Matthew Norman: The happy union of Marx and Enoch

I am overjoyed to report not only that the neo-Cromwellian ambitions of Simon Heffer thrive, but that in pursuance of them he has formed potentially the most significant left-right axis Britain has known for more than 60 years.

Matthew Norman: Bloggers, lend me your smears

In journalism, as elsewhere, the ability to hold one's nerve underfire is a rare quality, and must never be allowed to pass uncommended. So a rousing bravissimo to Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror for staying so calm following his exposure as an apparent potential piston in the Damian McBride/Dolly Draper smear machine.

Matthew Norman: Mel’s mad blog is balm for the anguished soul

In these irredeemably dismal times, all I can honestly do is ask you – beg you on all fours, in fact, hands grasping your knees in frenzied imprecation – to take advantage of the finest non-chemical upper available to humanity.I refer, of course, to Melanie Phillips’s Spectator website-hosted blog. Prolific beyond belief, the words gushing forth and overflowing in the manner of a paranoiac Niagara, here Mad Mel redefines an ancient relationship. Where once and for centuries it was the deranged reader who would bombard the journalist with incredibly detailed and frighteningly opaque conspiracy theory diatribes, Melanie flips the tradition on its head. If her recent thoughts on President Obama’s ambition to destroy Israel is choice enough (which is, of course, why Obama chose an avowed Zionist, Rahm Emanuel, for his chief of staff), her work on MMR and autism is choicer. I can’t pretend to understand fully the recent posts on The Sunday Times’s Brian Deer, who has led the way in revealing the disastrously and perhaps dishonestly flawed research with which Dr Andrew Wakefield caused the measles epidemic, with a little help from certain media friends. But then I’ve read them just the seven times, so very early days. Even so, the gist of MM’s argument appears to be that, because his original reporting led the General Medical Council to investigate Dr Wakefield, by returning to a story “in which he was effectively a principal player…”, Mr Deer is guilty of “a clear conflict of interest and breach of journalistic standards”. It’s an intriguing and novel theory, this idea that unveiling a scandal is an automatic disqualification on ever returning to it in print. But whether we agree or not (and who knows, there may be a counter-argument buried somewhere), nothing can diminish our admiration for one who contributed herself to a needless medical crisis by credulously parroting Wakefield’s gibberish in the Daily Mail, and now accuses someone instrumental in exposing a scandal not just of lacking objectivity, but of serious professional malpractice. But don’t take my word for it. Just go to the blog, and scoop up a dollop of this limitless supply of balm for the anguished soul.

Matthew Norman: Press watchdog bites back at toothless claim

It is with some distress that we turn to the unseemly spat between the Media Standards Trust and Sir Christopher Meyer, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. Sir Christopher took deepest umbrage, you may recall, at the report in which the Trust dismissed the PCC as a toothless old mutt (I translate "unaccountable and opaque" with a little licence) that nuzzles up to its master and rolls over for a tummy rub.

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