Sunday, 7 February 2010

Mail uses story from 2007, claims it's new

At the end of January, news that one Tesco store in St Mellons, Cardiff had asked shoppers not to wear pyjamas was widely reported.

It was also widely implied that this was a nationwide dress code, rather than being limited to one store. Take this Mail headline, for example:

Tesco said they had received complaints from customers and so asked that all shoppers wear footwear, and that nightwear was not permitted. Hardly seems unreasonable to expect people to get dressed and put on shoes when they go out, but it caused a bit of a fuss.

A few days ago, Anton at Enemies of Reason blogged that 'glamour model' and Big Brother race row participant Danielle Lloyd had been 'targeted' by Tesco after she had gone into one of their stores in a tracksuit that was mistaken for pyjamas.

One question leaps out: why the hell is the Telegraph printing such trivial garbage?

But the other question - which Anton raised - is if St Mellons isn't Lloyd's local Tesco (it isn't) and the dress code isn't nationwide (it isn't), then how did this happen?

Surely it's isn't at all possible that Lloyd was just after a bit of publicity?

The Telegraph story is dated 5 February. They probably got it from The Sun, which published it the day before, under the only-in-The-Sun headline 'Tesco in jim jam Dan ban'. But at the end of the article by Brian Flynn is this:

Tesco said staff remembered her coming into the store but did not recall trying to stop her.

Which could, of course, be them covering their arses. Or it could be the story just isn't true.

Flynn's article begins:

Model Danielle Lloyd told yesterday how she was barred from Tesco after staff mistook her designer tracksuit for PYJAMAS.

But that is wrong because 'yesterday' would have been 3 February. In fact, Lloyd actually 'told' of this incident on Twitter on 31 January:

Maybe it happened as she said, maybe it didn't. It's not really important. One thing that did happen though - Lloyd got lots of free publicity, and every article seemed to have been based solely on her one Tweet.

That's quality journalism for you.

And it got better. On the same day as the Telegraph published that drivel about Lloyd, the Times Educational Supplement wrote a story on whether teachers approved of parents turning up to school in pyjamas. They mentioned:

Joe McGuinness, head of St Matthew's Primary School in Belfast, was so fed up with semi-clad parents dropping off their children at school in the morning that he sent a letter home with pupils.

Note 'was'. Past tense...

Unfortunately, the Mail didn't note that, as it stole the story to link it to the Tesco one:

Later in the article, author Laura Clark says:

EU law prevented [the Head] from banning mothers from wearing pyjamas to his school, St Matthew's Primary in Belfast.

So the headline isn't right. There was no ban. Is the story any more accurate? Clark begins:

Schools are following Tesco's example and taking a stand against parents who turn up at the gates wearing pyjamas.

They are chastising parents for dropping children off - and collecting them in the afternoon - without first changing out of their nightwear and slippers.

One head has written to parents warning that their failure to get dressed for the school run is 'slovenly and rude'.

The first word 'schools' is also wrong - it actually only has one example: Joe McGuinness at St Matthew's Primary in Belfast.

Clark went on:

The moves comes [sic] after a Tesco store in Cardiff took the unprecedented step of banning customers from shopping in their nightwear.

Except that's not exactly true either. It has nothing to do with Tesco. Why not?

Because McGuinness' letter to parents about their clothes was written before the Tesco dress code incident.

How long before?

Two years and eight months before.

In June 2007.

When the Times and BBC reported it.

(Hat-tip to mr_wonderful at the Mailwatch Forum for the school story)

1 comment:

  1. Blimey. Do the tabs really have to take such tortuous routes of association to find copy now? They all must have a big database of "Something 'banned' by someone (maybe, we're not sure...)" stories from years ago all sorted by keywords. They just type in "pyjamas" and it writes the article for them...!


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