In a post yesterday, this blog suggested that a spaniel swallowing a piece of jewellery isn't really a front page news story.
And that's even more true when it's completely made up.
Here's the headline from the online version:
Hack Kate Nicholl goes on to repeat lengthy quotes from a conveniently anonymous 'friend' about how Prince William gave girlfriend Kate Middleton some pearl earrings, which were then eaten by her spaniel. And to add an eye-catching bit of detail:
when the earrings finally emerged, she realised that there was no rescuing them, they were so badly damaged and chewed up.
Prince William's girlfriend looking through her dog's poo for an earring? It sounds a bit like the Prime Minister throwing a tangerine into a laminating machine. And, like the fruit-chucking hoax, it's been picked up unquestioningly by others, including David Harrison in the Telegraph (surprise!) and several media outlets in America.
There's just one slight problem.
There is no:
beloved black cocker spaniel
Because Kate Middleton doesn't have a dog.
The Express' Royal Reporter Richard Palmer tweeted this:
Which has been confirmed to me by a spokesman from Clarence House.
How did Nicholl come to write this rubbish? As a journalist, she should have contacted Clarence House or some other official sources to check the story. If she didn't, that's unbelievably sloppy. And if she did, and was told there was no such dog, but ran the story anyway, that's unbelievably shoddy.
As for the Mail on Sunday, their lead about Samantha Cameron voting Labour was quickly and comprehensively denied and now their other front page 'news' story about a dog eating jewellery has fallen apart because the dog doesn't exist.
Editor Peter Wright and Editor-in-Chief Paul Dacre: you must be so proud.