Matthew Norman: Beware of the Bangalore Express

It is the deepest instinct of those marooned in the darkest of dark days to search for the light at the end of the tunnel, and with help from The New York Times's Maureen Dowd, I believe I may just have found it.

Matthew Norman: Is this the end of the Fox-Palin affair?

This one, to borrow from the President-elect on the infinitely vexing question of when precisely human life begins, is above my pay grade. So I call on our revered professors of journalism to settle the matter as only they, in all their sonorous wisdom, can. It concerns our friends at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and a conundrum they faced.

Matthew Norman: Pugh, Pugh, Lyons, McGrew...

Diary

Matthew Norman: Crisis vanishes if you look in the Mirror

Not for the first time, it is both a pleasure and duty to congratulate the Daily Mirror on its news judgement. It is the first time, however, that the regular feature Daily Mirror Exclusive of the Week is promoted to the lead item, in tribute to last Wednesday’s splash.

Matthew Norman's Media Diary: Edmonds' last stand – or Nolly's folly?

It is the way of humanity to seek consolation in turbulent times, and of the silver linings visible within these blackest of economic rain clouds the most impressively hallmarked is the increased media presence of Irwin Stelzer. That bristly moustache is almost a fixture on comment pages of The Times and The Daily Telegraph and all over telly – and so it should be when you consider his track record as an economic and political analyst. The triumph of the neo-con movement, of which Irwin is a sprat in America but a whale this side of the pond, speaks for itself. As for his stout opposition to regulating financial markets this is triumphantly vindicated. So no wonder that media outlets adore a seer of seers whose gravitas devolves entirely from his track record, and not one iota from any closeness to his friend, former next-door neighbour and overlord beyond the seas Rupert Murdoch. Now there are those cynics and sneerers who regard Irwin as a slightly less comical version of Woodrow Wyatt – a parasitic useful idiot who runs such trivial errands for his master as passing on the order to Tony Blair to promise referendum on the euro, sends coded messages about Rupert's expectations through columns, and generally acts as the oil that keeps the relationship between News Corporation and our Government adequately greased. I find this portrayal of Irwin as consigliere to Rupert's don, Suslov to his Stalin or Terry McCann to his Arthur Daley most insulting. Whether stoutly defending Enron or lionising Sarah Palin, despite her ignorance of the Bush Doctrine that lies at the heat of his own neo-con philosophy, this is a titanic figure in his own right, and we look to those branches of the media that treasure his work to use him even more. We have much to learn.

Matthew Norman: Planet Marr's sketchy Big Bang slot

If there's one thing about the British media that perplexes me above all others, it's the lack of exposure enjoyed by Andrew Marr. Doubtless this is down to his own fiercely self-effacing nature, because often it feels as if he's slapped a D-Notice on himself, but it's simply nonsense when he has so much to offer. In the last few days alone, apart from his Sunday morning show on BBC1 (David Frost with a dead cool convertible Skoda) and Start The Week, Andy went to Switzerland for the Big Bang experiment, and it is testament to the man's range and breadth of interest that even the anticipated end of the planet couldn't monopolise that powerhouse mind.

Our thanks to the Today programme website for drawing attention to the little thumbnail sketches of the scientists Andy managed to churn out. For those whose appetite for his artistic output wasn't sated by this, he also features in an exhibition entitled What Are You Like? at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, in which he has drawn a few of his favourite things to offer an insight into his soul.

Matthew Norman's Media Diary: Simon Heffer's guide to sexism

A cross the entire range of the media orchestra, is there any more mellifluous a sound than the string-em-up section squealing about the vindictive brutality of the liberal left? I don't believe there is, judging by the symphony of synthetic outrage playing either side of the Atlantic about Sarah Palin. "There are few sights more bloodcurdling than the liberal pack in full cry," writes the Telegraph's Janet Daley – still wearing that dead animal as a hat in the byline photo. "The viciousness of the attacks ..." and so forth. Nimbly manoeuvring to fill the gap left vacant by Andrea Dworkin's demise, Janet sees the wicked hand of sexism in a fairly muted examination of someone who may soon be an aortal aneurism from leading the free world on one giant moose hunt in Iran.

Matthew Norman's Media Diary: Why the hounding of Glitter must stop

And so it goes on, this unutterably obscene danse macabre, as The Sun chases Gary Glitter across the country in what seems ever less mistakably a premeditated attempt to bring about his death by his own hand or that of a reader. "You Can Run But You Can't Hide" was one splash headline last week, which was an oddity given Rebekah Wade's obsession with the subject. You'd have thought she might be aware of something called the Sex Offenders Register, which makes hiding very difficult even for paedophiles whose photos aren't in The Sun every day, but apparently not.

Matthew Norman's Media Diary

So, Arthur Daley is back. Dolly good show!

Matthew Norman: Media Diary

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