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A new kind of battle of the sexes

The British news media were scrambling Thursday to explain their error in reporting the birth of a baby to pop star Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather

“It’s a Boy! Exclusive -- Macca baby a month early!” the Daily Mirror pronounced about Tuesday’s blessed event, using McCartney’s nickname and bursting with as much pride as if its editors had been the midwives.

Within moments, the news was bouncing digitally across Britain: onto the BBC, the Reuters and Associated Press wire services, and London’s Evening Standard commuter newspaper. All blared the story of the McCartneys’ new son. None bothered to check it out.

Last laugh on the bass player. “Heather and Paul McCartney are delighted to announce the birth of their baby daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney,” the couple said in a statement issued Thursday morning.

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“We have an excellent scoop, and we are sticking by our story,” Mirror editor Piers Morgan responded, with tongue presumably in cheek. “It’s all very well for McCartney to say he has had a girl, but we need photographic evidence.”

The more establishment BBC chose to be humble. “Clearly we were overtaken by enthusiasm for the happy event, and we were a bit quick out of the blocks,” a spokesman said.

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Bruce Wallace

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