Daily Star journalists in not making it up shocker.
It can also on occasion add insight into recent news stories. Remember the story last year of the community support officers that did nothing to save a child from drowning which caused a furore? It was only after the hubbub had calmed down that the Greater Manchester Police complained about the coverage in the Star and the Sun, resulting in the clarification that made clear that the community support officers had arrived several minutes after the boy, Jordon Lyon, had disappeared from view, and not before, and that rather than doing nothing to help, they had instead directed other emergency services to the scene, with an officer arriving at the scene within 5 minutes of their getting there. Greater Manchester Police also complained about the actions of journalists on the Daily Telegraph, a case which went to adjudication before it was not upheld.
None of the above however really applies to a case today which caught my eye, involving one of this blog's favourite celebrities, Ms Peaches Geldof.
Ms Peaches Geldof complained, through Swan Turton solicitors, that the newspaper inaccurately alleged that her Wikipedia page had been amended to claim that she was a transsexual, and that she had reacted to this by angrily emailing her friends.“On March 28 we published an article with the headline, “I’M NOT A TRANNY (AND I’M CERTAINLY NOT HUNG LIKE A DONKEY) SAYS PEACHES”. The article alleged that there had been an update for Peaches Geldof on her online encyclopaedia Wikipedia entry claiming that she was a transsexual, and that she had responded by sending out angry messages to friends to deny the story. We now accept that there was neither any such entry on Wikipedia, and nor was there any of the hysterical reaction by Peaches to the entry as described in the articles. We apologise to Peaches for any distress that the article caused”.
Stories about Wikipedia are easy enough to check because of the history trail which edits to the pages leave behind. We can therefore for instance easily see that someone on the 22nd of March edited her Wikipedia entry to read ''Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof' is a dickhead".
On the day on which the Star reported this amazing news event, we can also see that there indeed were a number of vandalism attacks on Geldof's page. Someone from the IP address 126.96.36.199 (a Sky broadband allocation), changed the opening of the entry to Peaches Geldof -- aka No sense of humour -- and still hung like a donkey & still madly in love with Pablo and Eirah (Ray Charles) Lewis. Later still, someone with the IP address 188.8.131.52, which resolves to an address used by IPC LTD, a media company, and whom has a long Wikipedia edit history, including a very large number of edits to a page on Andrew Sumner, the current publisher director of IPC's celebrity title, Now, made three separate edits to Geldof's entry. These were variously to put that "Geldof is a man...", "She currently lives in her own little world" and that "She has recently been acting like a spoilt brat."
None of this naturally puts it plainly and clearly that Geldof is a transsexual, which is what Geldof, through her solicitors, complained about. They simply took the main edit to imply that she was a transsexual. Nor does it prove by any means that Geldof had emailed her friends to say it wasn't true or that she was angry about it. The headline "hung like a donkey" though certainly was accurate, and some might come to the conclusion that the Star was rather hasty in apologising for something that clearly had happened, despite the subsequent acceptance that any such edits had been made. It might well have been that Geldof had come into contact with someone from IPC (definitely not Andrew Sumner, surely?) who she promptly pissed off, and they edited her page as revenge and then sent on this "news" to the Star, who promptly embellished it further. It might be that the IPC stuff is just a coincidence and a Star hack noticed while looking for some reason at Geldof's Wikipedia page. It might be that Geldof in fact had been complaining to her friends about someone editing her page, and the Star story was completely accurate but decided to say it wasn't after the complaint just to get on with things.
Geldof has had a history with the Star and the PCC: she complained after two stories last year, one which claimed she was to get married in Ibiza and that her father was angry about it and the other that she had insulted Coleen McLoughlin, both of which the Star apologised for and admitted weren't true. The Daily Star of all newspapers though, in not making a story up and apologising where it may not have been strictly necessary? Who would ever have thought it?