Talk about Newsnight

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Friday, 7 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Sep 07, 06:00 PM

Kate McCannSearch for Madeleine
A McCann family spokeswoman has said that the Portuguese police suspect the mother of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann is involved in her death. Justine McGuinness said officers suggested that traces of Madeleine's blood were in the McCanns' car, which was hired 25 days after she vanished. Kate McCann was formally named as a suspect in the case earlier today, while her husband Gerry has arrived at a police station for further questioning a few minutes ago.

We'll have the latest in the extraordinary twists and turns in the investigation. And we hope to be speaking to a McCann family member and a Portuguese journalist about the case.

Foot and Mouth
A report into the the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Surrey has found it was probably caused by leaking drains, heavy rain and vehicle movement at a laboratory in Pirbright. The Environment Secretary Hillary Benn said there was no excuse for the outbreak. We'll be interviewing him on the programme tonight.

Newsnight Review
Keira KnightleyAnd on Newsnight Review, Tom Paulin, John Harris and Julie Myerson join Kirsty to discuss Joe Wright's big screen adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.

Plus, Michael Ondaatje's new novel Divisadero, PJ Harvey's new album White Chalk and the Klaxons perform on the programme, fresh from stunning the music industry by winning the Mercury Award for their album Myths of the Near Future.

Read more about what's on Newnight Review and leave your comments below.

Comments  Post your comment


There is something very British about putting animal-virus handling facilities in the middle of livestock farms. (When Gordon next trumpets the attributes of Britishness, he might include this.) If we had any Elm-woods left, would we find a bark-beetle study-centre in the middle? Is there a “Salmonella Institute” situated in an unused hen house on the site of our largest egg producer? No doubt there is a tropical diseases
laboratory up-wind of some heart transplant recovery ward, where immune-system-suppressed patients lie waiting . . . One thing we can rely on under Hilary Benn: “lessons will be learned” – after the event.

  • 2.
  • At 07:59 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • csharp wrote:

oh dear the easy option.

the actual news is what happened in the markets today in non farm payrolls but hey if pointless gossip and rumour and speculation in portugal is what is believed to get people excited then who am i to argue with such high class lynch mob wisdom?

  • 3.
  • At 09:01 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • D Allan wrote:

RE my last I Lied. Watched Gavin's caper, close but miles away. Destroy gordon's ring Frodo.

I think the news should hold back on reporting claims as they change every hour and this is a fast moving legal case.
It may also turn out to be a political one based on national differences but lets wait and see.

  • 5.
  • At 11:14 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • Liam wrote:

What is most surprising about the tragic McCann tale is the obvious bias within sections of the UK media in covering the story. Whilst facts are relatively scarce, few if any Sky News journalists have asked the kind of questions that have been on the minds of many persons. It seems that they have traded impartiality for exclusive access to the McCann family.

Like their counterparts in Fox News, Sky TV journalists and anchors routinely add spin to this story, and there have been several stark examples of this today.

I wonder how different UK media coverage would be if the parents were unemployed, or tradespersons, and not doctors.

The BBC cannot be blamed for such bias however, so tonight's segment on Newsnight should be informative.

  • 6.
  • At 11:28 PM on 07 Sep 2007,
  • R Todd wrote:

Great to see Tom Paulin back on a Friday night. Hope we'll be seeing much more of him agan.

  • 7.
  • At 12:58 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Newsnight was pretty excellent all round tonight.

I enjoyed Hillary Benn dancing around his points (squirm, even?) under Emily's questioning, although I don't think that he was eventually made to answer the 'charges', but maybe that was the point.

I agree that the McCann case probably shouldn't be reported as widely and as furiously as it is, and should have been surplanted by the market news, but as it was covered it was handled in fair detail, and the studio discussion was very interesting.

It is a little disturbing, perhaps, how the 'frenzy' over this is similar in so many ways to past media-spotlit cases (the Soham murders, as mentioned, and things like OJ Simpson going further back), and watching from the sidelines only feels morbid due to speculating who is to blame. Perhaps it will turn out that the guilty party is never found, and the media will not have helped for their part in it.

I enjoyed the contributions from the panel & Kirsty, but I do think that it was obviously lacking a musically orientated contributor, and somebody like Kermode to talk about Atonement with more specificity - as some points raised about both PJ Harvey's album and the film were quite in depth, but the three literary figures could not quite do them justice, I think.

More Tom, please!

  • 8.
  • At 12:59 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • John B wrote:

So sad to see Tom Paulin back on the show again. Really spoils the show and whatever he reviews. When does he get his lobotomy?

  • 9.
  • At 01:06 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

So, both Kate and Gerry McCann have now been named as suspects in the case, whereas thier friends and family insist this is ludicrous and anyone who knows them knows they aren't capable of harming their children.

However, we don't know them, so these protestations aren't particularly useful to us in our own efforts to try to establish what happened.

