Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We're sooo sorry

And so the Daily Express had published a front-page apology to the McCanns for some of the things they printed, what interested me was the wording which to my mind suggests that the cause was really something like this:

In a down town office in Fleet Street a lowly intern works his way through the backlog of newspapers until

Intern: Oh my; chief!
Chief: What's all the yelling for?
Intern: I've found a story we've published last year that wasn't true.
Chief: That can't be [looks at paper] well I'll be.
Intern: What can we do?
Chief: There's only one thing we can do
[both glance over to big red phone covered by a cheese dish]

Meanwhile in stately Desmond Manor millionaire Richard is educating his young ward Peter in the finer arts of Etruscan architecture when the newsphone rings

Richard (aka The Publisher): Yes chief?
Chief: Publisher we have a problem
Publisher: We'll be right there [puts phone down] quick Editor to the newscar.

[blast of fire and a spinning newspaper and our Dynamite Duo are at Fleet Street]

Publisher: What's the problem chief?
Chief: Well Publisher this fine young intern has brought this to my attention [holds up paper] a front page story with no facts to support it.
Editor: Holy False Headlines.
Chief: The question is what do we do?
Editor: Can't we just pretend it never happened? It was a whole year ago.
Publisher: Shame on you old chum, we're the last guardians of truth, bastions of morality; to leave this story uncorrected we are deceiving the honest readers who have bought this paper out of their hard-earned wages and who rely on us to educate and inform them.
Editor: Gee sorry Publisher I just wasn't thinking.
Publisher: No there's only one solution to this - a front page apology and as soon as possible.
Chief: Now why didn't I think of that - Publisher you've done it again.
Publisher: Just doing what any honest publisher would do chief.

Of course no mention of the fact that the McCanns were thinking of starting libel proceedings. As someone said "Do you think they'd have published an apology if they thought they had any chance of winning a court case?"