February 11th, 2012
Sometimes I think Marina Hyde is wasted on the Guardian's Lost in Showbiz column. Then she writes a piece like Abu Qatada's weight and the showbizification of terror and I realise she's exactly where she needs to be, doing $DEITY's work:
[The Daily Mail...] is distressed the corporation should regard "extremist" as a value judgment best avoided in news reports, where "radical" would do. But more than that, it seems, they are incensed at the Beeb's guidance on Qatada's present dimensions, despite the fact it was clearly only given to ensure current rather than out-of-date stock pictures are used. "BBC staff have also been advised against using images of the preacher looking fat," the paper shrieks to its readers. "He is apparently now much slimmer than he used to be."
"Apparently"? Now come, come, Daily Mail. This disingenuity does not become you. I put it to you that you knew very well indeed that Qatada had slimmed down – just as you are aware of even minuscule cellular changes in the adipose layers of everyone from Cheryl Cole to third-tier government ministers to babies such as Harper Beckham, who are only one whitewashed inquiry into press standards away from being described as "pouring their curves" into romper-suits and the like.