The Feral Beast: And finally ... Sir Trevor broadcasts his wholesome habits
Sunday 27 January 2008
Newspaper Suggestions that Sir Trevor mcdonald missed an appointment with the PM after a 'News at Ten' party were rubbished by ITN. But why no writ? Sir Trev appears to have opted to restore his credibility by hammering home his clean-living credentials to anyone who will listen, including co-presenter Julie Etchingham. "I've lost count of the times he's told me he's been in the gym, or on the tennis court," she moans in the 'New Statesman'.
Good week for
Twitter, the so-called micro-blogging site, which is fast making Facebook seem a thing of the past. Users post updates about themselves in messages no more than 140 words long, which are then transmitted by text or email. Twitter has now become a vital part of the US election campaign trail for candidates, aides and journalists briefing each other, and for hacks filing bulletins directly to websites. So far it is only popular in schools over here, but expect micro-journalism to kick off with the May elections.
Bad week for
John Gibson, the Fox News talkshow host, who was forced to issue an apology after making bizarre remarks following the death of Heath Ledger. Gibson began his live radio show with a funeral anthem and described the actor as a "weirdo" and made apparently homophobic remarks, although Ledger wasn't gay. Complaints forced the normally bumptious Gibson to offer his apologies to "anyone offended".
Nanny knows best
Hacks at westminster are being driven to despair by the new, nannyish canteen in the House of Commons press gallery. Officials have imposed a menu which last week featured root-vegetable soup and tofu. A rebellion late last year saw the reintroduction of bacon sandwiches but, the chefs have been told they cannot use white bread. Instead the sarnies come in a ciabbata, with rocket salad. "The bins here are full of uneaten salad," I'm told.
Meet the old Neighbour
Five is celebrating becoming the new home of Australian soap 'Neighbours' with – you guessed it – a barbie. The channel will broadcast its first episode on 11 February after the BBC last year decided it wasn't worth the £300m being asked by Fremantle Media for the rights. The coup for Five, which is also owned by Fremantle, and already airs rival Aussie soap 'Home and Away', is being marked by a Soho party hosted by mainstay Harold Bishop.
Fawkes is a damp squib
It should have been his finest hour. As the anonymous blogger who broke the Peter Hain story, Guido Fawkes had every reason to revel in Hain's resignation. But fans were disappointed to see him break cover on 'Newsnight', under his real name Paul Staines. Now that he has unmasked himself, it seems unlikely Guido will enjoy the stream of hot tips. "The point of Guido was that he was anonymous," bemoans a Westminster insider.
Shadow over Wade's 'Sun'
Claims by 'Sun' editor Rebekah Wade that there is little interference from its proprietors did not impress the House of Lords Communications Committee, which is looking into media ownership. The diary hears that it is "not impossible" that the report will question the quality of the evidence given by some witnesses.
Dud 'Paris Match'?
Quelle horreur! The whiff of change is in the air at 'Paris Match', the French mag famous for its mix of war reports and celebrity photos. After 60 years, its catch line, "The weight of words; the shock of photos" has been ousted by the meaningless "Life is a true story". Owners Hachette Filipacchi may be unwise to tamper too much – 2007 sales were up 14.3 per cent.
Test for Fraser's loyalty
Fraser Nelson was one of the first pundits to be scrambled by Sky News as Peter Hain resigned. The young spark was billed as political editor of 'The Spectator', although he receives most of his income from the 'News of the World'. Nelson's career owes much to Andrew Neil, who gave him the 'Spectator' job. Nelson is also political ed of 'The Business', Neil's struggling weekly rag. But for how long will he be loyal?
Better late than never: liberal praise for Whitehouse
A new book, 'Media and Values', claims that the broadcast media no longer feels obliged to provide moral guidance. Reviewing it in the next issue of 'Prospect', John Lloyd notes the resistance of Mary Whitehouse (left) to the rise of a counter-culture in the 1960s. "She will have a thrill of celestial schadenfreude at the finding that 'what one witnessed in the focus groups was a cultural dismay, and a dismay at culture. People could not understand, nor give meaning to, the moral organisation of contemporary society.'" Lloyd is a liberal commentator and ex-editor of the 'New Statesman'. So it is perhaps with one eyebrow cocked that we read his conclusion: "Whitehouse was right, but there is nothing to be done, except keep afloat as best we can."
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