Martin Bell calls BBC's obsession with Madeline story “the death of news”

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Former BBC foreign correspondent and MP Martin Bell has slammed BBC News’s coverage of the abduction of Madeline McCann as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

He told the London Evening Standard last night: “I am calling it the death of news…it is the stupidification of the news agenda. It is pretty obvious television news has lost its way.”

He criticised the corporation’s decision to send presenter Huw Edwards to Praia de Luz and to pay for a helicopter to follow parents Kate and Gerry McCann on their wayy home from East Midlands Airport.

The Standard also quotes “secret correspondence” between BBC staff which asks: “Did we get sucked into the media circus?”

A spokesman for the BBC told the paper the story was of “enormous interest” to viewers” and that Bell’s comments were “too simplistic”.

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