I only disagree with Heather concerning the court of public opinion. When a person is indeed in the media, they can expect to have certain aspects of their behaviors scrutinized. She expresses sympathy for the McCanns for getting negative feedback from the public but this antipathy is not based on lies from the press but on the McCanns themselves because of admitted and observed behaviors. There is no question that when one puts themselves out in the public eye, one must be very cautious not to stoke fires of contention. Interestingly, some celebrities get no negative press at all because they lead polite and proper lives. The more one is flamboyant, outspoken, tantalizing, controversial...the more one has to accept there will be negative responses as well as positive responses.
As a criminal profiler who does a lot of media, I know the problem. I am outspoken and I am a bit of a renegade in the industry. I am working to change concepts I believe are outdated and damaging to moving serial homicide investigation and criminal profiling to a higher level and with better outcomes. I fly in the face of traditional FBI thinking and certain academics. In return I get called, "self-proclaimed profiler" (a label I guess you get if you didn't come up through the FBI), media whore (yes, I do a lot of television; it helps promote my concepts and programs), a fraud (FBI thing again, I think or some think I lie and say I AM with the FBI or have BEEN with the FBI), lacking in education (I have a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University but I did get into the field through self-training and reading hundreds of books on the market in forensics, investigations, profiling, psychology, etc), racist (this was because I wrote an article on Hurricane Carter, an African-American boxer, that some didn't like - they ignored the fact that I opened the article by stating I was married to a Jamaican and had two mixed race children and one African-American son), anti-police (even though my daughter is a cop and my son is in security and joining a police force soon), anti gun (even though I own two) and on and on. Some of this stuff is based on outright lies and some from careless reading and poor analysis, and other bits of scorn and hatred come from the fact some people just don't like me or what I have to say.
All of this comes with the territory of being in the public eye. I try to keep what I can under control and other stuff I just have to accept as part of the life I have accepted. Anytime I want out of it, I can give up my media work and live quietly. It is pretty easy to do. No fuel, no story.
But I admire Heather for going after those who print straight up lies. This should stop. The only time I get really bent out of shape is when I see something about me which is some supposed "fact" and it is simply not true. If somebody calls me a racist just because I think Rubin Hurricane Carter should still be in jail for murder, oh well, it is just their opinion. However, if someone says I used the "n" word while talking about an African-American, this will send me over the edge because it is not something I would ever do and if it is out in the public as a "fact," then I am forced to defend myself which is always a nightmare to have to do.
However, Heather, some of the stuff you probably did bring upon yourself by doing nude photos (no matter how long ago) or by marrying a big celebrity (a REALLY big one) and by speaking out (whether what you say was wonderful or not and I am a fellow vegetarian so I am on your side in that fight). You can't be in the world of the stars without being viewed as one and you can't be outspoken and not expect to be noticed (which is exactly why we speak out if we are going to be honest about it).
I wish you luck with the fight, though. I would be happy to see tabloids and reporters being held to some accountability. If it isn't true, you shouldn't be printing it. Period.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown