Matthew Norman's Media Diary

A 'Mirror' that makes rocks disappear

I've put this off for as long as humanly possible, not least because it requires a statement of interest after the fashion of my colleague Stephen Glover, but the time finally comes to consider the Daily Mirror's political coverage. All that endless "Tory Toff" stuff, trotted out day after day by all the columnists, is a minor irritant, and one can even sympathise with the continuing deification of Gordon Brown. After all, denial is the instinctive self-defence to the sight of the animal you've been heavily backing since it was a two-year-old travelling in reverse a couple of furlongs after leaving the Epsom stalls. But when the propagandising infects the handling of a news story regarded as splash-worthy by all self-respecting media outlets, higher ethical standards are expected. And so to the Mirror's coverage of the nationalisation of Northern Rock a week ago. Far be it from me to question the news judgment of editor Richard Wallace, who very sensibly sacked me as a columnist soon after becoming editor (that was the Gloverian declaration), but you'd have expected some reference might be on the front page. Or failing that, a report on page two. Or even page 4, 5, 6 or 7. Or at least that the leader writers would have a thought or two to say on page 8. Not a bit of it. Pages 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,14, 15 and 16 slipped by, until the weary trek for any reference ended on page 17, where a sub-headline placed all the burden on Alistair Darling in the affected belief that such decisions have anything to do with him. Dear, dear, dear, this is precisely the tactic used in defence of Tony Blair by The Sun and The Times, which routinely ignored or buried stories damaging to him. We expect no less from Murdoch titles, but the Mirror comes from a different tradition and surely can do better than this. The barest minimum of professional self-respect cannot be too much to ask



* Not everyone agrees, and writing in PR Week Gordon's old sidekick Charlie Whelan certainly didn't. Charlie argued that since GMTV, which is "more in touch with real people than the BBC", also declined to lead bulletins with the nationalisation, axiomatically it couldn't be a major concern to the PM after all. In fact huge job losses and Gordon throwing a failed bank a £110bn subsidy on behalf of the taxpayer constitutes nothing more than esoteric chattering classes dinner party twittering.



* On the strength of that intervention, Charlie is installed as 100-30 second favourite for the vacant editorship of the New Statesman, where Gordon's other friend Geoffrey Robinson cements his reputation as the most gifted magazine proprietor since Mohamed Al Fayed revived Punch. This may prove one of those baloney things, but the early favourite is my old friend Paul Johnson, an 11-4 chance with Hills and BetFred. Paul edited the Statesman in the 1960s, long before becoming "Ronald Reagan's favourite historian", but is now contemplating a reverse lurch back towards the left. After those two it's 7-1 about reticent acting editor Sue Matthias, with a clutch of hopefuls including Martin Bright, Martin Kettle, Martin "Chariots" Offiah, Sir Gerald Kaufman and recently deposed ITV sports anchor Jim Rosenthal all on 12-1. It's 16-1 bar those, while Mr Robinson's preference for a telegenic editor is behind the week's only big market mover, Lily Allen being slashed from 66-1 to 18s.



* How depressing to note Natasha Kaplinsky denigrating her own profession, by expressing her bemusement at being paid £1m per annum to read whatever passes for the news on Five. As I'm getting fed up of saying, there is nothing remotely facile about the art form known to kindergarten students around the world as "reading out loud", and Natasha's muted angst demeans a noble and underrated profession. She's let the viewers down, she's let the station down, and second worst of all she's let herself down. Worst of all, she's let Huw Edwards down. Poor show.

* Can anyone not be a little moved by Radio 1's reaction to the imprisonment in Dubai of its drum and bass DJ Grooverider? "He has made a serious mistake," declares the station, "and is paying a very heavy price." What, four years for possession of 2.13 grams of hash (almost enough for one flimsy joint) is a very heavy price? Ya think? No doubt the audience the station targets by hiring the likes of Mr Grooverider, Pete Tong and the rest will agree about the gravity of the error, and we anticipate this hard line being reinforced by the introduction of mandatory random drug testing for all Radio 1 employees. In the meantime, let's congratulate Radio 1 for showing such support to a freelance – the press were thoughtfully notified of his employment status – who worked for it for barely 10 years. You just can't buy loyalty like that.

* Tremendous news, finally, that coltish Times number cruncher Peter Riddell is on a panel of experts investigating allegations of funny business involving Ken Livingstone and the misuse of opinion polling data. It was Peter, you may recall, who wrote The Times's splash affecting to believe that David Davis was poised to beat David Cameron shortly before the Tory leadership election – a wilfully eccentric interpretation of data which some mischievously suggested was designed to resuscitate the transparently doomed campaign of Downing Street's dream opponent. Good to see the polling community overlooking that fiasco.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

BI Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency in Central Lo...

DBA

£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: DBA, London,...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform