Yesterday the Associated Press published an article about Kate Middleton and Prince William's surprise visit to Northern Ireland. There's no mention of why they were there, or what they did, because the entire focus of article is whether or not Kate Middleton is too skinny.
For several months the tabloids have been publishing items about Kate Middleton slimming down before her wedding, like the Radar Online story about her grueling "Wedding Dress Workout." This type of bullshit exposé on celebrity eating and exercise habits is de rigueur for the tabloids. We don't expect a story with as much journalistic merit as "best and worst beach bodies" from the Associated Press.
In the article, reporter Gregory Katz reveals he has the ability to perform full medical exams by staring at photos. He writes:
In front-page newspaper photographs, Middleton appears to be in good health if slightly slimmer than usual, but reporters heard many in the Belfast crowd of well-wishers on Tuesday making comments that she looked a bit gaunt.
To be fair, it seems the AP story was prompted by catty comments from onlookers and a woman in the crowd who told Kate "not to lose any more weight." She was quoted in hundred of newspaper articles, as apparently the future princess' diet is far more interesting than Wills flipping pancakes with kids. But rather than just publishing the quip, the AP did a full investigation of issues surrounding Kate's weight. There's an off the record quote from one of Prince Charles' press aides, analysis of the "handful" of people who Tweeted about her weight, and insight from a wedding planner on the phenomenon of brides-to-be trying to slim down.
Finally, there's faux concern from a nutritionist who doesn't treat the star:
Nutritionists who deal with eating disorders - like the bulimia that plagued William's mother, the late Princess Diana - say it is usually fine for prospective brides to diet before their weddings as long as they don't try to lose too much weight, which can create an unhealthy "yo-yo effect" when the pounds are put back on before the honeymoon is over.
But nutritionist Amanda Hamilton said Middleton should be careful.
"She's already slim enough so I would have concerns over that," Hamilton said. "Anyone would look at her picture and ask why does she have to lose weight. She looks fantastic. She's on the very slim end of what would be considered healthy. She's not in the danger zone, I don't think ... but she doesn't have any weight to lose."
Oh right. Remember how Princess Diana started struggling with bulimia shortly after she got engaged? There were other issues that contributed to Diana's eating disorder, but being referred to as pudgy in the press certainly didn't help. Kate isn't mystically doomed to follow Diana's path and she isn't going to catch an eating disorder from being in the royal spotlight. But obviously, despite the public sympathy when Diana went public about her bulimia in the '90s, reporters haven't learned anything about how wrong it is to hound a young women about her weight.