September 28, 2008
The Feral Beast
Intriguing to see Sir Richard Branson - so often mocked by the 'Daily Mail' - given a two-page spread to plug his book. Could the coverage have anything to do with the apology written two days earlier under a letter from Sir Richard complaining about being misquoted? The serialisation must have been the icing on the cake.
After 'The Sun' sponsored a conference debate, "Broken Britain", the 'Daily Mirror' ran a leader retorting "Broken Britain is a ridiculous Tory slogan". It's true the phrase is associated with Dave, but history records he didn't coin it. On 16 May 2006 a paper declared: "Broken Britain has to be fixed." The paper? The 'Sunday Mirror'.
Boris Johnson "risked angering thousands of Londoners struggling to cope during the economic crisis by defending wealthy bankers", so said Pippa Crerar, City Hall editor at the 'Evening Standard', contriving a story out of Johnson's weekly 'Telegraph' column. But it wasn't just Boris. The lead op-ed in that day's 'Standard' was headlined: "Let's not kid ourselves - we need the money men". Elbow and arse anyone?
The series of free booklets from 'The Guardian' last week included the indispensable "How to write journalism". Among the nuggets of advice was this pearl from demon interviewer Lynn Barber: "Never waste time asking for information that you could have found on Wikipedia."
Runcie sees red
Griff Rhys Jones has been examining his temper in a BBC doc, 'Anger'. His producer, James Runcie, son of the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, has displayed some hot-headed tendencies himself. In 2000 he left the BBC after it refused to commission him for a film about his father. Now freelance, Runcie still seems to have "issues". On his website he says of one of his short stories: "It was published in some kind of Dragon School Book which they never sent me or thanked me for because it's the kind of school that thinks it's the highlight of your life just to go there." Calm down, dear!
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