Whay Manuelgate Matters

Why Manuelgate matters

For all the distaste of the calls to Sachs there’s been some understandable frustration here that it’s this issue the public and papers have got upset about, rather than the constant bias.

This, though, would seem to suggest the result is the same – a lack of trust in the Beeb that can’t help but hit its unwarranted reputation as a impartial source of news:

The PoliticsHome Phi5000 Public Opinion Tracker, powered by YouGov, consists of a politically balanced panel of 5000 voters across the UK… [and] has tracked public perception of a variety of institutions on a daily basis. Since records began, the BBC has been the country’s best loved institution, with an average net approval rating of 30… The BBC’s approval rating, however, has plummeted this week as the Ross/Brand affair has dominated the media. In just four days, it has fallen a huge 24 points to only 6.

My favourite bit, though, bearing in mind the complaint that this has all been whipped up by the press, is this:

This places the BBC for the first time below ‘Broadsheet newspapers’

There’s also this, which will surprise no one: Among Conservative supporters (who initially had a lower opinion of the Corporation), the BBC now has a negative net rating (-3).

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69 Responses to Whay Manuelgate Matters

  1. Ron Todd says:

    Much as I despise Ross I don’t think he is the worst on the BBC.

    For me little Britain is more offensive because it is disrespectful to every single woman in the coutry. I have been told they are ‘ironic’ or ‘modern’ I think they are just woman hating homosexuals. If they were normal men we would not all be scared of critisising them,


  2. Danni Jamerson says:

    Theres a Really Good New Video online, which makes reference to this story amongst other BBC cock ups of the recent past.


  3. Devil's Advocate says:

    Since when has David Walliams been a homosexual?


  4. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    I have never found Little Britain remotely funny, only stupid and offensive. About on a par with Ross and Wark, really.

    I don’t even know what I’ll vote next time – not Zanulab, though – but have rated the BBC -187 for years.


  5. Martin says:

    Why does the BBC insist on spouting on that radio 1 listeners don’t think Ross did anything wrong? Is that supposed ot make it right somehow? How can the BBC news say that when their own BOSS and the BBC Trust have said the BBC behaved like a bunch of twats?

    If you asked that lot if they thought taking drugwas was OK, they’d say yes.

    Most of the twats that listen to R1 probably don’t pay for a TV licence in the first place, so they have no right to comment (they’re not ‘shareholders’ like us lucky lot)


  6. Peter says:

    I just re-read a comment from this:

    Guardian – Killed by the radio star


    Whilst this comment in reply is not substantiated, it resonates:

    “Brand was Lesley’s Pet project and also her achilles heal. He was allowed to do what he wanted and whenever a producer tried to edit anything he did he went running to Lesley and had them fired from his show. Eventually, according to Paul, there was in effect no management inbetween Brand and Lesley – he had been through 6 producers, so there was no one else to sack.”

    So I guess it’s not the fact of sacking that’s upsetting the faithful, it’s who sacks who and when that matters (hint: do nothing wrong and be junior to a ‘star’… OK, toast. Be a ‘star’ and do a lot wrong…. ‘Oh, the inhumanity!’ Very egalitarian).

    Gotta love most of the ‘quality’ paper standards of reporting, commentary and editorial, eh?


  7. Chuffer says:

    Interesting comment about Little Britain – it did cross my mind that perhaps they would be next. Then Graham Norton.

    Just a dream I suppose, but then again, I never tought that Ross’n’Brand would get such a damned good kicking!


  8. Sue says:

    To people who liken the Danish cartoons to the “prank” so as to condemn (or justify) the extreme reactions to both.
    A good cartoon conveys an idea simply, in a way that only a drawing can. What could be more expressive than a sparingly drawn image, fluid of line and pregnant with meaning?

    The Danish cartoon fell short artistically, yet despite being badly drawn it told us something in a unique way, saying what it had to say while simultaneously engendering the reaction that actually reinforced its point. Ridicule is special because the victim’s reaction invariably makes things worse. Bullies know this.
    Andrew Sachs was generous enough to avoid any of that by not being indignant.

    The Danish cartoon offended Muslims on many levels. Firstly, by being a cartoon, as frivolity is an offence. Then, graphic representation of the prophet (PBUH), – is another. Next, despite much evidence to the contrary, challenging the concept that religion of peace is peaceful, also seems to be an offence. The predictably violent reaction, which proved the cartoonist’s point beyond any remaining doubt, should any still be lingering, – compounded the anomalous situation by backing Muslims into a corner from which their only escape was to make threats of even more extreme violence.