What would be much more helpful is some specific facts. For example, tonight Newsnight stated that it was Kate McCann who went to check the children and discovered Madeleine had gone. So, how long was it from the time she left the dinner table to the time she came back to announce that news? Would she have had time to commit the crime and somehow remove Madeleine from the scene? And who performed earlier checks on the children? Was it always Kate who went to check, or did Gerry and Kate take turns, and how long were they away?

I don't fully understand the forensic evidence of the blood in the car hired twenty-plus days after Madeleine's disappearance. How do the forensic scientists know it's Madeleine's blood (since they don't have Madeleine herself to enable a direct comparison)? Is it because there's a connection with Gerry and Kate's DNA?

However, if we accept the blood in the car is Madeleine's, then, if you also accept the McCann's story that their daughter must have been abducted, it doesn't make sense that Madeleine's blood could be in a car they didn't hire until weeks after she had been taken, and we end up with far-fetched stories that someone must have planted it there to frame them, etc, etc. An abduction/kidnapping becomes a frame-up. The much more straightforward interpretation of this piece of evidence is that the McCanns (or at least one of them) still had access to Madeleine after that car was hired, which means the story they've been telling us must be false.

If that blood in the car really is Madeleine's, then, it seems to me, it doesn't look good for the McCanns and it shouldn't be a surprise that the police have named them as suspects.

  • 10.
  • At 01:27 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

Disappointed that even Newsnight's coverage still seems to be heavily dependent on the McCann family version of events. There has been partiality and xenophobia in this story from day one, which, whatever the outcome, puts the British media to shame. At least the journalist interviewed was given some chance to redress the balance.

  • 11.
  • At 02:29 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Harry K wrote:

BBC, I have been very critical of Review in the past, but thanks a bunch for listening to the viewers and dropping the fourth panellist and getting Tom back on. I don't care how many twists he gives away - he is by far the best critic.

I still think it would be better if you reviewed one less item because I noticed Kirsty kept having to cut the discussion short due to time constraints. Oh and Polly Harvey deserved better analysis than that.

Anyway, good show nonetheless!

  • 12.
  • At 02:56 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Harry K wrote:

BBC, I have been very critical of Review in the past, but thanks a bunch for listening to the viewers and dropping the fourth panellist and getting Tom back on. I don't care how many twists he gives away - he is by far the best critic.

I still think it would be better if you reviewed one less item because I noticed Kirsty kept having to cut the discussion short due to time constraints. Oh and Polly Harvey deserved better analysis than that.

Anyway, good show nonetheless!

  • 13.
  • At 03:12 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Harry K wrote:

BBC, I have been very critical of Review in the past, but thanks a bunch for listening to the viewers and dropping the fourth panellist and getting Tom back on. I don't care how many twists he gives away - he is by far the best critic.

I still think it would be better if you reviewed one less item because I noticed Kirsty kept having to cut the discussion short due to time constraints. Oh and Polly Harvey deserved better analysis than that.

Anyway, good show nonetheless!

  • 14.
  • At 09:28 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • june wrote:

great to see Tom Paulin back, he's really been missed, and much better with 3 reviewers.

  • 15.
  • At 10:35 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Chris P wrote:

Barrie singleton - What a ridculous argument, so where do you propose such facilities are located - in the middle of a city far away from livestock, where humans would then be at risk of contamination!? Of course such facilities should be placed as far away from human population as possible - ie the country ie where there is farming!

Newsnight - What is the BBC's obession with the McCann case?? I am sick to death of hearing that damn name! I am sure the majority are, just how much hype and how much can the media continue to drag this on? I agree, there has been new information and yes it should be reported, but to devote half of newsnight on it - is well over the top and verging on ridiculous.

  • 16.
  • At 10:48 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Sean Robinson wrote:

Referring to the police questioning of the McCann couple, Emily Maitlis opened Newnight last night with the line "No-one could have foreseen the extraordinary turn of events...". What a load of rubbush. When a child is missing is it not inevitable the parents will be questioned as suspects? Given that the facts of the case have not been made public, it is equally possible that the only extraordinary phenomenon is that the media circus created by the McCanns has manipulated the common sense of news editors. Please, please let the police do their job and stop filling your news slots with such pointless mumbo-jumbo. I'd understand if this was a tabloid program, such as your 'ITN-style' News-at-Ten, but there is no need to patronise the Newsnight viewers.

  • 17.
  • At 11:39 AM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • pippop wrote:

Atonement: the book was wonderful, made me cry. Lets hope the film doesn't make a mess of it, already I'm hearing things, angles and aspects, that I did NOT read happening in the book.

The McCann's: I'm sick of the spin and the speculation. Lets have this case sorted out quietly by the police. When you, the media, know the answer tell me, in the meantime, shut up, it's getting to be a menace, GBH of the credibility gap.

Viruses: the Hillary Benn virus known to have mutated from the Tony Benn virus should be wiped out. It is the cause of extreme ennui.

  • 18.
  • At 04:09 PM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

Newsnight review was a joy this week. The panel members were excited to be talking together. The whole was more than the sum of the parts.

