Wednesday 27 April 2011

Sorry we said you were dancing on nightclub tables with glamour models

From Gordon Smart's Bizarre column in The Sun, 19 April 2011:

Gareth Ale

Last year footie hero GARETH BALE told me he was fond of the quiet life and avoided nightclubs at all costs.

On Sunday the Spurs star picked up the PFA Players' Player Of The Year Award for an incredible season in the Premier and Champions League. So how did the Welsh wizard celebrate?

He turned up at west London club Merah, danced on tables to 50 CENT with a gaggle of glamour girls and rattled up his share of a £100k bar bill with Young Player Of The Year JACK WILSHERE.

If that's the kind of quiet life he enjoys, I'm going to settle down too.

An onlooker at Merah said: "It was a classic footballers-on-the- p*** night out.

"Gareth was in great form, as was Jack. Gareth was dancing to 50 Cent's Buzzin on a table with two models.

"Jack Wilshere and his pals were also up to mischief.

"He was told off because someone with him was trying to light a cigarette inside.

"One of the security guards clocked what was going on and escorted Jack and his pals to an outside smoking area. The footballers in total racked up a £100k bar bill trying to impress wannabe WAGs.

"Bale, Wilshere and ASHLEY YOUNG from Aston Villa received the most interest from girls. They were queueing up to sit on their tables."

Gareth's share of the bill must have been about £40.

He claims to be a teetotal fitness fanatic, so the Red Bull must have been flowing to get him up dancing on the tables.

The caffeine hangover and furry teeth must have been terrible when he got up yesterday.

As for Wilshere, he appears to be stepping up to the famous reputation of the Arsenal heroes of the TONY ADAMS era.

He's not just a nailed-on name on the team sheet at Arsenal.

He'll be the first name on Bizarre on Monday mornings for the rest of his career.

Good lad.

From Gordon Smart's Bizarre column in The Sun, 27 April 2011:

Sorry Gareth

Last week I reported that Gareth Bale celebrated his PFA Player's Player of The Year Award by dancing on tables with glamour girls at nightclub Merah in London.

At the time I said it was a bit out of character for the teetotal Welsh winger, and in fact we now accept that we got it wrong.

The Spurs hero was in fact back home with his parents, his grandfather, sister, girlfriend and the trophy at his Essex home.

He did not visit the club and was professional enough to head straight home after the awards. Sorry Gareth.

The Star misleads on the 'royal baby'

Determined not to be outdone by The People on misleading front page headlines about William and Kate, today's Daily Star claims in an 'exclusive':

This clearly implies that their 'exclusive' is that Kate is pregnant.

But then Emily Hall's article begins:

Kate Middleton will be pregnant within a year, according to Princess Diana’s closest confidant.

Andrew Morton, 57, reckons the newlywed will seal her regal status by planning a tot straight away.

Presumably, the more-accurate headline 'newly-married couple may have a child at some point after their wedding' wouldn't have been eye-catching enough for the Star.

Still, at least the paper isn't just reporting comments made by someone seeking publicity for a book they've got coming out:

Andrew Morton will release his new book William and Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding, on May 2 for the RRP of £20.


Sunday 24 April 2011

The People misleads on William's 'stag do'

The People claims it has a 'picture exclusive' on its front page today:

The implication, of course, is that these are pictures from Prince William's stag do, in advance of his wedding on Friday. The article begins:

He kept his stag do top secret, but these are the antics Prince William can get up to when he really lets his hair down.

Our world exclusive pictures show Wills the student larking around with TWO feather boas while in his boxer shorts.

Then they reveal:

The prince gyrated in front of a girl pal during the wild 21st birthday party of James Tollemache, the son of a lord...

It was December 2002, when 20-year-old Wills was on the Christmas break of his second year at the University of St Andrews – but had yet to start dating Kate Middleton.

So The People has dug up photos that are over eight years old, stuck them on the front page at a time when interest in Prince William is so high and given the strong impression they are new. It seems The People has been picking up tips on front page 'exclusives' from the Daily Star.

