And no, it hasn't been 'Jordan votes for this' or 'Cheryl supports that'-type coverage:
Like most of the Star's reporting, it's probably written for three-year-olds, but hey, at least it's not Kerry Katona.
Today, the Star had David Cameron and Nick Clegg on the front (calling them Ant and Dec, the same comparison used by Jan Moir...), but it chose another story for its lead:
The headline doesn't make much sense, but then the article is rubbish anyway. As is the Star's 'Exclusive' tag, given that the story was in the Sun and on the Mail website the previous day.
Originally, the Mail gave their article this misleading headline:
Parents' outrage as children told 'dress as a Muslim for mosque trip - or you will be branded a truant'.
But this has now been changed - and softened - to Catholic school girl who refused headscarf for mosque trip labelled a truant.
Why? Because the school wasn't forcing anyone to 'dress as a Muslim'.
The story is this: Ellesmere Port Catholic High School has organised a trip to a local mosque for its Year 9 pupils. They were told, in a letter helpfully published by the Mail:
Pupils will be expected to wear full school uniform. As you can appreciate the Mosque has a strict dress code, all girls must have a skirt that is over the knee and must wear a headscarf (a simple scarf that covers the head will suffice).
Does a Catholic school's uniform, with a simple scarf over the head added, really sound like pupils were being forced to 'dress as a Muslim'?
Apparently it does to Nick Seaton from the rent-an-outrage-quote Campaign for Real Education:
'Everyone should respect the religion of others but to expect a pupil to dress up to this extent is extreme to say the least. It is ridiculous'.
'Dress up to this extent'? He doesn't seem to have a clue what he's talking about.
Anyway, when one mother - Michelle Davies - complained, she was told by the headteacher that this was a compulsory field trip and if her daughter did not go, it would be recorded as an unauthorised absence.
And because she didn't like that, it seems she went running to the papers to become a martyr to the cause.
Davies is quoted as saying:
'I wasn't having my daughter dressed in the Muslim way...
'I also fail to see how a three-hour trip to a mosque is of any educational value to a Catholic when she can learn about the Muslim faith in the classroom'.
And from the Star:
Another parent, Kirsty Ashworth, whose daughter Charlie Sheen was due to attend, said: 'I send my daughter to an English-speaking Catholic school, so I don’t see why she should be forced to dress as a Muslim.'
Which, of course, she wasn't. Frankly, both parents sound as if an educational trip such as this would do both of them some good. Who really sounds like the intolerant party here?
But the Star isn't content with its inflammatory and misleading story - its editorial goes much, much further:
The headmaster...tried to force Amy to wear a Muslim-style headscarf.
It's disgusting. Everyone involved should hang their head in shame.
Amy is a Catholic. Her beliefs should be respected.
Demanding she ditch her faith for Islam is the ultimate religious insult.
Errr, what? Where has the Star invented the line that she was being forced to 'ditch her faith'?
This was about schoolkids on a trip to a mosque covering their heads. How did it become 'demanding' someone convert to Islam?
That line really is an utter disgrace.
As several of the people leaving (surprisingly tolerant) comments on the Mail website point out, on their trips to synagogues, St Mark's Basilica in Venice and St Peter's in Rome and so on, coverings for shoulders, arms and/or heads were required attire for visitors. Most people remove hats without complaint when entering a Christian church. Yet there's no similar 'outrage' about that.
But because this involves Islam, there is.
The tabloids want to claim this is another example of political correctness gone mad, of Muslims dictating what the rest of 'us' can do, of Christians under attack.
What it's actually about is people being asked to show respect in a place of worship.
Why is that so problematic?