A "sickening stunt"?
The Sun called it a "sickening stunt", but on Matthew Bannister's phone-in today on Five Live (listen here), most of our listeners thought the German journalist who asked Madeleine McCann's parents if they had anything to do with her abduction was right to do so.
In fact, many of them wished the BBC would be more probing. "Statistically, child abductions and murders are nearly always done by the family. Therefore it is fair and valid to ask questions of the McCanns," said one man.
Hostility towards the family is not new and our audience has been largely critical of Madeleine's parents decision to leave her alone in the first place. Now it's their use of the media that is getting to people and I think a desire to fill in the gaps that have been left by the failure of the investigation to date.
Journalists too are under pressure to fill in the gaps, but I think it would be wrong of the BBC to turn detective and put the McCann's under suspicion when the police are not. Better to not cover the story at all for a while.