Will at The Media Blog says this isn't a 'world exclusive' either:

...the pictures, taken at a friend's 21st birthday party, circulated widely online in 2002 and appeared in a number of overseas publications at the time.

Fleet Street Blues, a blog which bills itself as the 'insider scoop on journalism' wrote about this front page late last night, before seeing the article, and suggested:

We haven't even looked at the other papers yet, but something tell us the People's exclusive pictures from Prince William's stag do are a shoe-in for the Sunday Scoop. This week or any other week.

If they fell for it, how many others were also fooled? As The Media Blog adds:

The degree to which this cover attempts to mislead readers suggests The People should actually be answerable to Trading Standards rather than the PCC on this one.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Christopher Jefferies sues for libel

When Christopher Jefferies was arrested during the investigation into the murder of Jo Yeates, some sections of the media launched into a quite disgraceful character assassination of the man who would be eventually released without charge:

The Mail called Jefferies 'Mr Strange', 'the 'nutty professor' and 'Professor Strange'. He 'idolised a poet obsessed by death', they claimed. The Mirror called him a 'peeping tom'. The Sun called him 'strange' and 'obsessed by death' and in one article, as Anton pointed out, he was described as:

"weird", "lewd", "strange", "creepy", "angry", "odd", "disturbing", "eccentric", "a loner" and "unusual".

In unsurprising news, his lawyers announced today:

Mr Christopher Jefferies has today given notice of libel and privacy claims against a large number of national and local newspapers in relation to articles published by them in December 2010 and January 2011.

The newspapers include The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Star among others. Mr Jefferies will be seeking vindication of his reputation for the terrible treatment he received. Mr Jefferies will not be making any statement about these claims until their conclusion, which he hopes will be in the very near future.

Simons Muirhead & Burton partner, Louis Charalambous, who also represented Robert Murat, leads the team representing Mr Jefferies in these libel and privacy claims.

Ofcom criticises the Mail

Yesterday, Ofcom published its ruling on the 2,868 complaints it had received about the final of last year's The X Factor. Although it did not find the programme in breach of the Code it did say:

In view of our concerns about the material under consideration in this case, and the fact that we considered it was at the limit of acceptability for transmission before the 21:00 watershed, Ofcom is requiring the compliance licensee to attend a meeting to discuss the approach taken to ensuring that the programme complied with the requirements of the Code.

However, it wasn't only The X Factor that came in for some criticism from Ofcom:

Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances.

However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast.

Hmm. Now which paper could Ofcom be referring to? Could it possibly be the Mail, which infamously published several photos in a double page spread under the not-exactly-convincing headline:

We apologise to readers but you have to see these pictures to understand the fury they've stirred.

Their online article about how 'racy' the show was helpfully included 13 pictures and two videos.

Their online article about Ofcom's decision helpfully includes 11 pictures and two videos, with the handy information 'Scroll down to see video of the performances...' in bold at the top.

Although this article mentions the criticism of the 'national daily newspaper' the Mail website has, unusually, decided not to allow comments. Why would that be?

If the Mail really thinks this was too much, why make the pictures and videos so freely available so often? And, of course, all this faux outrage is from a newspaper whose website is obsessed with publishing 'racy' photographs of singers and actresses (such as these of Rihanna, at one of her own shows), which made their coverage more than a little hypocritical.

But according to a Mail spokesman, it was nothing to do with them, guv:

"We note that the Ofcom report did not actually name any newspaper itself – but it has been suggested in other media that they were referring to the Daily Mail.

"We wholly reject any criticism, which Ofcom may or may not be making.

"The fact is that all the pictures we used were provided by ITV and X Factor's official photographic agency – with the exception of one, which was an actual screen-grab of the show's transmission. They gave an accurate and fair representation of the show. We also made it clear why we felt it was important to show them.

"Thousands of our readers had clearly been incensed by the programme before we carried the pictures. What we raised was the legitimate question as to whether these scenes were suitable for pre-watershed TV and presented the facts in a fair and reasonable manner."

