LAWYERS, MADELEINE AND MURAT
Roy Greenslade in the Guardian asks some good questions about the tawdry way newspapers dealt with Robert Murat. In particular, he wonders why newspaper lawyers didn't rein in the coverage. In my experience of such cases, lawyers from different newspapers sometimes confer and agree how far they will allow a story to be pushed, even if they know it is legally questionable. The reasoning is that there is some safety in numbers. Not in this case, clearly.
More generally it seems as if papers were seized by a collective delusion that for some reason the law didn't matter in this case. Was it because the events were taking place abroad and they figured that somehow English law was irrelevant? Was it commercial pressure? Or was it that after so long presenting the story as a whodunnit, extrapolating and speculating wildly from a few known pieces of information, trying to tell an entertaining and gripping tale, they simply lost sight of the fact that they were dealing with a real story involving real people?