Media in the Press 9.12.10

In a week where on-air indiscretions have already made headlines – broadcasters, Jim Naughtie and Andrew Marr, both replacing Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s surname with a similar-sounding swear word on Monday – Scotland football manager Craig Levein has been criticised for making a joke about the blind, while commentating on a live football match.

Writes The Scottish Sun (page 23): “Levein shocked listeners when he said West Ham’s Zavon Hines tried to control the ball like ‘a blind man chasing a balloon’.”

The paper reports that Levein – commentating for Radio 5 Live on the West Ham versus Sunderland game on Sunday -quickly corrected himself after making the remark.

Despite the retraction, the Scotland boss has come in for criticism from disability charities. A spokesperson from The Royal Association for Disability Rights is quoted, saying: “Blind men and women achieve more than chase balloons. To minimise disabled people’s achievement in this way is appalling.”

Elsewhere, today’s Scotsman reports that popular talent contest, X Factor, is under investigation by TV watchdog, Ofcom, over concerns that it encouraged viewers to download songs by guest stars, Diana Vickers and Michael Buble.

Writes reporter Sherna Noah: “The media regulator is to examine two episodes of the show. On 17 October, when Vickers – a former contestant – performed, host Dermot O’Leary told viewers: ‘If you want to download Diana’s single, the details are at’”

The paper reports that under broadcasting rules, products and services must not be promoted in TV programmes.

A spokesperson for the show is quoted, saying: “We are aware of the Ofcom investigation. It relates to an on-air reference regarding downloads of a guest artist which were not available on the website. This reference was a result of a script error.”

Meanwhile, The Scottish Sun (page 9) reports that Coronation Street’s live episode – due to air tonight as part of the long-running soap’s 50th anniversary celebrations – is feared to be under threat from an al-Qaeda terrorist attack.

Writes reporter Guy Patrick: “Anti-terror police acting on intelligence are sending extra officers to guard the nation’s favourite soap – which has already hired an army of private security staff.”

A show source is quoted, saying: “More than 15 million are expected to watch the show and the fact it’s going out live makes it an obvious target for maximum impact. Al-Qaeda are desperate to pull off a ‘spectacular’ in Britain. The police are clearly acting on fears that that a strike on Corrie studios is a very real possibility.”

And finally, the Scottish Daily Express (page 7) rounds-up the best excuses given for not owning a television license.

Featuring in the paper’s top ten list is this bizarre explanation for not owning one: “My house was invaded by a squirrel which wee’d on my TV, so now it doesn’t work properly.”

Another culprit used this excuse: “When I called the TV Licensing they refused to barter so I decided not to buy. Everything should be up for negotiation.”

A TV licensing spokesperson is quoted, saying: “No matter how creative people get with their excuses, watching or recording live TV without a license is against the law. We’re effective at catching evaders, but we would rather people pay than risk a fine of up to £1000.”