Last night I watched the BBC Ten O’Clock News and they were confidently running the story that Barack Obama had continued his winning streak by defeating Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire poll.
So you can imagine my confusion when the radio came on this morning with the news that Clinton had actually won the vote.
It means that all the UK newspapers look very silly this morning with pictures of Obama on their front pages, having assumed that pollsters had got it right.
It’s not exactly on a par with the 1948 US election, but it’s the same principle. Back then, Harry Truman was aiming to be re-elected, following WW2 and there was widespread speculation that his use of the H-bomb would end up derailing his campaign.
The vote went down to the wire and the pro-Republican newspapers were so sure that Truman’s opponent, Thomas Dewey, was going to win that they ran front pages like: “Dewey Defeats Truman”. Needless to say, they ended up with egg on their faces.
These sort of mistakes rarely happen nowadays, although the Daily Mirror produced a corker back in 2003.
Before their marriage descended into a public slanging match, you may remember that Heather Mills and Paul McCartney had a baby together. The Mirror, keen to get the scoop ahead of its rivals, proudly proclaimed “It’s A Boy” on its first print run, having got some ‘insider news’.
How silly did they look just a couple of hours later, when the Press Association reported that Paul and Heather were celebrating the birth of their new baby, Beatrice. Yup, that’s right, a girl!