Delta Goodrem is having a baby. It’s there, in black and white (and yellow) on the cover of the latest New Idea. Inside the mag, the headline on page 12 reads “Delta Goodrem: I am going to be a mum.”

The story itself is no exclusive. It relied on a December 18 interview in News Corp’s Stellar insert, which itself made the front page of the Sunday Tele, in which Goodrem said, to quote New Idea, “I look forward to that time [when I can become a mum]”. The full quote in Stellar continues with “… but it’s not right now”.

In other words, a New Idea writer saw the quote mention the possibility of motherhood, picked it up, and then snipped out the bit that made it clear Goodrem wasn’t having a baby now. If a gossip rag doesn’t have a good front-page story, it can just make one up.

While News Corp entertainment writer Nick Bond quickly called out the sleight of hand on Twitter, that didn’t stop it being repeated on radio, with KIIS 101.1 not going to the original source for the Goodrem’s full quote.

Of course, it’s far from the first time baby rumours have been attached to the former Neighbours star-turned-pop diva. Like American actress Jennifer Aniston, about whom false pregnancy rumours have moved millions of copies of gossip rags over decades, Goodrem’s womb has proven to be utterly fascinating to Australia’s gossip rags.

In 2014, Goodrem told Woman’s Day she was looking forward to motherhood because she loved kids. The headline: “Delta’s baby shock”. That headline was used in New Idea late last year too (are babies always “shocking”?), after Goodrem posted an Instagram photo of her nephew. Last year, TV Week led an interview with Goodrem with similar positive sentiments on motherhood, even though the songstress’ comments were somewhat non-committal (“If it’s meant to be, then one day it will.”)

Your correspondent is reminded of a line papparazo Ben McDonald gave her late last year on celebrity news: “I’ve never seen a tabloid mag saying they’re a bastion of quality journalism. They’re almost fiction.”

New Idea’s circulation slipped 15.3% in the November audit, but the rag still sold an impressive 211,855 copies. Of course, that’ll be the last circulation figure we’ll ever get for New Idea — owner Pacific Magazines pulled out of the circulation audit just before Christmas. — Myriam Robin

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey