Make Ross pay: As BBC is fined record £150,000 over sick stunt, MPs demand £6m-a-year star and Russell Brand foot bill (By Paul Revoir, Liz Thomas and Simon Cable - apparently it takes three people to do journalism of this quality)
MAIL COMMENT: Pay up, Mr Ross!
That Mail comment in full:
The Mail rarely has much time for over-mighty, highly-expensive quangos but today we congratulate Ofcom, which has fined the BBC £150,000 for the 'gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning' attack on the actor Andrew Sachs by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.Now, I reckon that since the Mail started the story, which received just two complaints at the time of broadcast, and thereby began the snowballing public outrage which led to this £150,000 fine, maybe the Mail should pay?
The bitter irony is that because the BBC is a publicly-funded body the fine will be paid by the very licence fee payers subjected to their stream of puerile filth.
That is why we have a suggestion to make: shouldn't Mr Ross (whose friend Mr Brand, true to disgusting form, joined the anarchists smashing up buildings at the start of G20) pay the money himself?
It's genuinely hard to know what's most ridiculous about this; congratulating Ofcom for fining the BBC on the one hand, while writing stories about how outrageous it is that the 'licence fee payer' has to pay on the other? Is it the deliberate ignorance of the fact that this is a fine specifically for the failures of the BBC's editorial process which the Mail had consistently criticised, and thus nothing to do with Ross (or Brand), who have both already been punished? Or the deliberate ignorance of the fact that since the money from the fine goes to the Treasury it essentially remains part of the public purse anyway? Is it the utterly irrelevant dig at Russell Brand for being at the G20 protests the other day a mere six months after he was forced to quit the BBC? Is it the ludicrous attempt to link Brand to the 'anarchists smashing up buildings' which he had nothing at all to do with?
I would say the most ridiculous part is the Mail's sudden attack of amnesia about the much-trumpeted fact that Jonathan Ross was suspended without pay for 3 months. As the Mail constantly reminds us, Ross is paid '£6m a year', which would mean that the BBC saved £1.5m when it suspended him. Since the money Ross (well, Ross' production company, but shhh!) earns is apparently dramatically above the market rate, we can safely assume that the programmes that took his place cost considerably less than that, meaning that this fine is almost certainly more than entirely covered by the money it fined Ross, putting the BBC (and by extension you) in profit.
In case you missed it, the Mail does briefly allow this point to be made by a BBC spokesman in the first link. It's there in paragraphs 17 and 18, right after the quotes demanding Ross pay out of his own pocket from Georgina Baillie, Esther Rantzen, Don Foster (a Lib Dem spokesman), Lord Rees Mogg, the director of Mediawatch, the Tory culture secretary, and, with dreary inevitability, someone from the fucking TaxPayers' Alliance. That's balance for you.
I wonder if they had to flip a coin between 'Ross costs YOU the licence payer £150,000! Take to the streets!' and 'BBC makes net profit from Ross shame! Abolish the licence fee!'. Maybe they can get a columnist to make the latter argument and ensure all the bases get covered.
Anyway, I'm glad we have the Mail to stand up against the 'stream of puerile filth' the BBC 'subjects' us to. On a completely unrelated note, here are FOURTEEN burlesque pics of Mel B. Fourteen is the exact number required to judge how 'tacky' and 'provocative' something is, just in case you thought they were being a tad gratuitous or attempting to have their cake and wank over it there. If you're still struggling to decide how disgusted you are, you can enlarge nine of the pictures. Thanks for that, Simon Cable (see also first link). I think my favourite bit of that article is the phrase 'semi-naked man'; there's something about the use of 'semi-naked' as a description that always tickles me. It's a combination of the fact that you could replace the word 'semi' with 'not' and have it be just as accurate, and the way that it it implies something shocking about people who still have all the rude bits of their body covered. "Hey, did you see the Ricky Hatton fight the other night? Semi-naked, he was!".