Where were you when the news of the Royal baby came? Sadly, for most people, the answer is unimportant: the ones who really matter are the ranks of hacks scratching around for stories that they can cobble together without costing their increasingly tight bosses any extra money. At newsdesks around the country, the opening of a rich seam of cheap column inches was manna from heaven.
No detail, no matter how trivial, was left without repetition and exaggeration, so Kate’s morning sickness had to include talk of vomiting, and not being able to hold down her food. Following right behind was speculation that this could mean twins, although it’s at least a 50 to 1 shot. That mere detail did not deter the Maily Telegraph, which led on this supposed revelation.
Then came the spin: the Tel told readers that this could bring economic benefits of “up to” £200 million, while not mentioning that the Royal wedding bank holiday cost the economy around £5 billion, with the Diamond Jubilee double bank holiday – well, you can work that one out for yourselves. But we would all feel better, which will no doubt comfort those with cold houses or empty fridges.
And, as we’re all up to date with social media, there was the obligatory trawl of sleb Twitter feeds. Favourites were Cheryl Curl (why?) and Kim Sodding Kardashian. Other utterly irrelevant Tweets came from the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron, Olly Murs, “Sir” Richard Branson, and Boris Becker, who at least has the status of knowing all about bonking.
The Mail leads the speculative charge on where the baby was conceived: “so now we know what Wills and Kate were REALLY doing after topless photos were published”, which is then followed by “Baby can’t have been conceived in France where topless photos were taken”. Make your mind up time. The Mail also tells readers “Baby has its own Twitter account”, which it does not.
This outburst of low grade Phil Space journalism has also spread to the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, where baby name speculation is the order of the day. Male and female names are helpfully colour coded blue and pink. Sadly, whichever of Rupe’s downmarket troops put this piece together was not sufficiently sophisticated to know that “Frances” and “Sarah” are girls’ names.
The Sun also told readers “Doctors ... will replace lost fluids to keep dehydration at bay, boost her nutrition and monitor her progress”. So there you are – replacing lost fluids monitors your progress. Not a lot of Sun readers know that. But these are early days: there will be plenty of opportunities for all those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet to share the rich harvest of howlers.
After all, who cares about accuracy when there are papers to sell? Same old, eh?
I'm as keen as anyone to give The Sun a shoeing, but the sentence "Doctors ... will replace lost fluids to keep dehydration at bay, boost her nutrition and monitor her progress" could equally mean "Doctors ... will replace lost fluids to keep dehydration at bay, will boost her nutrition and will monitor her progress".
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