Several media outlets including MSNBC, Fox News and CNN apparently jumped to conclusions in reporting that the man pictured above, who we now know is named Tony Appleton, was the official town crier or royal crier, the Associated Press reported. Appleton read off of a scroll an announcement of the birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s new baby boy George.
But, Appleton wasn’t serving in any official capacity. While he is a town crier in another part of England, he has since told the media that he just “crashed” the celebrations by walking up to the hospital.
“I was not invited,” Appleton told Yahoo. “I just crashed the party.”
From the steps of the hospital where Middleton gave birth, Appleton said, according to IB Times:
“On this day, the 22nd of July, the year 2013, we welcome with honorable duty a future king. The first born of the Royal Highness, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The third in line to the throne. Our new prince is the third great-grandchild of Her Majesty the Queen and the first grandchild of the royal highness the Prince of Wales. May he be long lived, happy and glorious and one day to reign over us. God save the Queen.”
Given his outfit and official sounding statement, the media likely assumed he was there as an official, not as a party crasher.
And at least three media outlets in the U.S. were tricked: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called him “the official town crier of London,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper called him “the royal crier,” and Fox News’ Stuart Varney called him “the town crier,” according to Metro UK.
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Maddow corrected on July 23 what she described as a “royal error” by identifying him as “the official town crier.” Appleton was working “not in any official capacity,” she explained. Check out video of her correction below.
iMediaEthics has written to both CNN and Fox News asking if they will or have corrected their mis-identifications of Appleton. We will update with any responses.
Both outlets have rowed back their reporting, though, by publishing follow-up stories admitting Appleton wasn’t official. With a news report posted on its website July 26, CNN reported that Appleton “was not a part of the Palace’s offical plan.” Likewise, Fox News later reported: “News anchors with Fox News, CNN and MSNBC all mistakenly reported Appleton was making the official announcement of the birth.”
Oddly, Appleton suggested a UK Times reporter helped him pull off his announcement. According to Yahoo, “He said a journalist from the Times newspaper wrote down what he had to say to make sure he stuck to tradition.”
iMediaEthics has reached out to a Times spokesperson seeking more information about Appleton’s claim.
Hat Tip: Jezebel