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Sorry for what we said you said

The Mirror has apologised, and paid damages, to Karren Brady over two articles published in January:

In an article on January 18, 2011 headed “Brady’s text shame adds more mayhem to Hammers madness” we claimed that Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham United, had sent text messages to a number of players encouraging them to rise up against the manager Avram Grant and demand his sacking. We now accept that Ms Brady never sent any such text messages.

On 26 January 2011 we published an article headed “Richard Keys daughter Jemma defends her dad in sexism row” in which we quoted, in error, Jemma Keys, the daughter of former Sky TV presenter Richard Keys, saying that in a private conversation Ms Brady had laughed and joked with Mr Keys about his comments. This was despite reporting that Ms Brady had publicly condemned the sexist comments made by Mr Keys.

In fact, no conversation took place between Ms Brady and Mr Keys. We apologise to Ms Brady for these untrue allegations. We have agreed to pay her damages and legal costs.

(Hat-tip to Regret the Error)

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Sex, lies and the Daily Star

Today's Star front page headline reveals:

'Sex rats named'. 'MP exposes secrets'. So it's actually happened then?

Well, the first line of the story shows it hasn't:

An MP yesterday threatened to out up to 30 wealthy figures who have used super-injunctons to protect their sordid private lives.

File this one alongside the Star's 16 September 2009 front page story 'Jordan names celeb rapist' which revealed Jordan had, indeed, not 'named' her 'celeb rapist'.

File it also alongside all these sleazy, sex-obsessed headlines the Star has run in the past week:

Littlejohn admits he hasn't got 'enough material'

Two days ago, the Mandrake column in the Daily Telegraph said:

Just as Mike Yarwood, an acclaimed impersonator of Harold Wilson in his day, never really appeared to get over Margaret Thatcher's election as prime minister, Rory Bremner is suffering at the hands of the Coalition.

The amiable comic tells Mandrake that his disappearance from our television screens since David Cameron won power has not been by choice.

And today, Richard Littlejohn reveals:

My sympathies are with Rory Bremner, who says he is having an enforced sabbatical from television.

Just as Mike Yarwood’s career nose-dived when Harold Wilson departed the scene, so Rory is struggling to survive the demise of New Labour.

Where does he get it from?

In the Mandrake piece, Bremner says:

"It would be great to do more television, but it's all gone very quiet on that front and I don't know why that is," he says. "I must have upset somebody somewhere. I'm having what you might call a slightly enforced sabbatical."

This isn't quite the same as what Littlejohn claims, who says it's all to do with the absence of recognisable characters:

How do you do an impression of, say, Andrew Lansley? And if you did, would anyone recognise it?

Why did Littlejohn pick on Lansley, in particular? From Mandrake:

Happily, however, he has a stage tour coming up, but Andrew Lansley, the health secretary who has been much in the news recently, looks unlikely to be included among the impersonations.

However, Littlejohn admits something that some of us have suspected for some time:

There simply isn’t enough material to fill an hour of airtime...

As a columnist, I’m having the same problem.

Littlejohn? Struggling to find enough material to fill his columns?

Surely not?

Monday 18 April 2011

Littlejohn gets it wrong on 'NHS funding'

In his column on 8 April, Richard Littlejohn turned his attention to the funding of the NHS:

The NHS is always pleading poverty, despite its budget being ring-fenced by the Government... Unnecessary spending is rife.

And, having read the Mail a couple of days before, he found an 'example' to illustrate his point:

For instance, Bolton NHS is frittering £75,000 on a scheme which involves buying mobile phones for alcoholics. The idea is that health workers will send a daily text message to patients recovering from alcohol addiction...

Of course, the scheme is a little bit more complex than that. However, Littlejohn just mocks it:

No one seems to have thought through the obvious flaws in this plan. Have you ever seen a drunk trying to work a mobile phone? I have enough trouble sending a text when I’m stone cold sober.

Yes, but if they're recovering, the hope is they won't be drunk.

But Littlejohn's main complaint is that the scheme is 'frittering' away public money:

Still, when it comes to NHS funding, it’s always trebles all round. So what’s seventy-five grand between friends?

