Media: The Word On The Street

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The Independent Culture
IT'S NICE to know that in this world of moral relativism some things don't change. Like the old-fashioned and blinkered world view of The Daily Telegraph. The journalist Sarah Helm and her partner Jonathan Powell, who is Tony Blair's chief of staff, have just had their second child. Powell's secretary called the Telegraph's births, deaths and marriages to place the announcement. "Harrumph" came the fuddy-duddy reply: "We cannot accept a child with two surnames." This is what is widely known as a euphemism: only married people, it seems, have children in the pages of The Daily Telegraph.


TIM ALLAN, BSkyB's PR man, showed the benefit of his training in rapid rebuttal PR with the Labour Party, when the Manchester United decision was announced last week. Along with BSkyB's response - "We are still a great business... can't think why we wanted Man U in the first place... ooh no, we're all fine, honest..." - came a huge eight-page document containing 16 positive testimonials about BSkyB's plans. Business journalists' glowing remarks about the deal in print were blended with supporting statements from Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton. As PR they made pretty pointless reading given the death of the deal. But if the Government had handed United to Sky, they might have been just what was needed to calm down some of the rage that would have followed. Which is no doubt what they were meant for. Oh hubris.


REVENGE IS a dish best served cold, as the International Olympic Committee is finding at the hands of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings. The IOC successfully sued Mr Jennings in Switzerland for writing about IOC corruption, a few years ago, and has been banning him from its press conferences. Now that the phrase "Olympic ideal" has come to be understood as standing for "a few thousand, untraceable, in a brown envelope", Mr Jennings's time has come. This week he flies to Washington to give evidence to the Senate hearings into Salt Lake City's bid for the Winter Olympics. This is more than Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC president, has deigned to do. And yes Mr Jennings is feeling vindicated. And a tiny bit smug.