Newscasters should be your friends: well, actually, I’m not at all sure if this is true. They pop up in your life night after night, but it’s a bit mad to smile back at them or wave goodnight when they say “see you tomorrow”. So is it a problem being pleased when the WORST FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT IN UK TV HISTORY announces he’s hanging up his mic to devote more time with his “young family”? I disliked his breezy complacency – “Daily I mingle with these who make nations shudder,” his tone shrieked – when it was pretty clear his journalistic footwork consisted of no more than reading the US mainstream dailies and mulching up a bland digest. OK, but it’s not so hard to use bad reporting as a partial source: you just put your own careful quotemarks round the information likely to be weak, and extrapolate. The problem with Channel 4’s David Smith wasn’t his utterly credulous lack of gumption as a hack, it was his VOICE and (worse) his UNVARYING MENU of WOODEN HAND GESTURES!! When a fifth-rate comedian’s shtick begins to enrage everybody, they stop getting work (or get safely boxed off into their own sitcom, where you quickly know to avoid them): but the ghastly tics of newscasters we are forced to endure a lot longer, it seems (cf also their idiotic continuity devices: the CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BLOODY NODDY SHOT STARTED 16 years ago ppl!).

Anyway what I’m saying is this, apparently: I don’t really mind being propagandised at by proxy, as long as the mouthpiece is a competently artful charmer. Go ahead and rook me brazenly, but don’t insult the canons of my taste!