The Red Lines Page

April 12, 2009

Blind Eye?

Filed under: press,writing — Peter A @ 8:57 pm

Private Eye makes me laugh and groan in equal measure. The latest bit of groaning is at Eye TV in issue 1232, where curmudgeonly critic “Remote Controller” grumbles about the motivations of people working on this year’s Comic Relief. Assuming it’s the same “Remote Controller” who grumbled about previous charity telethons, at least he’s consistent. Or, possibly, she is consistent.

At one point, “Remote Controller” asks for more information from the production team “in the interests of full editorial disclosure”. The irony must escape him. Or possibly her.

The same is true of the annual palaver from the Eye‘s pseudonymous literary correspondent. “Bookworm” is fond of pointing out when people in publishing write glowing reviews of books by their friends and relations, or trash things published by their rivals. “Bookworm” can spot them because they use their real names, so if they’re daft enough to “log-roll” then you can catch them out. What we can’t know, because the Eye correspondent is anonymous, is whether “Bookworm” could have any ulterior motives himself. Or herself.

There seem to be only two regular Private Eye correspondents who have real by-lines. Craig Brown writes an amusing Diary pastiche of celebrity journalism. And Victor Lewis-Smith provides Funny Old World which is… er… a selection of newspaper clippings provided by Eye readers.

In the interests of full editorial disclosure, perhaps we could know who “Remote Controller” is? Surely TV and book reviews are opinions, not news exposés that require Deep Throat anonymity. It’s the sort of thing the magazine would mock in others, and it’s a strange blind spot for the Eye.

I did once e-mail the Eye, asking whether there might be a conflict of interest if someone criticising TV presenters was himself (or herself) a TV presenter, and they replied: “Yes, we’ll watch out for that.”

So, that’s all right, then.

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