Saturday, 27 February 2010


Following the release of Starsuckers, you might think that the media would be a little more careful about publishing unlikely gossip without doing some research or fact-checking.

But they're not. And so, thanks to Robert Popper, we have 'Tangerinegate'.

In the midst of the claims about Gordon Brown's temper, Popper phoned LBC claiming to have first hand evidence of the PM's anger.

While touring a factory where Popper claimed to work, Brown received a phone call which upset him. Soon after:

...he threw a tangerine which he had, and it hit a machine, the actual lamination machine, and the actual fruit got stuck in the machine and clogged the whole machine, the whole machine broke down because of the peel, and it was very embarrassing, we had to sort of stop the tour and he got even more angry and he called the person that gave him the tangerine a citric idiot and shouted.

'Citric idiot'? Did that, and the story as a whole, not ring any alarm bells?

But of course, the allegation - however unbelievable - was what sections of the press wanted to believe in the maelstrom of accusations about whether Brown was a bully.

So The Sun wrote about it in the middle of a longer article covering many allegations about Brown's behaviour:

Unlike Martin Evans and the Telegraph, who gave it much greater prominence:

The FT also covered it, although their blogger Jim Pickard was sceptical from the start:

So yes, he thought the story was 'suspicious', but he still managed to write over 500 words about it.

It also got a passing mention on the BBC comedy show The Bubble.

How long will we have to wait for the corrections?

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