Matthew Norman's Media Diary

There's no stopping theWall Street shuffle

Shock and awe stalk the US newspaper industry as Rupert Murdoch is accused of telling whoppers by the "independent committee" set up to facilitate his purchase of The Wall Street Journal. I find this hard to believe. Don't these people realise he was once awarded a papal knighthood as "a man of unblemished character"? Apparently not, the five committee members having the impudence to complain about not being consulted, as they had been promised they would be about such decisions, about the removal of WSJ managing editor, Marcus Brauchli, to a sinecure and his replacement with Robert Thomson.

Robert, the dapper Aussie who protected The Times's own fearsome independence from government propagandising during his editorship, has the novel title of "contents editor", one of the two words seemingly redundant. Frankly, I can't see why the Bancroft family, the WSJ's previous owners, were worried enough about Rupert respecting the paper's traditions to insist on this absurd committee in the first place. It is not as if he has any form in the area. I certainly can't recall a similar arrangement to protect The Times and Sunday Times when he bought them, let alone Harold Evans recording how Rupert later dismissed that agreement to abide by the committee's independent decisions as unworthy of the paper on which it was written. These pompous twits on the WSJ committee want to watch their mouths. Their baseless whinings cut no ice with us.

speaking of the Thunderer, it is good to see it striving to become the whole planet's paper of record, and more. The editor, James Harding, has created two exciting correspondent posts, one for Oceans and the other for World Poverty – and that's just the start. James is thought to have plans to extend the paper's reach yet further by appointing an Intergalactic Correspondent, the smart money going on tank top-wearing Saturday editor, George Brock.

The BBC's religious affairs department underscores its reputation for courage with a top secret memo to all Thought For The Day contributors. "Are you increasing tension and emotion in your script for impact – if so, is it justified in the context of what you are writing?" it asks. "How easily could you defend your script if it is challenged by the listener? Is what you are writing likely to cause offence?" And so on. Marvellous stuff. Whether they have the thrillingly provocative musings of Rabbi Lionel Blue in mind more than the thrilling controversialism of Anne Atkins, it is hard to be sure. But this attempt to rein them in pays fitting homage to the tradition of avoiding contention in religious discourse, as established by Jesus, the prophets and others who shied away from challenging the received wisdom of the age. Anyway, there is a limit to how much raw excitement the body can take at a quarter to eight in the morning.

I'm beside myself with glee, on flicking through the latest GQ, to find a lavish spread featuring David Bailey's black-and-white portraits of our most lustrous political figures. The main party leaders are all there, of course, but the eye is drawn to the hacks. And what studies in gorgeousness they are. Top Daily Mirror opinion former Kevin Maguire appears, in what looks very like a Gap shirt the missus gave me for Christmas, with his arms folded in the style of darts star Terry "The Raging Bull" Jenkins doing menace in a Sky Sports trailer. Beside him is The Sun's George Pascoe-Watson, exquisite in a pin-striped jacket and silken tie. The Guardian's Jackie Ashley, a terrific columnist currently waging a painful and losing internal battle to retain an iota of faith in the PM, is also there ... and next to her is The Daily Telegraph's Alice Thomson, flashing a lascivious glance at Bailey's lens. God knows why there was no space for Alice's husband, Ed Heathcoat Amory (whose fabled deconstruction of John Lennon's song 'Imagine' we may revisit shortly). Yet more inexplicable is the absence of the top opinion former, Jon Gaunt. Then again, this is just the kind of metrocentric, skinny latte-sipping snobbery you would expect from a gentleman's magazine. Poor show.

Speaking of Gaunty, as we generally do on a Monday, has he ever been on such form? "Aussie columnist Amanda Platell, the professional irritant who put the B in itch ..." begins one item. A noble effort, Gaunty, but for that gag to have the vaguest chance, there does need to be a "B" in "Itch" in the first place. Do Sun subs ignore this sort of thing in a give-him-enough-rope kind of way, or do they just not care?

As for one of Gaunty's stablemates, Kelvin MacKenzie, hats off to him on his spirited run for Elmbridge Council. Kelvin came second out of three in his ward of Weybridge South with 227 votes, campaigning on the single issue of a protest against a £1.50 hike in the daily parking fee at his railway station. As Kelvin told this newspaper on Friday, this is "a springboard for the future". Indeed, indeed. From the tiniest acorns and all that, and we see no reason why Kelvin shouldn't emulate his fellow media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi. In fact, he might consider changing his party's name from Red Mist, which frankly sounds a little Billy Bragg-Paul Weller for Kelvin's tastes, to Forza Elmbridge!

The inaugural award for Daily Mail Health Scare of the Week goes, finally, to a certain Dr Robert Morris for "Poison In The Kitchen: How Tap Water Could Damage Your Brain, Blind Or Even Kill You". An absolute classic.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas