Thursday, 14 April 2016


'You're too blooming soft' my dead old dad used to say me, and he was right, where a psychopath lacks empathy, I have got way too much of it, to the point where it becomes debilitating.  I mention this because I found myself in the very strange  position of feeling sorry for Clarence Mitchell.  Curiosity got the better of me, and I watched his keynote speech at the CommsCon 2016 in  Australia. 

The pity however quickly turned to incredulity when I read the bullet points of his presentation.  The arrogance of the man is outstanding, herewith a brief selection:

Blogging in the wrong hands -  WTF!!! 
Keeping the British Press in line -  WTF, twice over
Be straight with the media - I kid you not, and the icing on the cake!

Such is life, those large porkies aren't doing him any favours.  Gerry and Kate are not the only ones who looked stressed and haggard, time has not been kind to Mr. Mitchell, he looks burned out.  He too is trapped in the Madeleine cage, he can't escape it, it's the highlight of his career and nothing  he is likely to top.  He could of course write a memoir, but if he sticks to the same party line as Summers and Swan, it will be equally as dismal. 

His talk was basically a lecture in marketing, the audience appeared to be students.  Using the high profile Madeleine case, Clarence explained the way he handled the press and kept the disappearance of Madeleine in the public eye.  He was selling it as a marketing success story, and if you give it just a cursory glance it is.  Heck Clarence, 9 years and there is still public interest, not much to be fair, and some of it of the most peculiar kind, but interest nevertheless.

'This is what I did' said Clarence, as he relayed his glittering career without so much as a hint of enthusiasm or pride in what he had achieved.  I have attended many seminars and lectures, and the ones who made an impact were the ones who were able to convey their own love of their subject to their audience.  I wasn't feeling the love. 

He wasn't telling his audience the truth, his most helpful 'insider' tip, was to be completely honest with the press!  If the audience were media students, they must have been deeply disappointed and if they were potential clients, the brochure probably went straight in the bin. 

As careful as Mr. Mitchell was in sticking to the script, he did give away a few interesting snippets, especially with the Q&A session at the end.  So he stayed in the idyllic, holiday location of PDL (all expenses paid by taxpayer presumably) for TWO MONTHS with the grieving parents.  What a dream assignment, no wonder he was seeking a permanent position.  I wonder if, at any stage, Warners and all their staff thought the McCann entourage were taking the piss?  And why no mention of their holiday companion in Gerry's blog and Kate's book?

I don't know how well Mr. Mitchell is going down in Australia, but I hope the audience went away and did their research.  From a media perspective there was not much to learn other than 'lucky you', but nothing that would assist journalists in their future careers.  The information was lost in Mr. Mitchell's constant defence of Gerry and Kate.  Whilst wanting to brag about use of Philip Green's private jet, he had to portray humility on the part of the parents, their reluctance to accept all the special treatment they were receiving, but I'm not sure he pulled it off. 

Those who listened carefully, will have noticed the glaring contradiction between his claimed 300 calls from journalists a day, and his constant need to find new stories to keep their attention.  I'm not so sure it was the journalists contacting them, or Mr. Mitchell and the very proactive families sending out the offers to the media.  As the interviewer said to Gerry at the Edinburgh Media Conference 'what are you doing here?'. 

I did wonder if Mr. Mitchell's presentation would form the basis of his own defence.  Perhaps he would claim to be a vulnerable 'at risk' spin doctor, but he seems to be as firmly within the McCann camp as he ever was.  His loyalty surprised me, who would have thought.  Clarence is still focused on the job in hand, raising money for the Madeleine Fund and promoting the 'search'. 

Unfortunately, like it or not, Clarence is inextricably linked to the parents of Madeleine McCann forever more.  When he went into the employment of Gerry and Kate, he stopped being an independent spokesman and became part of the story.  A strange thing for a journalist to do, and I would have liked a question from the audience along the lines 'so in retrospect Mr. Mitchell, how did that work out?'. 

I would imagine the situation Mr. Mitchell found himself in, was unique in the world of journalism.  Realistically, how many victims of tragedy want or need a PR man at their side 24/7?  Traumatised people usually shun publicity and society, the process of grieving is very private and intimate, which of course, is the reason the McCanns' behaviour raised so much suspicion. 

