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.

Meanwhile, Janet's colleague Simon Heffer sniffs out not only sexism here but another sin that has always been anathema to the Telegraph's egalitarian soul. "Mrs Palin has been the target of sexist and class-based sneering," he regrets. The aggressive male feminist can be an off-putting character, to be honest, but Simon's attack on class-based disdain is spot on. Those who remember how careful he and his Telegraph chums were to avoid sneering at John Major for the garden gnome-making family business and the Teasmade by the bed will be especially impressed. All we need now is for someone to discover that Trig has a lesbian childminder, and next week Richard Littlejohn will be rebuking the liberal left media about the evils of homophobia.

For a slightly more masterly examination of this area, I commend a segment from Jon Stewart's nightly show in which he juxtaposes the thoughts from such beauties as Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly, adding footage of Sarah herself dismissing Hillary's complaints as "whining". You'll find this gleaming gem on the Huffington Post, and it's not to be missed.

Also marching to the feminist banner is my favourite columnist. "She's a real gutsy, good-looking woman," writes Jon Gaunt, "who is truly the epitome of the feminist dream." Ah but she is, though, isn't she? Anti-abortion even in rape cases, anti stronger legislation for equal pay ... she's bang in the middle of the feminist mainstream. "And for the record," he concludes, "if I wasn't married, yes I would." It's an enchanting image, but on balance I'm not sure she'd reciprocate. Gaunty's just that bit too metrosexual, you suspect, with all this anti-sexism whining. Certainly there's nothing remotely Niles Crane about that husband with the snowmobile.

Where rupert Murdoch stands on Palin it is too soon to tell, but such a bleeding heart liberal has the old geezer become that I can't see him sharing Gaunty's lust. In his new Vanity Fair interview he expresses dislike for the hard right, centring on Fox News, so it will be a relief to the likes of Mr O'Reilly that it's never been Rupert's way to impose his world view on employees, as Rebekah Wade was telling a parliamentary committee not so long ago. As for the revelation that he has taken to dyeing his hair an alarming shade of aubergine, the Frasier episode that comes to mind here is the one where Martin Crane, in an optimistic crack at lopping off a couple of decades, has his hair dye melt as he sits by a roaring fire and leaves a hideous, indelible chestnut stain on a white chair. No that there's anything intrinsically amusing about elderly men fighting the ravages of time, of course, even if they are a ringer for Davros regardless of the colour of their hair.

A joy to see Alastair Campbell getting out and about. Last week he was all over the BBC like a syphilitic rash, one minute wheeled on to Newsnight to tell Charles Clarke to shut it, the next presenting a eulogy to Belgian lyricist and singer Jacques Brel on Radio 4. I am aware that not every BBC staffer is thrilled when it pops a few bob in the direction of the man who tried to destroy it, but in a godless world this turning of the other cheek never fails to move me.

I'm saddened by a Daily Mail attack on James Naughtie. In both news story and leader, the paper savages Jim for downplaying Sarah P's barnstormer the other night, contrasting this with his great reverence for Obama. I won't have it. Admittedly Jim was slightly dismissive of Mrs Palin's rather brilliant speech, but let's cut him some slack. He's still the Today programme's top man when it comes to bird song, and there's no need for the Mail incessantly to remind us of that pre-election slip a few years ago when he referred to the Government as "we". Please, please, please can we all move on?

An unsettling spat rumbles on, finally, between Trevor McDonald and the late Reginald Bosanquet. A self confessed "binge drinker" himself (if you regard a bottle of wine after work as a binge and not an aperitif), Trevor's recollection of Reggie being dragged out of the bar just before a bulletin is derided by former colleagues who say that, for all his fabled thirst, he was a true pro. Trevor – stone cold sober, alas, when describing the homecoming John McCarthy's plane as travelling in "a lovely, lovely arc" – says his comments "regrettably would appear to have been taken out of context". Who knew the argot of the faux-apologetic footballer who's been caught telling a paper he wants to go to Spain had infiltrated the infinitely challenging world of reading out loud?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
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

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

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