The feral beast: Straining credibility to the Max - Press - Media - The Independent

The feral beast: Straining credibility to the Max

As editor of The Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard, Max Hastings was known for his direct manner.

How surprising then to read in the Daily Tel online that he has embarked on a new career in spin: an article referred to "PR guru Max Hastings", and quoted him opining at length on the PR disaster of William Hague's statement last week. Such a brave departure from his home turf of fishing and military history deserves congratulation, but just as we reached for the phone the article was amended to read "PR guru Max Clifford."

How many returns?

The Times was the only paper to include Moira Stuart in its list of notable birthdays on Thursday, confidently announcing she is 61. This must be news to her, as when she was sacked from the BBC in 2007 she was reported to be 55, meaning she has aged six years in three. Some journalists suggested that her real age then was 57, but Stuart refused to comment. If they were right, she would now be 60. So how old is she, and how does The Times know?

Fighting hacks with hacking

The New York Times has been sitting on its investigation of Andy Coulson and phone-hacking at the News of the World for several weeks, so what made it publish this weekend? Could it be because the new Vanity Fair – out on Tuesday – has an article about Rupert Murdoch's war on the NYT? Publishing after them might have looked like childish retaliation.

Saying the wrong stuff

Channel 5 is celebrating the 10th birthday of The Wright Stuff, its breakfast chat show, with a special show this Thursday, revisiting 10 years of japes and scrapes. No doubt it will find time to revisit the high point in 2002, when Matthew Wright accidentally revealed John Leslie was the anonymous rapist in the autobiography of Ulrika Jonsson.

Hazy memories of Myrobella

"Blair home number nine" shrieked a Telegraph headline last weekend, over a report that the Blairs had bought a £1m maisonette for their daughter, Kathryn.

But wrongly included in the inventory of their empire was the Blair's former constituency house in Trimdon, County Durham. As anyone who knows anything about the Blairs will remember, they sold Myrobella the minute Tony quit as an MP and no longer had to pay lip service to his northern mining constituency.

Bottled: The scent of a scoop

As News of the World execs start sweating again over phone-hacking allegations, there's good news from The Sun, which has – why? – launched its own perfume. Respected perfumier Roja Dove has admitted creating the scent, called "Buzz", which claims to "bottle the essence of pure entertainment". "Entertainment comes in many guises," he trills, " but the one thing it should do is leave us buzzing with happy memories." Yuk.

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