Friday, 15 July 2011

Pink jumpers and anonymous sources

On 12 July, several tabloids ran articles on the important subject of...Simon Cowell wearing a pink jumper.

Simon Cowell seeks the cuddly Factor claimed the Express.

Simon Cowell's cuddlier look for US show was how the Star put it.

The Sun went with Simon Cowell is not looking pretty in pink.

Each article goes on to claim he wore the jumper in Miami and includes an anonymous quote to explain what was going on. The Express said:

An insider tells us: “There are rumours Simon has seen the tone of other talent shows over in the US which are all about being sweet and nice and maybe he thinks he needs to soften up his harsh approach for the launch of The X Factor.

“We heard his advisors said he needs to be more ‘cuddly and approachable’ – this might be the sign of the new era of Simon Cowell.”

The Star repeated that but added:

One American fan said: “I thought: ‘Did his mum knit him this and he feels obliged to wear it? Or did Simon get dressed in the dark today?’ He looked like The Pink Panther. It was all very odd.”

The Sun's anonymous source went for a different explanation:

One friend explained: "Simon is not exactly known for being a snappy dresser but wearing a pink Aran sweater is pretty out there.

"We all assumed he must have got his laundry mixed up when we saw him.

"Let's be honest, if he was put in charge of a washing machine that's exactly what would happen."

Two days later, the Star had an update on this episode:

Simon Cowell has faced his ultimate nightmare... playing the good guy in an X Factor spoof.

TV’s Mr Nasty Simon Cowell underwent the dramatic character change in an advert for the US show.

In the clip, he showers praise on hopeless wannabes he would usually boot out of the door.

Wearing an uncharacteristic soft pink jumper he tells one little girl, who sings Tomorrow from Annie: “I love your spirit"...

Seconds later, fans get a reality check. Cowell is seen waking up in bed in his suite in a cold sweat, saying: “Wow. What a horrible nightmare.”

It's likely that the story was leaked to the press before it was clear where the image was from - after all, why have one day of coverage when you can have two?

But what about those anonymous quotes, which look very suspicious once you know the full story? Were they fed to the showbiz hacks by whoever fed them the pictures? Or were they simply invented?

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