Kim Kardashian: probably not one of Sarah Vine’s loyal readers. Photograph: Antoine Cau/SIPA/Rex Features
• Mail columnist Sarah Vine, aka Mrs Michael Gove, has been criticised for descending to crass personal abuse in a tweeted comparison of Ed Miliband to Kim Kardashian (“he thinks he’s amazing – but all anyone can see when they look at him is an enormous arse”). What was riskier, though, was insulting Kardashian, and by extension a hefty chunk of her own readership, given the reality TV star’s role as reigning queen of Sideboob Alley: far from her showing any sign of losing lustre, a search reveals 1,227 Kim Kardashian results on Mail Online in the past three months alone (average: 13 a day), to which can be added around 500 apiece for Kris, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie. It seems unlikely that MO mainman Martin Clarke thinks of her as just an arse, but he (and others on the Mail) may be increasingly inclined to see Vine as one.
• The friendship between ITV’s television supremo, Peter “Pinch ’Em” Fincham, and Griff Rhys Jones stretches back 30 years, to an apple-cheeked young Fincham joining Griff and Mel Smith’s Talkback in 1985; but it may have been damaged by ITV’s admission that it somehow screened the wrong first episode (Namibia instead of North Africa) of the irascible actor-presenter’s series Slow Train to Africa, and thereby turned a clockwise five-part journey into nonsensical random dashing around. As the network’s investigation proceeds (“we’re looking into how this happened”, a spokeswoman feebly offered last week), Monkey is concerned that fingers may be unfairly pointed again at ex-BBC4 controller Richard Klein, the cerebral ITV factual boss already blamed for earlier underperforming series; and hopes it’s entirely irrelevant to the blunder that Slow Train goes out at 9pm on Fridays, many hours after telly execs traditionally set off for their foreign villas or weekend cottages.
• Monkey’s scoop of the week award goes to Daily Express political editor Macer Hall, who valiantly claimed an “exclusive” tag for a front-page interview with Richard Desmond in which the former New Labour donor “revealed” his £1m donation to Ukip (which prompted Michael Crick to wonder on Channel 4 News who the party’s first peer might be if it gains the right post-election to nominate them). The bogus bravado belied the fact that Hall was humiliatingly scooped himself on this story about (and spoon-fed by) his own proprietor: it first broke as a rumour on Guido Fawkes’s site on Thursday afternoon, sheepishly confirmed by the paper, and by the time TV press reviewers gazed at front pages that night – let alone when the Express plopped onto doormats on Friday morning – its supposedly exclusive splash had already been so widely covered as to seem old hat.
• “Living to fix identity issues”, a headline in the latest issue of Broadcast declares enigmatically, over a piece that turns out to be, not lifestyle advice, but a report on the slumping digital channel Sky Living. How will it fix its identity issues, then? Sky’s high command has apparently decided that the problem is it will insist on making programmes, some of them reflecting a “female-skewed” identity that silly Living was supposed to have said farewell to; and so its commissioning budget will be switched to Sky 1 and it will be merely an outlet for bought-in shows. Nothing has been said so far, though, about branding but Monkey is hopeful the new negative identity will be reflected with the utmost clarity by renaming it Sky Dead, or possibly Sky Comatose.
• The entrepreneur and columnist Luke Johnson, recently poached from the FT by the Sunday Times, has form when it comes to causing trouble via his writings for organisations that employ him. When he chaired Channel 4, for example, he questioned the cult of chief executives (seemingly reflecting his being saddled there, unhappily, with Andy “Begging Bowl” Duncan as chief exec), argued that away-days were a waste of time (two days after Duncan had joined managers on one) and rubbished contemporary art (not long after C4’s HQ took delivery of a bronze Kate Moss statue by the NBA Marc Quinn). After some relatively docile early efforts in the Murdoch-owned title, he showed the first signs last weekend of his old penchant for biting the hand that feeds him. “Let’s break up these lumbering giants”, urged Johnson, in a diatribe against big companies that ended with a call for “the disposals, demergers, unbundlings and break-ups of monolithic corporations”. Was there any particular lumbering giant, say in the media or entertainment sector, you had in mind, Luke?
Sam Delaney’s Mad Men and Bad Men: When Politics Met British Advertising came out in February, and was praised by reviewers for its droll anecdotes told by addled admen about bygone campaign stunts. Buried within it is a moment when Saatchis veteran Bill Muirhead (still in the game as an executive director at M&C Saatchi, the agency responsible for recent Tory ads such as Wrecking Ball) is musing. “I find myself thinking, ‘OK, what are the weapons you’d use against Ed Miliband in an election campaign?’ And, you know, anybody that does that to his own brother, I mean, bloody hell. Imagine what he’d do to the country?” That weapon was indeed used, disastrously, two months later, in Michael Fallon’s infamous “stab in the back” speech arguing Miliband would do to the UK “what he did to his own brother” by cancelling Trident, which raises an obvious question: did the book or the adman himself inspire the personal attack, or was it just a case of Lynton Crosby coincidentally having the same thought? Whatever the answer, it would be sad if the Saatchi exec’s career ended with him walking the plank over an episode widely recognised as the worst backfiring snafu by any party in the campaign to date.
• When George Osborne told Radio Times the BBC should avoid “suffocating local news”, the habitually Beeb-bashing Times (which had earlier seen as sinister a new “find local news” button on the BBC’s revamped website) eagerly took up the cry and amplified it. “The BBC has parked its tanks on local newspapers’ front lawns,” thundered a leader, which invoked Orwell, said the patient in danger of suffocation was “already gasping for air”, and apparently endorsed an MP’s attack on the corporation’s “website imperialism”. Monkey was reminded of an 2010 leader headlined (with a curious lack of self-awareness for a News International paper) Big, Bloated and Cunning, in which alleged “stifling” – “it has planned to expand local news services when local papers are struggling to survive” – was one of the instances cited of BBC monstrosity. The editor when it appeared? James Harding, who now runs the bloated news machine he once lambasted, and has responsibility for the controversial rejigging of the news service on the website.