But Littlejohn hasn't done his research. The scheme is not being funded from the NHS' 'ring-fenced budget'. It is being funded by the Health Foundation:

an independent charity working to continuously improve the quality of healthcare in the UK.

And it's being funded as part of their annual 'Shine' initiative to:

find new approaches to delivering healthcare that reduce the need for acute hospital care while improving quality and saving money.

And a simple enquiry to them would have revealed:

Littlejohn, it seems, has even more problems doing research than he does texting...

Saturday 16 April 2011

Mail caught copying old stories from BBC website (again)

Quotes from a Close Friend is a new 'media watching' blog which began last month and aims to highlight bad journalism and, in particular, celebrity gossip, political news and other stories which are based on the words of 'close friends' and anonymous sources.

The first post on the blog highlighted this Mail story from 10 March:

Why this story?

Because only the day before, I had read this old BBC story from 2003, which reappeared briefly in the ‘most popular: shared’ box on the front page of the BBC News website. It described a paper by a Dr Fox (sadly not the DJ or politician) – published in a medical journal – which recorded the various acronyms used by doctors to covertly describe their patient.

And as Quotes from a Close Friend points out, it's not just the same story, but it includes several rather familar sentences:

From the BBC:

Thus rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes “rheumaholiday”, the “Freud Squad” are psychiatrists, and “Gassers” and “Slashers” are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.

And from the Mail:

For example rheumatology, considered to be one of the less busy specialties, is ‘rheumaholiday’, the ‘Freud Squad’ are psychiatrists, ‘Gassers’ are anaesthetists and ‘slashers’ general surgeons.

They add:

To be fair to the Mail (what?), they might just have stumbled across the same journal the original BBC article came from, albeit 8 years later. However, the big problem with that theory is this not-in-any-way-lifted quote about the acronym TTFO (Told to f*** off);

From the BBC:

He told BBC News Online: ‘This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: ‘To take fluids orally’.”

And the Mail:

He said: ‘This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: ‘To take fluids orally’.’

So, perhaps the Mail came up with this story on their own, and phoned up Dr Fox, who gave word-for-word the same quote as eight years ago. Or, perhaps they’ve seen an eight-year-old story on the BBC website, rearranged some of the paragraphs, changed some of the words, and added a few extra examples. Answers on a postcard.

The answer is, of course, obvious.

After all, the Mail's been caught re-heating old stories from the BBC website's 'most popular' box at least twice before - once with a story about the removal of clips from YouTube, and once with an article involving wrongly-translated Welsh road signs.

Incidentally, the Mail website recently won the award for Digital Innovation of the Year at the Press Awards for demonstrating:

ingenuity and innovation in the use of multi-media applications and content.

Friday 15 April 2011

Did 'elf 'n' safety' ban an Easter parade?

The Mail claims:

This is a dream for the Mail - health and safety, an alleged ban and the alleged persecution of Christians all in one story.

Nick Fagge reports:

Every year the Christians from different churches get together to march a 400-yard route to celebrate Easter.

But this year their Good Friday parade has been banned – because it breaches health and safety laws.

So - it's been banned because of health and safety. That's clear, right?

Well, the statement from Brent Council that inevitably appears at the end of the article suggests it's not quite that clear:

‘Brent Council was not contacted about the march until around a week ago.

‘There is a strict legal procedure we have to follow to issue a traffic order closing roads so people can march in the highway, which includes advertising and consultation, and this takes about five weeks.

‘We are very sorry to say there is now not enough time for us to legally facilitate this march.’

Ah. So the organisers missed a five-week deadline for notifying the Council. Not quite health and safety.

But the parade has been banned, hasn't it?

Last night Brent Council told the worshippers to walk on the pavement.


The man in charge of the parade, Father Hugh MacKenzie, knows the type of quotes that get you in papers such as the Mail, however:

‘The rights of Christians are being overlooked in favour of the rights of Islamic groups and gay rights organisations.

‘One does wonder whether if it was a homosexual rights or Islamic group the council would have been more flexible, as it doesn’t seem like rocket science to permit us to walk 400 metres.

‘The rights of Christians are just not respected in Britain.’

So blame the gays, blame the Muslims, blame health and safety. Don't blame yourself for applying too late for the Council's permission to close the road. And say you can't parade when you can.

The Mail also claims that this parade takes place 'every year' - those are the first two words of the article and they're repeated later in the piece. It appears, however, that the parade last took place in 2008.

A further statement has been issued by Brent Council, emphasising that the parade is definitely not banned from taking place:

Brent Council and the Metropolitan Police have advised and encouraged the organisers of this parade to hold this event as long as they stay on the footpath and the event is stewarded.

We have many other Good Friday Parades happening in Brent including one with twice the number of people and this takes place on the footpath every year avoiding the need for a traffic order.

Traffic orders are there for the safety of the parade participants, the general public and motorists and are needed by any group wanting to take over the highway.

This particular parade has not taken place for around three years.

In the past the police organised the road closures, however, a change in police policy has meant event organisers have to contact their Local Authority five weeks in advance to arrange a road closure.

The application for this parade was received 4 April.

(Hat-tip to Press Not Sorry. Primly Stable has also blogged on this 'ban' here)

Sunday 10 April 2011


At Aintree yesterday, jockey Peter Toole suffered serious injuries during one race, and two horses died during the running of the Grand National. Time for a discussion about the safety of horse racing? Or, if you're the Mail website, time for an attack on the BBC:

The Telegraph also took this line:

The basis of the stories seems to be remarks left on the BBC's messageboards and comments on Twitter. But did the BBC really 'cover-up' the fatalities?

At 4.53pm, BBC presenter Clare Balding tweeted to her 60,000+ followers on Twitter:

The BBC's Cornelius Lysaght also mentioned the deaths on Twitter.

But this information wasn't just shared online. At just before 5pm, Balding told viewers on BBC1:

I'm very sorry to report there were two equine fatalities in this year's Grand National - Ornias and Donney's Gate. And our thoughts are very much with the Mullins family who ownned, trained and rode Dooney's Gate; the Stewart family who owned Ornais; and the stable staff who look after them. It is the worst thing that can happen for all of them.

A few minutes later she added:

You will have gathered as I mentioned earlier the equine fatalities, it was because of those horses on the landing side that two fences were missed on the second circuit. And it does, I'm afraid, put a real dampner on the day. And I'd love to be here jubilant and all excited but it's very hard.

Richard Dunwoody replied:

It's the stable staff you have to feel sorry for - when they're handed the bridle, it's terrible.

The Telegraph also adds a comment from the BBC website's live blog:

the online commentator, Oliver Brett, wrote: “In answer to various requests, we are attempting to find out what happened to the two most serious fallers and their jockeys. We are not ignoring the issue, but don’t want to assume anything until fully aware of the facts.”

Ten minutes later, 45 minutes after the start of the race, the blog did announce the deaths.

While the Mail acknowledges Balding's tweet, it does not report her on-air remarks, or those from the blog.

'Cover-up', indeed.

Sorry we said you received special treatment

Two weeks ago, the Mail on Sunday ran a story with the headline: 'The seven months pregnant woman told to give up her British Airways seat… just so Gordon Brown could fly Club Class'.

They trailed their 'exclusive' on the front page, with the main article on page five. The paper wrote:

Gordon Brown sparked a mutiny on a British Airways flight after he was blamed for an attempt to downgrade a heavily pregnant woman and Red Cross doctor into more cramped seats. The extraordinary scenes – dubbed Mutiny On The Brown-ty - unfolded on a flight from Abu Dhabi to London

The paper fails to mention who (in the Mail's newsroom) dubbed it 'Mutiny on the Brown-ty'.

The article included much sound and fury, as did the editorial:

We have pretty much put an end to privilege. The good things in life are obtained through hard work and effort, not through rank and status...

In a contest for a comfortable seat, between a woman a few weeks from giving birth and a man whose undistinguished period in office is already being happily forgotten, most people would know instantly which side to take.