    We’re bored with Ross ‘n Brand, but the reaction to their “prank” represents quite a bit more than merely being offended by their swearing, humiliating someone ‘old’, leaving it on an answerphone, adding grotesquely smutty afterthoughts, and putting the lot out on air as entertainment. The offence was dishing that up as being ‘good enough’ for ‘yoof,’ or anyone at all, and thinking of it as ‘cutting edge.’ It was as sharp as a blob of something excreted by Mr. Blobby, as edgy as a tiny spherical bubble. Couldn’t think of any good similies.

    The huge reaction, equally predictable after all that publicity, artificially thrust the objectors into a corner to be written off as fuddy-duddy stick-in-the-mud ‘old-people’ who had no sense of humour and couldn’t appreciate cutting edge, edgy, right-on material.
    But the real shortcomings at the heart of this affair concern the absence of quality, originality, and expertise.

    Now they dismiss all NoBamas as racist without examining the numerous other reasons why they don’t trust The One. Easier to bully them into the ‘racist’ corner. Riots in the streets if he loses? America not ready for a BLACK president?


    The media selects and supresses then sits back and warms its hands by the flames it has fanned.

    Back to the BBC. The best remedy is not curtailment of free speech, or a clamp-down on swearing, but to demand a return, across the board, to something like the original public service remit – to educate, inform and entertain. With impartiality, integrity and for christssake, quality.

    So here I am, in a way, asking for heads to roll. So I must be just like a Muslim. But wait. More than I want to STOP something, I want to IMPROVE it. But I suppose that is also what Muslims want. To improve us by converting us to Islam.
    Burn the BBC! Behead those that insult our intelligence! Prepare for the REAL Beeblocaust! We Are All Offended Now!!!!

    But please don’t ask for more repeats. Beware of what you ask for. Not everything looks as good as it used to.


  9. Adam says:

    I dont find LB funny.
    It has recieved awful amazon uk reviews.
    Still the beeb says its great n they wouldnt lie.


  10. Grant says:

    Sue 8:44

    I don’t mean to be personal. But, are you the same Sue who posts on the DT website ?


  11. Grant says:

    Sue 8:44

    I hope that people here read your post. Your third paragraph is a classic insight.


  12. Andy says:

    To me the BBCs incessant bias and vulgar output are one and the same.

    As listed under the 1963 Congressional Record on Communist goals:

    “Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.”

    “Continue discrediting American culture”

    “Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.”

    “.. degrading all forms of artistic expression. … “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.””

    “Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.”

    “Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.””

    “Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

    “Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.””

    “Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.”

    and so on…


  13. Grant says:

    Danni 6:38

    Play it again , Sam !


  14. Grant says:

    Andy 9:10

    Have you read Khrushchev’s speech to the CP , 1956 ?

    It is available on websites.


  15. GCooper says:

    Well said, Sue.


  16. Kill the Beeb says:

    This repetitive droning on about obscenity and vulgar standards is making some of the posters here sound like farty old grandads, and does no justice at all to this site.

    I’m sure we would all disagree on what constitutes as vulgar and obscene. I find Southpark brilliant and funny (mostly) but I’m willing to accept the more vulgar and obscene parts (Kenny’s death) because I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    I find Little Britain often offensive because it’s seems like a perpetual attack on the working and upper classes, made from the middle classes. Most BBC comedy is that way. The middle classes never poke fun at themselves and are revulsed by anything that does. However Little Britain often has it’s moments.

    I don’t find Ross or Brand funny. They repulse me. Ross because of his self-orientated interview technique and sicophancy, and Russell Brand because of his lefty obsessions. I’ve been smiling like a Cheshire cat these past few days because I can’t think of a better fate for such a pair of obnoxious talentless twats. However, I certainly wouldn’t start harking on about lowering of standards in broadcasting like some kind of pseudo Mary Whitehouse. Not without expecting yet more political correctness to be heaped onto the mountain we are already buried under.

    This phone call is not as relevant as the British media’s contempt and disgust for the arrogant, boated broadcaster it’s unearthed. And that’s all that matters. If this is the begining of the end for the BBC then Ross and Brand should be knighted.

