Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Sun lied over Alfie

Last month's biggest tabloid story was based on nothing, as it turns out.

Another humiliating development for 'the best press in the world'. You may remember last month's Sun front-page story about babyfaced 13-year-old Alfie Patten becoming a father. Without bothering to collect further evidence, the Sun jumped on the case like possessed hyaenas, prompting an investigation from the Press Complaints Commission about allegations that money had been paid to Alfie's family in order to secure an 'exclusive'.

Before you could even say it, the usual army of columnists were all out in force, Shaun of the Dead-style, wailing about 'Broken Britain' and 'the cracks in our society'. David Cameron had an excellent chance to be quiet but he too chose instead to "applaud The Sun for bringing this to public attention". Needless to say in the meantime the tabloid's circulation benefitted considerably, with The Sun's website jumping from number 5 to number 1 in the online charts and who gives a monkeys about any code of practice or Alfie's family.

Fast forward to the last 48 hours, and it's officially emerged that Alfie was never the father anyway. A DNA test proves that the whole fuss had been over nothing. The Mirror were the first to report it, but a gag order forced them to pull the item from their website, perhaps to spare The Sun and David Cameron some hefty embarrassment. However, look at the Mirror's URL you'll get the general idea. And, like it's often the case with the net, by the time the injunction came to pass, the news had already reached all parts of the world.

From the US, Thailand and Australia, there are now plenty of reports that a 'DNA test proves babyfaced Alfie not the dad'.

So here's what Cameron should have said. "Let's applaud the Sun for bringing their greed and ineptitude to public attention".


Emiliano said...

Just goes to show how today's media sets up the 'stories' deliberately, making 'celebrities' out of nothing and falsely reporting for the sake of circulation. How misleading reports and outright lies are not punishable by law is beyond me.

Uponnothing said...

A huge amount of Mail columnists should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for the way they jumped on this story as evidence of 'broken Britain'. Melanie Phillips claimed it was a perfect example of how all youth have been destroyed by New Labour.