Saturday, 13 March 2010

Overpaid MP repeats the 'dog ate earring' story

The Mail on Sunday's false story about Kate Middleton's dog eating some earrings given to her by Prince William has been exposed by the fact Middleton doesn't have a dog.

This is known to the Express' Royal Reporter Richard Palmer, who tweeted it about it on Monday.

But on Tuesday, Express columnist and Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe repeated the story:

“The dog ate my income tax form” or “the dog ate my homework” are proverbial excuses but “the dog ate my pearl earrings” is certainly an original plea. Poor Kate Middleton, whose birthday gift from Prince William was swallowed up by her curious cocker spaniel!

Except they weren't, because she doesn't have a spaniel.

The Prince is reported to have found the whole episode hilarious

Except, he didn't, because there was no 'episode'.

Widdecombe is paid up to £1,100 by the Express for every column she writes.

As Richard Littlejohn shows twice a week, there's lots of money to be made out of re-heating stories without doing any research to see if they're accurate.

[Update: It's been pointed out that although Widdecombe did register £5,000 for one Daily Express article in 2008, she's now paid £4,583 per month for eight hours work on her columns. Post amended.]


  1. Widdecome is paid up to 5K for EVERY article?

    FAIL! - it says she was paid 5K for a particular article....and that was registered in October 2008.

    More realistically, it seems she is paid around 4583K a month for a weekly column (column, mind, not article) - which is what, just over a grand a column, assuming a 4-week month?

    Goddamn, McG! - this Littlejohn-style reportage is contagious. Looks like half-arsed research is just as bad as no research.

    Cheers, Pluck

  2. Pluck - Your interest is touching. Post amended.

  3. Much obliged. Should I also take issue with the decription of her as 'overpaid'? While I recognise that this is (your) subjective blog, and you have a perfect right to your opinions, it is after all a blog that exists to provide an objective platform of review. A personal observation on Widdecomb's financial I'd say, strikes me as an distasteful incompatibility.

    Furthermore, although the majority of readers will agree with you, it does open you to accusations of petty spite and jealously.

    I wasn't expecting the amendment, and I'm not harassing you for the sake of it. Just saying, is all.

    Cheers, Pluck

  4. As I have said, I am happy to amend any factual errors - unlike most newspapers.

    No, there's no point taking issue with the word 'overpaid' to describe £4,583 for 8 hours work

  5. Even if it erodes your own crediblity?

    Liverpool beat Lyon last night 3-0. That's an objective fact. Check a dictionary if necessary to fully understand the word 'fact'.

    Widdecombe being paid overpaid @ x amount is a subjective judgement, and therefore makes you just as much of a hypocrite as the Littljohn's of the world. Your assertion she is overpaid, with only superficial personal judgement, is just as bad as blanket assertion that, say, all Muslims are terrorists.

    Of course you can justify such judgement, but that may require research (bummer, eh?). I think if you do a cost/revenue analysis on the Express, you'll find her exceptional value for money.

    I got paid 10K for 4 hours work once. The ad campaign that I drafted earned over 1.3bn in worldwide sales over the next three years - think I was overpaid? Me? I sold myself woefully short on that one mate, I'll tell you.


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