Matthew Norman: The ghouls, the narcissist and top jobs at CNN

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The Independent Online

With questions raised about the ghoulishness with which the media covered Raoul Moat's final days, a word of praise for two leaders of this frantic festival of broadcast Americana. Kay Burley, the Walter Cronkite du jour who so skillfully downplayed the horrors of 9/11 ("If you're just joining us, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated ..."), added to her portfolio of triumphs on Sky News. She asked a criminologist: "Living rough for a narcissist must be tricky?" Well, it must. So hard to find a full length mirror. Speaking of narcissism, hats off to John Inverdale. With so sensitive a breaking story, what you really want at the helm is the sports guy, and John's transition from sipping Pimm's with Boris Becker at Wimbledon to spearheading Radio 5 Live's midday show was seamless. Watching the live feed from Rothbury, he touched on the paradox that, in the midst of all the horror, it looked so sleepily picturesque. "It's almost," he said, "like a scene from Midsomer Murders." He lost it for a bit after that, the sound of blood whooshing to his cheeks clearly audible, but recovered his sangfroid so well that he is said to be CNN's top target this autumn.

* I am shocked to the precipice of an ague by the ingratitude of Charlie Whelan towards Lord Mandelson. With that book out on Thursday, Charlie unleashes a pre-emptive strike against any criticism of his master, Gordon Brown, by accusing Mandy of neglecting the election campaign in favour of writing the memoir (plainly untrue; he pushed himself close to a coma), and blaming him, solely, for the defeat. Charlie forgets that it was thanks only to Mandy crushing coups that Gordon survived to insult Mrs Duffy, and that he worked the news networks like a maniac after the greatest catastrophe known to Rochdale since the death, from leaf rot, of Gracie Fields' aspidistra. The least he might expect from Charlie, Ed Balls and that cabal of Brownite diehards is a smidgeon of loyalty. The poorest of shows.

* Thanks to the Huffington Post for highlighting the most startling news of its kind since Bobby Charlton abandoned the comb-over. In a double-pronged style assault, Rupert Murdoch has jettisoned the hair dye (Jewish Granny Russet, on my Dulux chart) and shaved off the wispy strands on top. He unveiled the transformation (a bit Greg Dyke) at the annual retreat for News Corporation execs in Sun Valley, looking not only butcher, but far less wrinkled and Davros-like than a year ago. No doubt a trick of the light.

* Quote of the Week goes to Lord Triesman, who on Friday spoke against Lord Lester's Bill aimed at making our libel laws less insanely draconian. Surprisingly, the victim of the Mail on Sunday sting that cost him the FA chairmanship feels the law is weighted in favour of newspapers. It's a richly original view, and we all enjoy one of those from onetime New Labour apparatchiks. "I rise not because of recent events," he began, "and I hope that will be recognised." So it will, Lord Triesman, so it will.

* A word of advice to Jana Bennett, the New York-born BBC "director of vision". Jana, if you must rant about Mark Thompson's handling of the publicising of star salaries, do it in relative private ... face to face with the confidant, perhaps. We can all see how Thommo's spinelessness would get on your wick, but it's not wise to air grievances to a colleague sat in a cab with his mobile switched to speakerphone (for years, Sir David English used drivers from the Daily Mail contract firm to plant false rumours). Watch yourself, Jana. All things pass.

* Following his success as an ITV World Cup pundit, Edgar "Giggles" Davids is believed to be forming a comedic team with top satirist Melanie Phillips. This will be the first double act with two straight men since Punt and Dennis finally got funny.