But BA, and Gordon Brown’s aggressive and charmless aide, seem not to have realised this. In fact, a little diplomacy and good manners by the airline and Mr Brown’s assistant might well have resolved the problem.

Equality is a slogan Mr Brown uses plentifully. But it seems he prefers the theory to the practice.

Yet the paper also had a statement from British Airways which seemed to cast some doubt on their version of events:

A spokeswoman for the airline said Mr Brown’s arrival on the flight was a coincidence, and he had been unfairly blamed by the mutinous passengers.

‘The situation had absolutely nothing to do with Gordon Brown,’ she said. ‘We have apologised to [the complainant] and we have offered to pay compensation.

‘It is very rare for a customer not to be able to travel in the cabin that they have booked and we are extremely sorry that this happened on this flight. Gordon Brown and his party were booked in advance and were not involved in any way.’


Mr Brown's office was contacted on Friday. Yesterday afternoon, his spokeswoman sent a text message saying 'I assume you have read the BA statement and are now not ­running the story', making it clear that BA and the former PM's office had been in discussions.

She released a statement that said: 'As BA has made clear, the arrangements were nothing to do with Mr Brown, who had booked his flight and seats well in advance and made no requests for - nor received - any special treatment.

'As BA will confirm, all questions about bookings, overbookings and allocations of seats are not - and could not be - a matter for Mr Brown but for British Airways.'

Despite all that, the paper decided to run the story, with a front page teaser, anyway.

One week later, the Mail on Sunday had an 'update':

Gordon Brown

Last week we published a story headlined ‘The seven months pregnant woman told to give up her British Airways seat…just so Gordon Brown could fly Club Class’ and an editorial.

The flight was overbooked but we accept that neither Gordon Brown nor his staff received any special treatment from British Airways, nor behaved in any way improperly.

We apologise to Gordon Brown and Kirsty McNeill.

The apology appeared on page five. This time, there was no trail on the front page.

(More from Angry Mob here and here, Shouting at Cows and Press Reform)

Thursday 7 April 2011

Making up stories about celebs with the Star and Mail

According to the Daily Star, the most important news for today is this:

As you try to work out what the headline actually means, Star hack Nigel Pauley explains:

Jeremy Clarkson has been offered £1million to become the face of an adultery website.

Pauley names the website, includes their motto, and repeats lots of quotes from a 'spokeswoman' - it all sounds suspiciously like a copy-and-paste job from a press release. Except for the inevitable (and hardly necessary) 'last sentence clarification':

A spokesman for the Top Gear host said: “Jeremy is on holiday with his family. We won’t be forwarding this offer on to him.”

So the Star gives a dating website some free publicity with a front page story about a 'deal' which isn't a deal at all.

The Clarkson non-story comes two days after this:

'Full exclusive story' about these 'red hot nights' inside. Except Emily Hall's article reveals:

Amy Childs has angrily slammed rumours that she’s the reason Peter Andre split from Elen Rivas. Amy Childs made it clear she is not in a relationship with the singer, fuming: “We’re just good friends”.

So there are no 'red hot nights'. The 'full exclusive' is that they didn't happen. But that's not even the Star's 'exclusive' because at the end, in a plug for one of Richard Desmond's magazines, it says:

Read Amy and Peter’s columns in this week’s edition of new! magazine, out now.

The cross-promotion between Channel 5, the Star and Express and magazines such as OK! and new! - all owned by Desmond - has become ridiculous. And the news that Channel 5 will screen 'reality TV' dead horse Big Brother for the next two years has led to feverish excitement in the, err, Daily Star. The rag has published ten totally unrevealing articles about the show in the last week, including four front pages. They've run lists of 'celebrities' who are 'being considered' for the show along with anonymous quotes from 'TV insiders' - and it isn't even starting for another four months. Imagine what it will be like when it is being broadcast...

The Star has been so desperate to drum up interest, two Star hacks (Paul Robins and Peter Dyke) wrote this drivel - possibly one-handed:

Big Brother is set to be the raunchiest ever as horny housemates get the chance for sexy romps.