    What they did is just a Trojan Horse for people who want the licence fee to be ended. And rightly so. But pretending this is all about contempt and disgust for their broadcast is frankly laughable and hypocritical.

    You should try taking a look at what goes on outside your average street in Britain if you want something to be truly revulsed by. And council tax – we’re forced to pay for that too!


  17. It's all too much says:

    I get the feeling that the outcry on the Toss/Bland front is far more fundamental that the BBC is willing to admit. Middle England seems to have finally found an issue where the PC commissars cannot stamp out dissent and had vented a significant head of frustration that has been building up day upon day, for years. I notice that the BBC and all its acolytes have started blaming the “Daily Mail tendency” for this outcry as if this in some way discredits the opinions of millions of people. It is interesting to observe that, apparently, for the “Mail” to have a voice is very “bad” – but the Guardian setting the entire news and entertainment agenda – this is “good”, “progressive”, etc. The BBC default position is one that always accommodates the left

    Ross must go



  18. Anonymous says:

    “I get the feeling that the outcry on the Toss/Bland front is far more fundamental that the BBC is willing to admit.”

    I think you’re right and maybe, just maybe the work of B-BBC is at last done.


  19. Original Robin says:

    Unfortuntely I had to listen to that rubbish Newsbeat on the idiots chanel Radio 1.
    Two items of news;the Brand/ Ross and some defenders are saying that many people are complaining who had not heard the show.
    Another item on the news was about how rascists have posted things about Lewis Hamilton on their websites.
    So most of us (99.9%)will not see their websites, should we not give a damn ?
    If Andrew Sachs was black and Ross and Brand had been offensive in a rascist way, they would have been edited out and moved on.
    The BBC; choosy about its offensiveness.


  20. George says:

    But pretending this is all about contempt and disgust for their broadcast is frankly laughable and hypocritical

    Drivel. Speak for yourself. It’s not for little prats like you to tell the rest of us what we do or don’t feel.


  21. Arthur Dent says:

    Just a point about the Danish cartoons. Most of the posters on this site were outraged at the reaction of Muslims to the cartoons. This country has freedom of speech there is no right not to be offended blah, blah, blah.

    Now with the Ross/Brand issue everyone seems to be speaking out of the other side of their mouths. This must be stopped because it was offensive, whatever happened to the defenders of free speech.

    Note Mr Sachs and his grandaughter may have a case against these two overgrown schoolboys, but where have all thos people gone who maintained with great vehemence that muslims should not complain because freedom of speech means freedom to cause offence?


  22. Andy says:

    “But pretending this is all about contempt and disgust for their broadcast is frankly laughable and hypocritical.”

    Ross/Brand were well out of order. Bollocks to ’em.

    I don’t care about being thought of as a Mail-reading fuddy-duddy. While I am forced to pay the telly tax I don’t want to be subjected to sub-standard crap like this.

    The Ross/Brand caper is only one of a long list of grievances:

    the Hutton Inquiry, political correctness, racism towards Jews and caucasians, anti-Israel pro-Taliban bias, the Balen Report, climate change propaganda, Barbara Plett’s tears, smears against Sarah Palin, John Redwood etc, Iraq coverage, editing Wikipedia articles, blah blah blah…


  23. It's all too much says:


    as I said above I think this is is a touchstone one that is about more fundamental issues that the offense given by Ross/Brand. I think people are fed up with the systematic way in which the BBC has been eroding the structure of civil Sociaty in Britain. It appears to be on a mission to do this and the Ross issue is a gross and blatant manifestation of the level to which we have sunk. I am sick of an organisation that is willing to offend the great majority but will pusillanemously remain quiet about matters that may reflect badly on ‘endorsed’ special interest groups. This issue is not just about obscene phone calls, and the BBC knows it



  24. It's all too much says:

    sorry about my crap typing


  25. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Arthur Dent | 31.10.08 – 11:08 pm |

    I think the analogy of the Danish cartoons is a false one. The cartoons weren’t meant to be funny, and nobody pretended they weren’t offensive. The offense was the point, in response to threats and actual violence perpetrated by Islamo-fascists in the name of their prophet. The cartoons were also a line in the sand, literally drawn by those who were tired of being afraid to speak out for fear of offending.