In recent weeks I had thought that review had lost its way. Often shows saw no more than a group of individuals speaking pre-written pieces and then defending these pre-formed ideas. Even when the panellists wrote excellent monologues, the approach seemed to mistake what the programme was about.

Last night, for the first time in a while, the panellists were learning more about their subject in the process of the discussion. As a result, the audience and I learnt more too.

So I hope you keep the smaller panel of three. I also hope that the same people will come back often so they gain the understanding of the format that Tom Paulin possesses. My “readers choice” pool of panellists would also include Natalie Haynes, Bidisha, Mark Kermode, Ian McMillan and Alex James.

  • 19.
  • At 06:09 PM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • cath wrote:

The Portuguese police seem to be desperate to close the case any way they can. Is it even vaguely plausible that Mrs McCann: killed her child - conceived by IVF and therefore necessarily precious - with sedatives; sat through a dinner just after the killing, with close friends who noticed nothing strange in her manner; concealed a dead body in a foreign country where she knew no-one, for almost a month; disposed of the body, getting blood in the car although the death was caused by sedatives - not known to cause bleeding. It's absolutely pre-post-erous and the PJ should be deeply ashamed of themselves for scapegoating the parents. The police work has been incompetent from the outset.

  • 20.
  • At 08:18 PM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • csharp wrote:

Newsnight or Gossipnight? 17 minutes of tosh and media trial by the yaparrazzi.

Newsnight Review

In my experience the more tedious the song the more eccentric the camera work.

  • 21.
  • At 08:12 PM on 09 Sep 2007,
  • rob wrote:

i too agree that newsnight review is better with 3 panellists. it would also be better with 1 less itme reviewed because as harry k said, the presenter keeps having to cut the discussion short

  • 22.
  • At 09:22 AM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • wappaho wrote:

I love Barrie's posts - common sense is not a useful attribute in multibonkers britain. anything to do with agricultural policy is steeped in vested interests.

post no. 11 stranded in babylon - the whole point is that we DO KNOW kate and gerry, we know every intimate detail of their belief systems and our support for them is based on pure logic.

the portuguese are thinking 'typical arrogant english, can't look after their children and then expect everyone else to go looking for them'- the police have seized on a small piece of evidence that allows them to use the aguido status to show the maccanns that they are not welcome and to silence them. the aguido status does not require hard evidence otherwise robert murat would not be aguido either.

nobody who is from the same culture as kate and gerry will ever fall for the 'no smoke without fire' smear campaign but it is scary to see how easily labelling can create false beliefs.

those of use from the same cultural background understand the principle that it should be possible to leave a child in private property for half an hour without someone breaking in and stealing him/her.

those who play the class card - you are right, kate and gerry have got thus far because of the connections their status enables and their sheer ability (education, confidence, status, natural aptitude) to organise and remain calm and rational and to assert themselves. however a black single mother could appeal to e.g. trevor philips or shakrabatty and use the race card as a lever but in any case why cut off our noses...why not say yeah, this is achieved because of privilege but this is what we eventually want for everyone, this is an ideal to work towards.

but alas, kate and gerry have discovered that they are not actually sufficiently high status to beat the institutions. if this was a major poltician's child we would hear very little but behind the scenes every diplomatic and instituional stop would be pulled out to find the child.

as it it is kate and gerry are paying the price for taking on 'society'

i admire them wholly, kate is as archetypal as diana, her beauty, morality and inner strength shake the very foundations of patriarchy.

  • 23.
  • At 10:47 AM on 13 Sep 2007,
  • sphyg wrote:

I just wanted to say I was disappointed at the revealing of a major twist in the plot of Atonement, which might significantly affect enjoyment of the film.

  • 24.
  • At 11:48 AM on 13 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Lyndon wrote:

It's time to meet the Muppets.
The appalling Paulin is back.

  • 25.
  • At 07:54 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • colin cowell wrote:

It was refreshing to hear the calm comments of Ian Hislop on last nights review. This made a pleasant contrast to the usual manic deliveries from a typical review group who talk over each other in a bid to boost their individual egos. I miss Tom Paulin in spite of his left wing bias. Germain Greer makes a worthwhile contribution if one overlooks her tendency to ride her particular hobby-horse of the moment. I am afraid that Kirsty Wark is not a suitable chairperson. Why she was placed in this position is difficult to understand.

  • 26.
  • At 04:10 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • jayne wrote:

on combing through up and comming films i felt compled to view my concerns on a film called 'gone baby gone'
which is based on a book by Dennis Lehane, it bares an uncanny resemblence to the Madeline Mccann story
it is about a missing girl, who's mother leaves her unatended at home.
the young actress whom plays the missing girl bares an uncanny resemblence to madeline.
the actresses real name is madeline
there is a link below which will take you to the picture of the actress.

i find this quite disturbing
but also hope the two is not linked
as some times in this crule world
this is not the first time this has happened and hope that madeline is found safe and back to her family

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