Frustrated Big Brother contestants will be allowed to make “booty calls” with their partners in a shock new twist when the show returns this year.

For the first time, housemates will be able to phone up their lovers for no-holds barred sex sessions.

And fans will get to see all the x-rated action under the radical plans to transform the spy on the wall programme.

Radical plans to transform the programme into something seen on Desmond's 'specialist' channels, apparently.

However, on 31 March, the Star was absolutely convinced of one thing. Cheryl Cole was definitely going to host the new Big Brother. They even put it on the front page:

'Cheryl's new B Bro babe: Sexy star snubs X Factor' sounds certain. A done deal. Here's Nigel Pauley again:

Fed-up Cheryl Cole could sensationally snub X Factor supremo Simon Cowell by accepting a £5million deal to host a new-look Big Brother. Geordie babe Cheryl Cole is wanted for the role made famous by Davina McCall when the show returns later this year.

'Could snub'. 'Is wanted'. In the first two sentences, the front page headline is proved to be garbage. Indeed, the Star admitted it was nothing but 'rumours' the next day, with Emma Wall claiming:

Cheryl Cole has fuelled rumours she will be the new Big Brother host by talking about her love of all things British.

How the second equals the first isn't quite clear. But it filled a bit more space in the paper.

Pauley also claimed:

A TV insider said...“There is going to be a real buzz around Big Brother and we’re confident [Cole] will want to be part of that deal.”

It seems that neither the 'TV insider', Pauley, Wall, or anyone else at the Star bothered asking Cole about it, however. If they had, they might have got the same response that the Guardian received:

"Cheryl has not been approached, and she has no interest in presenting Big Brother," said a spokesman for the singer.

Still, at least the Mail knows exactly the way Cheryl Cole's career is going. Look at their oh-so-consistent reporting of whether she'll be a judge on the US version of The X Factor:

25 February - 'can she?':

28 February - 'snubbed':

3 March - 'in the balance'

5 March 'in the running...despite claims she's been dropped':

20 March - 'shattered':

22 March - 'yes':

29 March - 'new blow':

4 April - 'yes'

No doubt the next article the Mail produces will confirm once and for all that Cole has indeed got the job. Or hasn't. Or is still waiting to find out. Perhaps they should just wait, too.

The boundaries of decency

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that the latest advertising campaign by fashion outlet Jack Wills breached their Code by being too 'provocative' and so should not appear again in its current form.

The Mail was, of course, outraged:

...the latest marketing campaign by the label, which specialises in expensive casual fashion, has fallen foul of advertising rules after pushing the boundaries of decency too far.

'Pushing the boundaries of decency too far'. So the Mail wouldn't want to push those boundaries with some leering description of those adverts. Would it?:

The first shows a young woman wearing a short skirt lifted to show her buttocks and the lower section of her knickers. The second shows a group beginning to undress on a beach. One of the men is removing one of the women’s tops. The third shows the group wearing only their underwear.

The fourth advert caused the most concern. It shows a young man and a young woman embracing and kissing. The man is shirtless and the woman wearing only knickers. The side of her breast is clearly visible.

Phwoar, eh? Still, considering the Mail's concern about how this brand is 'selling clothes to your children' at least it wouldn't want to plaster some of the 'boundary pushing' images all over its website, where children might see them, would it?


Saturday 2 April 2011

Sorry we said your daughter was held by police for being drunk

An apology published by the Daily Mail on 31 March 2011, for an article written two weeks before by Nick Pisa:

Robert Marshall-Andrews and his daughter Laura

A report with the heading 'Former Labour MP’s daughter held by Italian police for being drunk told officers 'she was the daughter of Cabinet minister’' incorrectly identified Kathryn Emily Andrews as the daughter of former Labour MP Robert Marshall-Andrews.

In fact, neither Mr Marshall-Andrews nor his daughter Laura were in any way connected to the incident.

We apologise to them for the misunderstanding and any embarrassment caused.

(Hat-tip to Danson's Forehead at Mailwatch Forum)