    Now, if Sachs was supposed to be calling in to talk about a documentary criticizing the priapism and sleazy lifestyle of people made famous by The Bill, and the complaint against Ross and Brand was that they should be censored for taking the piss out of him, then there might be something to it.

    The threats of violence in the name of their prophet in response to the cartoons proved the cartoonists’ collective point. The anger against Brand and Ross didn’t prove any point they were making with their stunt.

    Ross and Brand and the BBC were pretending that their abuse was both funny and brave. It was neither, of course. This is more an outcry against the idea that their kind of behavior is funny and worthy of praise, not about censorship.


  26. Gaeden Trash says:

    “where have all thos people gone who maintained with great vehemence that muslims should not complain because freedom of speech means freedom to cause offence?”

    Muslims did complain and it worked,we are learning.
    Two separate issues,the Danish cartoons were published privately,the BBC avoided them like the plague.The BBC is our national broadcaster,but seems quite happy to insult us by transmitting offensive material.
    There is also a world of difference between letters of complaint and rioting and death threats.No doubt we will work up to those.


  27. GCooper says:

    I’m afraid I have to remind Arthur Dent (with whom I usually agree) that there were two significant differences between the Mohammed cartoons and the Brand/Ross tapes.

    The first is that the BBC did not produce the cartoons – it simply refused to show them, thus displaying undue sensitivity to a noisy minority.

    The second difference is that the Mohammed cartoons were satirical and political in intent – not mere low humour. They might have caused offence but they were created to make a genuine point – hardly something one could say of Brand and Ross.


  28. archduke says:

    “Now with the Ross/Brand issue everyone seems to be speaking out of the other side of their mouths. This must be stopped because it was offensive, whatever happened to the defenders of free speech.”
    Arthur Dent | 31.10.08 – 11:08 pm |

    couldnt give a toss – if its a chance to bash the beeb, all the better.


  29. Kill the Beeb says:

    “Drivel. Speak for yourself. It’s not for little prats like you to tell the rest of us what we do or don’t feel.”

    Ow! You hurt me with your harsh words you brute!!

    ‘Pratt’ is spelt with two T’s by the way. Twat.


  30. Kill the Beeb says:

    “While I am forced to pay the telly tax I don’t want to be subjected to sub-standard crap like this.”

    Nobody forces you to pay it Andy. It’s the easiest thing in the world not to pay it. Gobbing off up here is of course much easier and safer.


  31. d says:

    Some years ago the BBC set off on a course which has left the silent majority unhappy to say the least. Typically British, we did not complain and the BBC felt secure in allowing programs such as Little Britain to flourish. The present Jonathan Ross incident was the straw which broke the camel’s back and released the flood of pent-up frustration at the arrogance, immorality and political bias of the now mistrusted BBC.


  32. Millie Tant says:

    It’s “prat”, dear.


  33. Tim Almond says:

    The simple answer is, of course, to end the TV tax, not a return to 50s media control.

    Remove the mandatory tax and people who want to pay for Ross and Brand can do so, and those who don’t want them aren’t forced to do so. That way, everyone’s happy (except the people at the BBC who’ll have to turn out better quality to stay in business).


  34. Kill the Beeb says:

    Don’t ‘dear’ me millie tant. I’m sure a man hating feminist such as yourself would soon take offence if I called you dear.

    Shouldn’t you be outdoors right now burning your bra with the rest of the witches? Or shaving your face perhaps?


  35. GCooper says:

    None the less, Goody Tant is correct: there is only one T in prat.

    And we’ll have a little less of the Wiccaphobia, if you please… (cackle)


  36. prank says:

    Newswatch on BBC’s breakfast programme talks about how this week has ‘shown the power of the license fee payer’.

    Yeah right. If that was the case Toss would have been sacked long ago.


  37. Susan Franklin says:

    Tim Almond



  38. Lee Moore says:

    It doesn’t matter at all whether public hostility to (or indifference to the fate of) the BBC comes from this sort of humourous “prank” (in the same sense that kicking an old lady’s stick away is a humourous prank.) Or from the BBC fiddling its game shows. What matters is simply the erosion of support. For as and when those who object to the BBC’s relentless bias propose that it should come to an end, there will be fewer voices demanding that it be saved. In reality, what matters is the climate of left wing Tory opinion. The BBC will only ever be coshed by a Tory government, and only then if the Tory left aren’t willing to defend the BBC. This sort of episode will stiffen their feeble spines.


