It was a mainly a cut-and-paste job from this local newspaper article.
Based solely on the say-so of the mother, it was claimed the driver, who had a Polish or Eastern European or dodgy-foreign-sounding accent, was offended by the two-year-old wearing one of those 'banned' England football shirts. It's political correctness gone mad, etc.
The following day, the Star and the Mirror repeated this tale (along with countless other websites and forums), based solely on the word of the Mail.
But by then the local paper, The Sentinel had returned to the story. They reported that First Bus had received thirty complaints - mainly, it seems, from people who had read about the incident.
One witness who had claimed to have been there said it happened on Monday. But that was the day the Sentinel published the story. The mother said the incident occurred the previous Thursday...
Paul de Santis, from First, told the paper:
"As time has gone we have reached the conclusion that the incident did not happen.
"We have not been able to find any credible witnesses. And we have not been able to confirm the identity of the driver at the centre of the allegation.
"We belive it to be highly unlikely that it happened. If this is the case that is extremely concerning to us. It's not only damaged our reputation, but could have put our staff in danger through potential reprisals."
And First issued an offical statement:
We have carried out a full investigation and can't find any evidence to substantiate this claim. No driver fitting the description given was working on any routes in this area at that time. Our buses were busy around the time yet no one else has been in touch with us about this alleged incident.
We expect the highest level of professionalism from our drivers and such an act would not be tolerated. However, in this instance it now appears that no such incident took place.
Here's the thing: this statement has been in the public domain for two days.
And yet neither the Mail, Star or Mirror have deemed it necessary to inform their readers' about it.
So either they don't want to correct their earlier story, and look like they may have got something wrong, or they are happy to let the myth of banned England shirts rumble on because it suits their PC-gone-mad, Britain-under-attack-from-foreigners agenda.
Or more likely, both.
(More over at Enemies of Reason)