I had never heard of crisis management until the Madeleine story.  To me it is a fairly new  phenomenon and one that puzzles me.  Whilst I can see the need for large corporations and politicians to guard their reputations, in this age of information there is no way of guaranteeing results.  In the past sensitive information could be contained by appealing directly to the editors of the National newspapers.  Those days are gone, as we saw this week - even super injunctions are meaningless.  

The battles are now fought on social media and on an equal playing field.  Twitter especially, is a great leveller.  There is no class structure and there is no voice of authority, everyone is valid and there is no way to control what they say.  There is something a little King Canute about claiming to be able to manage someone's reputation online, and I am not sure Clarence can claim the McCann case as a success.  Whilst he was able to shut down the popular comment section of the Daily Mirror, his actions led to the opening of hundreds of forums, websites and blogs.  Thousands of people were not buying the abduction story and were turning to the net for the truth. 

He refers to the McCann media monitoring team as successful?  I suppose in the early days they were.  They patrolled the forums in packs disrupting debate and viciously attacking anyone who questioned the official story.  Then as now they didn't even attempt to explain the parents' actions, they created the 'hater' myth, the idea that  if someone didn't believe the McCanns, there must be something wrong with them.

Step forward Tony Bennett.  The interfering Mr. Bennett was the just the kind of cartoon baddie Team McCann needed to illustrate the harassment and persecution they were suffering.  The Madeleine Foundation was clearly intended to divert funds away from The Madeleine Fund and the leafleting of the parents' neighbours was just cruel for cruelty's sake.  Mr. Bennett's actions provided the parents with the evidence of harassment they needed in their civil claim against Goncalo Amaral.   In fact, Mr. Bennett's campaign has fed the parents' campaign, they are symbiotic.   

And Mr. Bennett feeds the myth still.  Clarence Mitchell cited the failed solicitor and destroyer of forums as representative of a handful of malcontents who still refuse to believe Madeleine was abducted.  He fails of course to mention the large facebook groups, the informative McCann Files and the popular blogs. He needs Mr. Bennett as the face of the enemy, someone less likeable than the parents and someone who comes across as completely barmy.  Mr. Bennett of course, is always happy to oblige.  As the McCanns are planning the publicity for the anniversary, so too Tony is planning a trip to Downing Street.  Let's hope if the newspapers respond, they will mention how few signatures Mr. Bennett's meddlesome petition received. 


  1. Good blog cristobell. Mr Mitchell's continual defence of Gerry and Kate is the only way he can go now. He thought that this case was going to make his career and unlike the rich and powerful who jumped on the Gerry and Kate bandwagon and then promptly went Back to their lucrative live he has no such luxury. Like the hateful gamble for a while both thought they had joined the world of the rich and famous for a while and both have now found themselves trying to further a career on the back of a dead child. Can one get much lower. Mitchell tried it in politics and even though he had allowed himself to be the face of a political farce he was only allowed to stand in a place where he hadn't a hope in hells chance. Gambles the same he travels the country scaring the life out of parents that their child is in constant danger from strangers on the net

  2. Yes, I think a few have moved from the Madeleine business to the crisis management business. Perhaps they thought it was a phenomenon that would take off - that those hit by tragedy would immediately seek the kind of services provided to Kate and Gerry. I don't think that has happened - there was no flurry of child abductions, and the tragedies we have seen since have arisen out of circumstances at home. That is, they had nothing to do with the internet or child exploitation. And in addition of course, most parents struck by tragedy would tell circling publicity vultures to feck off.

    I oppose Jim Gamble's scare tactics on every level. Parents do not need to live in fear. They must teach their children to protect themselves online, just as they must teach them how to protect themselves in the real world. It is not necessary to have a big brother in the for of Jim Gamble to watch over them.

    I can't see any way in which Clarence Mitchell and Jim Gamble can detach themselves from the McCanns. Neither still have the security of government jobs, they must compete in the free market, like anyone else. If the McCanns are accused (again), they will both find it difficult to say they did not know what was going on. Jim Gamble was a senior police officer! Clarence stayed in the Algarve with them for TWO MONTHS!

  3. wonder if he is wanting to bring out an application form to be allowed to be blogger uk from australia or something se

  4. As this blog mentions bennett the blonk let us explore his latest research -

    "I believe this to be a reference to the GoFundMe project for Goncalo Amaral started by Leanne Baulch along with Ben Thomson.

    IF IT IS, it would chime with other information which I received many weeks ago in relation to Leanne Baulch.

    Again, IF IT IS, I hope that all those involved have a solid audit trail for all the money donated.

    If Leanne Baulch ever looks in here these days, maybe she could reassure us on these points.

    If it's nothing to do with the GoFundMe project, well, no matter then"


    followed by

    Dear Leanne Baulch


    The GoFundMe project to raise donations for Goncalo Amaral, so that he could have sufficient funds to cover obtaining legal advice and assistance for his appeal to the Court of Appeal, was an excellent and successful project.

    The news from the PJGA project in October last year, reported here on CMOMM, that your fund had reached the target of enabling him to obtain the necessary funds to hire a lawyer was a credit to you and you fully deserved the praise you received for your efforts. As you know, I also made a donation via GoFundMe.

    On Tuesday this week I saw references on Twitter by someone called Ashley Miller to a professed ‘anti-McCann’ who had apparently been dishonest on money matters with her. I made the very bad mistake of referring to claims reported to me (which I cannot substantiate) about the operation of the GoFundProject and linking your name to Ms Miller’s allegations.

    It was entirely wrong of me to do so and I publicly offer my sincere apologies to you for my post which I will now go and remove.

    During the GoFundMe project, I did have some specific queries about the operation of the fund and wrote to you about them. I did not receive a reply. However, I have no basis for thinking that there was anything untoward about the operation of the fund and once again I would like to offer my personal congratulations and thanks to you for organising a highly successful project.

    Tony Bennett


    head researcher????

  5. Utterly bizarre that the founder of the highly suspicious Madeleine Foundation should be accusing anyone of financial impropriety.

    I've seen these rumours around the web over the past few days, but haven't taken too much notice. Those who support Kate and Gerry were mad as hell at how popular Goncalo Amaral is and the amazing success of GoFundMe. They have been trying for quite some time to smear Goncalo's fund and those working on his behalf. All the hate they have spewed at Goncalo for all these years has had no effect - he is far more popular and likeable than the parents. He has already beaten them in the public's eyes, and indeed in the eyes of the British police as the generous donation from the Met rammed home.

    I tend to think the allegations are mischief making on the part of the pro's - they have very little, if anything, to fight with these days, so they are giving the bottom of the barrel a darn good scrape.

    I'm not surprised Bennett jumped in feet first, he usually does, he loves nothing better than feeling superior to others. Nevertheless, I am glad that he has apologised to Leanne.

    I would imagine if there is any financial impropriety on the part of the anti's, the best place to start digging would be Bennett's Madeleine Foundation and Bennett's legal fees, and those who collected donations and subscriptions for it.

  6. @ Rosalinda, Cristobell Hutton16 April 2016 at 22:44

    God you are guaranteed to write some rubbish at times - well done - your reply to my post was exactly the rubbish that I expecting.

    Nothing new, nothing original from Ros here,

    1. You wanted me to enter the fray and start slinging allegations 00:14, I can see why you are disappointed.

      The fact is, anyone who comments negatively about the McCann case will come under attack. Firstly, because they don't believe the parents, then secondly, because they don't believe the right theorist.

      I have to say, that as I have watched all the fallings out over the years, I thank all the Gods there may be that I am not a team player and have never wanted to join any of their gangs.

      I am sorry to see HideHo accused and hope she can ride the storm. The 'pros' will of course tear her to shreds, I hope the antis don't join in too, but they haven't exactly got a good track record on that score.

      Liz I hope is wise enough in the ways of social media, to know how to handle this situation. That is, don't allow others to blow things out of proportion, and they will try. At the moment it doesn't look as though the pros are going to go with it. They have bigger and more urgent problems to cope with, and after the debacle of their last anti troll campaign that ended in tragedy. The McCanns have overplayed their hand with the troll complaints, and they would be hard pushed to find another media outlet willing to make an example of another 'troll' for Gerry. Trolls are no longer the headline, Operation Grange is.

  7. Is it possible that Mr. Amaral has been right all along and Madeleine's body was cremated in the coffin of someone else? Gerry McCann seemed confident that her body could not be found.