  39. Bryan says:

    I have watched numerous senior BBC people defending the indefensible with the Yes, but… defence on various programmes such as Newswatch. Mark Thompson does the same here:


    I paraphrase:

    This involved a small number of people on one programme. The BBC produces thousands of hours…. and so on.

    Of course the excuse wears thin as BBC “entertainment” standards continue to drop and the bias becomes more blatant, as in the dismal failure by Webb and others to cover the US elections in an impartial fashion.

    Thompson also looks and comes across like a street bum rather than a top executive. He should improve his image.


  40. Bryan says:

    Arthur Dent, what Ross and Brand did, besides being reprehensible, was illegal and they are lucky not to be facing charges. There is no absolute freedom of speech.

    And there is no direct comparison to the cartoon issue. There is no Danish law against producing caricatures of a long-dead “prophet.” But if you want to compare the two, try to imagine comedians doing what Ross and Brand did in a Muslim dictatorship and consider what would happen to them in the aftermath.


  41. Ron Todd says:


    I am obligd to listen to radio 1 at work. It is a procession of egotistical loud mouth presenters shouting ‘look at me look at me’ while a gang of subservient co-presenters shout back ‘you are wonderful please humiliate me more’ Interspaced with little ‘comedy’ bits that are exactly the same as the ‘comedy’ bits they did the day before. When the music is on I long for the presenters to come back on. When the presenters are on I long for the music to start again.

    Having to listen to that drivel is one step above mental torture for any intelligent person. Anybody who listens to it willingly is likely to be to young to pay the telly tax or too stupid to work a telly.


  42. Sue says:

    I don’t mean to be personal. But, are you the same Sue who posts on the DT website ?
    Grant | 31.10.08 – 9:02 pm

    Is she any good?
    If so, maybe.
    If not, no.

    (Actually I do only post here.) Common old name though innit.


  43. Reimer says:

    “Ron Todd:

    I am obligd to listen to radio 1 at work.”

    You poor sod. I wouldn’t be able to stand more than an hour even if I were in its target age-range (approx 6 to 19?). It reminds me of mobile phone network ads turned into radio, or Facebook equipped with sound. Horrible dross punctuated with lame lame pop music and news bulletins aimed at idiots.


  44. Ron Todd says:

    One day we got to listen to bbc radio 6 music instead.

    Why do I need to pay for them to have two near identical stations for children.


  45. Millie Tant says:

    Don’t ‘dear’ me millie tant. I’m sure a man hating feminist such as yourself would soon take offence if I called you dear.

    Shouldn’t you be outdoors right now burning your bra with the rest of the witches? Or shaving your face perhaps?
    Kill the Beeb | 01.11.08 – 2:39 am | #

    Behave. People call me “dear” all the time. Only rarely will I beat them up. Usually when they say “Hello dahling” I just beam and say “Hello, duck”. Sorted.

    Forgive me for not realising you are such a sensitive flower – what with your penchant for attacks on individual posters here and all.


  46. Andy says:

    A breath of fresh air to hear Ross’s replacement on Radio 2 this morning?

    Great for those of us that enjoy music.


  47. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Those of us who enjoy music listen to Radio 3. I am happy to report that most presenters have 10 times the IQ of Ross, are knowledgeable and interesting.


  48. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    ‘Pratt’ is spelt with two T’s by the way. Twat.

    Prat is spelled with one t, illiterate tosser. And there is no apostrophe in the genitive form.


  49. Jon says:

    The problem with most of BBC radio is that they have become talking shops for the same BBC “liberals”. The music seems to be played just to give time for the talking heads to draw breath.


  50. Jon says:

    “pratt Or: prat. ETYMOLOGY: Lawrence Paros. The Erotic Tongue (1984): ‘ A fine word which originated with the Old English praet for “prank,” which, in addition to being an a*s, also doubled as a vagina during the nineteenth century. It was from the first meaning that many a vaudevillian and silent film star developed his pratfalls, building entire comedy routines about them.’

    1. In 16-19 th century England, the backside, the posterior. See ass for synonyms.

    2. From the 1930s onward, the female genitals. See vagina for synonyms.

    3. To pratt for , to bend over to assume a receptive position for anal intercourse.

    4. In Britain, a mild term of abuse for an (incompetent) fool. ‘ That silly pratt! ‘ ”