"Potter can speak Parseltongue . . . There were a lot of attacks on students a couple of years ago, and most people thought Potter was behind them after they saw him lose his temper at a dueling club and set a snake on another boy. It was all hushed up, though. But he's made friends with werewolves and giants too. We think he'd do anything for a bit of power."
-- Draco Malfoy via Rita Skeeter (GF31)
"Albus Dumbledore should surely consider whether a boy such as this should be allowed to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. Some fear that Potter might resort to the Dark Arts in his desperation to win the tournament, the third task of which takes place this evening."
-- Rita Skeeter (GF31)
Headline for Rita Skeeter’s article in the Daily Prophet on the morning of the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament in 1995 (GF31).
- The article was about the effect of Harry's scar on his state of mind, as it began to give him pain more often while preparing for the Triwizard Tournament in fourth year.
- Rita Skeeter interviewed healers at St. Mungo's Hospital who suggested the pain was not real, but merely a "plea for attention" (GF31).
- Draco Malfoy gave an interview for the article, referring back to the attacks in second year when the Chamber of Secrets was opened, and implying that Harry's ability to speak Parseltongue was a sign that he was power-happy (GF31). He also mentioned that Harry was friendly to werewolves and giants, meaning Professor Lupin from third year, as well as Hagrid, who was only half-giant. Draco and the other Slytherins laughed in the Great Hall as they watched Harry read the story in the Daily Prophet.
- Backing up Draco's theory was an unnamed member of the Dark Force Defense League, who said being a Parselmouth might make Harry an "evildoer," and "anyone who seeks out the company of such vicious creatures as werewolves and giants would appear to have a fondness for violence" (GF31).
- The only way Skeeter could have known about the scar pain was by "bugging" the North Tower during Harry's Divination class because he opened the window to get some air when he felt unwell, and heard an insect buzzing (GF29). Thanks to the article, Hermione figured out that Skeeter was an illegal Animagus insect - a flying beetle (GF31, GF36). She later trapped the journalist in a jar so she couldn't transform, and the following year used the secret knowledge to blackmail Skeeter into writing a glowing article about Harry for The Quibbler (OP25).
Skeeter's article was dangerously close to the truth about Harry's scar, which contained a soul-bit from Lord Voldemort and was hurting during the Triwizard Tournament as the Dark Lord grew in strength, just as Snape and Karkaroff felt his return through their Dark Marks. However, the pain was not a "plea for attention," nor a sign that Harry was a Dark wizard. Draco mentioned another piece of the scar-puzzle, which was Harry's Parseltongue ability that came from Tom Riddle's lineage in the Gaunt family, but the rest was uncalled-for slander about his friendships with Hagrid and Lupin (the giant and the werewolf) .
Rita was so busy buzzing around bugging Harry that she missed the much bigger story: Mad-Eye Moody was actually Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise due to Polyjuice Potion. Crouch had escaped from Azkaban with the help of his father, a Ministry Official, but his loyalty was only to Voldemort, and he rigged the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament to send Harry (and unfortunately poor Cedric) straight to the graveyard in Little Hangleton, into the clutches of the Dark Lord.