Welcome, my friends, to this week's edition of The Poisoned Chalice, the column that says nasty things about all those nice people who might soon own Press Gazette. Yikes.
Hi there, the News of the World. How's it hanging? Remember that snidey piece I did back in August accusing you of running a complete load of bollocks as a splash? "Terror Raid Brother In Child Porn Shock", wasn't it? Remember how I said it was "fanciful" and an "utter flyer" planted at the behest of Mr Plod?
Ooh, you didn't like that. An angry email from deputy editor Neil Wallis positively fizzed into the inbox, suggesting that I should "start reading newspapers properly" before I criticise them and that if I did, I might "know which stories are solidly sourced".
Solidly sourced? Yes, wellï¿½ we've all got our tame policemen, haven't we? But let's not linger on past disputes. Let's fast-forward to Friday, when the CPS announced that all charges against Forest Gate beardy Mohammed Abdul Kahar were to be dropped.
It seems that although police had allegedly found 44 indecent images of children on a computer and a mobile phone, experts said that 23 images on the computer could have been inadvertently downloaded and that Mr Kahar would have needed specialist knowledge to have transferred the images found on the phone.
As the CPS said: "There was no evidence that Mr Kahar had possession of, or access to, equipment or the technical knowledge to do so." Although that should really have read "so to do".
Not bad timing for a Sunday paper. And so I turned eagerly to my copy of the News of the World, looking for the honest and thorough follow-up clearing this poor man of all wrong-doing. Alas, despite my central location I must have got one of those early editions that is printed at teatime and shipped out to Cornwall because, dear reader, mention of it there was none. Not a word. Anywhere.
No doubt Mr Wallis will already be composing an angry email pointing out that the story was accorded due attention in the edition of the newspaper that was delivered to his desk. Doesn't really inspire confidence in our supposed standards if you live in Lostwithiel though, does it?
SOME CORNERSTONES of the British press should be beyond ridicule. Take Celia Haddon's Pet Subjects column in the Weekend Telegraph for example. It's informative, entertaining, totally innocuous and does what it says on the tin. Here is where you'll find the animals beloved of the middle classes ï¿½ the talking dogs and singing cats, the tightrope-walking hamsters and the rabbit that does impressions of Ruby Wax.
Celia recently introduced a new service called Rescue Me, an entirely worthy attempt to find homes for abandoned pets. However, I fear that even her seductive prose might prove inadequate when it comes to persuading a family to take on the latest subject. Meet Charlie, the bull terrier and German shepherd cross (pictured). Cross? He looks fucking furious to me.
Would you let this savage beast into your home, even at Celia's beseeching? I think not. I'd rather have dinner with Neil Wallis.
I MAY have given the impression in recent weeks that I think this videocasting stuff we're all being urged to embrace is utter nonsense. I may be about to hedge my bets.
Inspired by a rumour that Queen-to-be Camilla favoured buying her underwear from Marks & Spencer, rather than the previous royal favourite Rigby & Peller, The Daily Telegraph despatched comely fashion writer Rebecca Newman to test drive both stores. This naturally involved being measured and fitted for brassieres.
The piece was illustrated with a very nice picture of the lovely Rebecca, but, better than that, the Telegraph also linked to a videocast of her undergoing the process. Thus disgusted retired Colonels from Tunbridge Wells were able to log on to see Rebecca jiggling her impressive assets (either 30E or 32DD, depending on store) in full colour streaming video.
Splendid stuff, and a great start for that new editor chappie. I'm sure that millionaire media mogul David Sullivan is already keeping a close eye on this rising talent.
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