This is my profile of exactly how this went down:
Summers and Swan put out a book (that I believe may have been commissioned) and expected - since they consider themselves to be investigative journalists of such a high caliber - to have little negative response to their book. They were surprised by the numbers of one-star reviews that certainly have curtailed sales (btw, the sales are not as bad as some believe - the site they are accessing for book sales is not accurate. While the book is not a bestseller, it is selling at a modest pace).
Summers and Swan are correct that some one-star book reviews were made without reading the book. However, some of the five-star reviews were also made without reading the book. There is no "organized" attack by any particular group - just general encouragement to post reviews of a book many feel is a sham and inaccurate. The only group I know of that has coordinated an "organized" attack is the online group that turned in the dossier against the McCann skeptics. This is pretty much a group spearheaded by one particularly aggressive pro-McCanner. This same group encouraged people to not only attack my book on the case, Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann (btw, this was an earlier independent review of the case, Mr. Summers and Ms. Swan) and put up negative reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but to go after my other books as well as punishment. This same group is the one from whom Summers and Swan got their information on me (rather than reading my book and blogs or interviewing me) and has kept a running log on McCann skeptics; I have a page devoted to me on their site (or, more accurately, pages) which I am sure was included in the dossier sent to the police.
So, Summers and Swan gather information from a particularly vicious Internet site that essentially stalks, harasses, and slanders people who believe the McCanns might be guilty of a crime; then this same group warned them that they might get negative reviews on their book when it came out. After this comes true, Summers and Swan get all pissy and decide to fight back. I am sure if this "dossier" was given to the police by the group without the publicity generated, absolutely generated by Summers and Swan who are tightly connected to the media industry, the police would have shelved it without comment. I know this because I have been stalked and harassed on the Internet and there is little the police can do unless there is a direct threat made that the authorities will take seriously. Saying nasty things about someone on Twitter or Facebook is not a crime. I have had many nasty things said about me by the pro-McCanns (I don't see Summers and Swan getting all bent out of shape on my behalf...no, they are instead teaming up with my abusers) but most are not criminal threats (the closest was a photo that was supposed to be of my house that was posted either to identify my home so I could be assaulted or to show that my house was not a mansion - it was actually a photo of my neighbor's house). I have been slandered unmercifully, but that is a civil, not a criminal, matter.
Summers and Swan now also claim that they are being personally attacked. I guess if you call questioning their journalistic ability being personally attacked, they are correct. The group Summers and Swan are having a "promance" with have slandered me over and over but that is totally okay with this ethically challenged duo.
The police are not going to do a damn thing with this dossier. Although another ethically challenged journalist, Carole Malone, claims Brenda Leyland (who was stalked and harrassed by Martin Brunt), sent 50 texts a day to the McCanns. I don't see any evidence she texted the McCanns threats. She posted on Twitter which is not a personal contact as would be texting and emailing or mailing. It is a public space where people chat and gossip. If you don't go hang out there, you won't get your feelings hurt as Summers and Swan and their daughter have or so they claim. Also, you can block anyone from Twitter and not see what they write. I have blocked all my haters and I see nothing of what they spew. I also block them from my Facebook page and, therefore, do not have to be bombarded by their nastiness. So, the police are not going to waste their time trying to slap the hands of Tweeters; they only commented to the press because Summers and Swan sent the press their way.
By the way, I am not defending really nasty stuff I see posted concerning the McCanns. As to Sweepyface (Brenda Leyland), I have only seen a small number of her tweets of; some are fine, some are a bit stronger in emotion than I am comfortable with. Whether or not I approve of all her tweets is not at issue; what is concerning is that she is being singled out as representative of all those who question the McCanns' involvement in the disappearance of their daughter. This is a wide and unethical brush. There is quite a variety in the content of what people post and some of it (though not the majority of it) has caused me to prefer, as a professional, not to be linked to any particular Facebook page or website other than my own. I do not approve of photoshopped pictures of the McCanns, sick comments, and such. I have had enough of that done to me by the pros and I do not think it is a civil way to conduct a conversation. Most of the people on the Facebook pages and Twitter are discussing things in a decent manner but there are those who cross the line and act crudely. Unfortunately, any major issue is tainted with nastiness these days on the Internet; you can see that by going to any comment section on any subject. If Summers and Swan think they or the McCanns should be not experience what every other public figure and author experiences, well, then they think somehow they are better than everyone. In reality, they have the fortune (and the lawyers) to have the media on their side for many years, so they suffer far less at present than the rest of us.
Which brings me to my final comment on this; the media have become the most vicious of all trolls on the planet because they spit out gossip, lies, and slander without even bothering to check facts, which is exactly the opposite of what they are supposed to do as journalists. They run with any moneymaking story no matter who generated it and how true it actually is. Summers and Swan clearly orchestrated this junk story in the media knowing full well that none of their media cohorts were going to bother to do any real reporting on the matter. My name is in that dossier, I am damned sure, and not one journo has called me to validate the accuracy of the dossier or to find out more about this "secret" "concerned" citizens group.
Although I believe the Summers and Swan book is likely to have been "encouraged" to coincide with the end of the civil and criminal cases (although this seems to have been a miscalculation), this attack on McCann skeptics is simply Summers and Swan's outrage at having their book dissed. They are buddy buddy with the media so it is no surprise they were able to retaliate through them and, again, no media outlet is likely to question anything that is pro-McCann. I have been out here for seven years, written over seventy blogs on the case and published a book that was Carter-Rucked by the McCanns, and not one journalist (including Summers and Swan) has contacted me, a high profile independent professional criminal profiler, to understand the other side of the story. Balanced reporting, investigative reporting, ethical reporting - in the UK and the US - is pretty much as dead as Madeleine.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
October 5, 2014
By Pat Brown
Rating:Published: July 27, 2011
What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.