being done. Kate was at one point advised, having done four interviews, where all the questions were answered,  was advised finally, the fifth time, with this status not to answer anymore because you’ve answered it several times already and you don’t need to incriminate yourself, when it became clear that certain officers were beginning to go down that route without any evidence. But errrm so to this day it is held against her online, why didn’t she answer all these questions at that interview, they never realised that she’d already answered them four times in previous interviews without a lawyer present.’
Kate McCann: three not four statements. Mr. Mitchell. Namely: 4/5/2007, 6/9/2007 and the one where she didn’t answer the questions: 7/9/2007. The Arguida interview.  It is most likely that she was advised not to answer any questions for the simple reason that if only Gerry answered his questions, there would be no conflicting statements made, which is quite important. But to take a number of questions from the arguida interview, these had never been asked before, so Kate McCann could never have answered them.  She did - we have her own account of this - spend the duration of the interview muttering 'f...........g   t..........r' .
When asked whom she phoned after the facts, she did not reply. When asked if she phoned “Sky News”, she did not reply. When asked about the danger of phoning the media, alerting them about the abduction, which could have an effect on the abductor, she did not reply.
When asked if it is true that her twin children have difficulty in falling asleep, that they are restless and that it upsets her, she did not reply.

When asked whether or not it is true that sometimes she felt desperate over her children’s behaviour and that it upset her very much, she did not reply.

When asked whether or not it is true that in England she considered the possibility of handing over Madeleine’s guardianship to a relative, she did not reply.
‘…Kate and Gerry didn’t want to sit on their hands in Portugal they felt that while the work we were doing in terms of the public coms was helpful in terms of trying to maintain a track on the story, they wanted to do more. They felt that they should go on a little tour of Europe so they went round all the places that either .... or associated with them from their medical training days, funnily enough, they did some medical training in New Zealand, before Madeleine was born so they didn’t come this far, but we went to Brussels, we went to Berlin, we went to , went to Rabat in Morocco and of course we went to Rome and they began to campaign for the introduction of a child rescue alert, campaign of the European Parliament and we actually got a parliamentary vote supporting that in the first year, which was great and it helped to keep again, was one of the creations they wanted to genuinely achieve but it helped us develop the story. We sought the Prime Minister’s support when David Cameron was leader of the opposition and we met him since and we also met three home secretaries to urge them to help unlock some of the delays that were happening in Portugal. We wanted a full review of the work that has been done in Portugal, it’s been done by the British police and ultimately we got the Sun on board and News International was a campaign partner for that and finally with an open letter on the front page we managed to get the review .
Getting that review wasn’t easy. But thanks to Rebekah Brooks, who isn’t mentioned in dispatches here, they got it. As PR goes, this is nicely phrased to give the impression they met the PM privately. I think that is highly unlikely. Kate McCann was once at 10 Downing Street for a charity function at which a number of other people had been invited. Three home secretaries might include the one who told them that they could offer them a meeting on a consular level, which, as Clarence Mitchell tells us (Vanity Fair interview, publ. February 2008)they refused. It was The Sun and Rebekah who managed to get the review.  (see Leveson post)
‘…got four front page apologies ..Sunday and Daily Express and the Star on Sunday and the Daily Star. The only people who’ve ever had front page simultaneous apologies are the Queen and Elton John  errrm so we’re in illustrious company  […]  As a result, Mr. Desmond and his lawyers were relieved of nearly a million pounds between them for Kate and Gerry and their friends who were variously libelled in various stories and we also had a settlement out of court with the News of the World of their publication of Kate’s diary..’
Unfortunate name dropping here – just before the infamous injunction was all over the internet.
‘And we have monitoring continuously online of the various fora and fauna, flora rather, online, some of which is none too pleasant. Errm very briefly, I talk through this, we have at the height of it 400 interview bids on the table at one time, nothing like that now of course but that is a sense of the scale of it. The initial anniversaries required substantial roll-out across all platforms, as I said it’s a multi-platform environment we’re operating on, this is not a simple case of just talking to one or two papers, we had to craft interview opportunities..’
From questions:  47.11 : I’ve had to constantly try and craft something out of nothing at times.’  Especially  for the anniversaries it seems.
 ‘….we have a team of online supporters who help us with the monitoring as well, a number of women who are very concerned about Madeleine in America actually help us with the monitoring..’
‘We have legal action continuing against a particular former Portuguese police officer, errm Mr. Amaral, who wrote a very unpleasant book, alleging in essence that Kate and Gerry know what happened, that they’ve covered up the truth since then, it’s just not true, it’s fundamentally untrue and therefore .... defamatory[…]  there is a certain amount of attendant media around that that needs to be controlled and managed and finally .... next year will be ten years, doesn’t feel like it, but I’m already getting bids, I had CBS and NBC only last week saying can we do a tenth anniversary interview with Kate and Gerry, which rather pre-supposes we won’t still we won’t still know what happened in a year’s time. So one it’s slightly offensive in its own right..’
The underlined passage may refer to the last line of Mr. Mitchell’s powerpoint presentation in Dubai (Clarence Clarified)  Retained agency in Portugal to enhance engagement with opinion formers and PT commentariat.’ Appears not to have worked so well then.
As for planning anniversaries a long time ahead, Gerry McCann was quoted:
It will be some sort of focus around an anniversary, to tell people that Madeleine ’s still missing. I think it would be later this year, once media attention has dropped, to bring it back up, hopefully, for a short period.
It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary, it will be sooner than that. Unquote (see Press at work post) . So it’s offensive when it’s a ten year anniversary but not at all when she’s just been missing for a month and the first anniversaries are already planned. As for the press losing interest – Bell Pottinger would know all about that. But the phrase I really don’t understand is ‘for a short period’. 


  1. Wow blow me down with a bloody feather.

  2. Very well put tigger.

    "the standard vilification of all things Portuguese which permeates this speech like raisins in a Dundee cake"

    For example insinuating that the couple were heroes for leaving their children alone in contrast to the Portuguese whose family dinner involves making the kids stay up and drink until midnight?

    Or working with the indigenous Portuguese press who thought a pool was something they should swim in?

    It's clear to understand why Mitchell's campaigns and Political/PR career haven't exactly been a roaring success.

  3. Yes, he constructs the phrase 'drinking wine till midnight' as if it's the children who are drinking all night.
    Here and there in the speech (I didn't publish all of it, too long and too rambling)he mentions the indigenous population - calling up images of loin cloths and feathers rather than the generally well-educated Portuguese.

  4. The Mumbrella site appears to be an open platform for PR/Marketing/Communications/Accountancy and a number of other disciplines. What struck me about the video is:
    a) there do not appear to be a lot of people in the auditorium
    b) the stage is quite small, so it probably isn't a large hall
    c) people were nearly all wearing their coats
    d) when questions were asked - only a few rows of the audience were in front of the camera.
    In all, it seems a very low-key event with imo no more and probably less than a hundred people in the audience.
    It seems that Clarence Mitchell flew in especially for the lecture. In view of the numbers in the audience, the cost of the flight and hotel, the rental of the venue, it would hardly have paid for itself. That's not taking into account any payments made to the organisers and the person lecturing.
    I stand to be corrected, those are my observations only.

  5. If today's Star report is correct and the McCanns have pulled out of anniversary interviews it's a good indication of the parting of the ways between them and Mitchell who has been surprisingly quiet on that front lately, perhaps busy drumming up other business. Has the great media machine finally run out of money, surely TM should be able to deflect a few awkward interview questions as they've done many times in the past. It seems they've only been able to manage a few supportive articles in the Sun and even there readers heavily expressed opposing views. Is this the beginning of the end for the media machine?

  6. I only entered the door to the Mcann rabbit hole a week or so ago, and the hole seems to be infinite in depth. The more I read, the more questions arise, and, as an empath, I am getting a distinct uneasy and sinister feeling regarding Madeleine's disappearance. Previous to this last week or so, I was oblivious to the obvious implications of parental involvement. The whole mystery is both complex unnerving. I am not going to even begin to suggest what I think occured here, but I do strongly feel that the Mcanns are withholding information that is vital to the case. 😞

  7. is an excellent site to read and I would recommend Dr Roberts' commentaries on the case which can be found on that site. There are other sites and forums which have excellent information and discussions, but after nine years it can be very confusing to start there. has a section for those new to the case in the 'Home' section and there is an excellent free pdf book by MichaelMclean to be found there too.
    The recent book reviewed here is also a good introduction to the case.