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Paper Monitor

12:21 UK time, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's day three of the Belle de Jour unmasking - and given that day one was a Sunday, rendering day two pretty redundant in the newspaper follow-up stakes, today is when the real fireworks begin.

The Daily Telegraph has been speaking to father of Dr Brooke Magnanti, the one-time call girl and author of the Belle de Jour blog.

When Paper Monitor checked the story on its mobile device on the way into the office this morning - work never stops, don't you know - Magnanti Snr got quite a sympathetic hearing in the paper's interview (here it still is - headline: "Belle de Jour's father: I'm broken-hearted after discovering her past").

He questions on several occasions how his daughter, having been given a decent upbringing, could have strayed into prostitution.

His admission of drug use - which he blames for the severing of relations with his daughter a few years ago - is about all there is to count against him.

But in print (and here on the Telegraph website) it's a different matter entirely - with Paul Magnanti confessing in the Daily Telegraph that he had paid for sex with more than 150 women.

"[I]t may have affected her... I guess she came to the realisation that prostitutes are just people," he reveals.

That's quite a major line for a journalist to have overlooked in the first draft.

But could the Daily Mail offer up some clues here?

It too has spoken to Mr Magnanti, and extracted the "vice girl" confession from him.

Paper Monitor is only speculating, but could it be that when the Telegraph saw the Mail's line it decided to revisit the interview and maybe glean some stronger quotes from Mr M?

Aside from the reporting, the columnists have all piled into this story too. And let's face it - when there's pages of newsprint to fill, it's hard not to morally judge this woman.

There's Bel Mooney in the Mail - "How can such a clever woman be so stupidly naïve about this sleazy world?"

The Telegraph has ex-editor of the Erotic Review, Rowan Pelling, to say, well, never mind Dr Magnanti's prostitution, just admire the prose.

Meanwhile, the Guardian's Tanya Gold is worried that Dr Magnanti - as portrayed by Billie Piper in the ITV2 dramatisation of Belle de Jour's exploits - will distort the "grim reality of prostitution".

Physical assaults, verbal threats, sexual violence - that's the truth about most prostitution, rather than Belle de Jour's varnished experiences.

Good job then they didn't use a picture of La Piper - ever varnished and wholesome looking - to illustrate the piece. Er...

UPDATE 1333 BST: Paper Monitor has just been digesting the Sun's "greatest front pages" supplement as part of the paper's 40th anniversary celebrations. At number one is "Freddie Starr ate my hamster" from March 1986. The paper has lined up Starr who thanks it for "the greatest piece of publicity I've ever had". Only in the small print below the reproduction of the page does the paper acknowledge that the story was "made up by... Max Clifford".

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