The Sunday papers are full of the supposed crisis at the BBC. The Telegraph leads with a story by Melissa Kite saying that the Tories want to clip the BBC's wings by cutting the licence fee by a massive £6! Wow. Mark Thompson rubbished the story on Andrew Marr this morning saying that he had had a call from a senior Shadow Cabinet member saying there was no truth in it.
The Express leads with the fact that John Prescott was paid £40,000 for his series of Class. But the real story is the lead on the cover of the News of the World. They reveal that more than 50 BBC managers are paid more than the Prime Minister (£190,000). I am a great believer in the maxim that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, but reading through some of the job titles I am at a loss to see how the BBC can justify some of these salaries.
Two last comments on the Ross/Brand story. I got panned by many of you for pointing out what I thought was the bleedin' obvious - that it was the show's producers and Radio 2 management who had to share the blame with Brand and Ross. Clearly Ross and Brand were idiotic and insulting in the extreme - and having now read the transcript, it was far worse than I had imagined - but the show was prerecorded and therefore someone, somewhere in the chain of command should have spotted that this sort of behaviour was unacceptable.
I thought Jack Straw put it best when he asked if anyone seriously imagined that if these had been two local radio presenters they wouldn't have been fired immediately? And this highlights one of the main problems for the BBC in all this - their complete inability to react quickly to a crisis. You would think a media organisation would recognise the demands of the 24 hours new media, wouldn't you? Had they done so they might have been able to close it down.
The other thing the BBC needs to look at is the awarding of contracts to so-called independent production companies which just happen to be owned by the person who is presenting the show. It is quite outrageous that Jonathan Ross's production company is being paid compensation for the cancellation of his shows over the next 12 weeks. The BBC say that Ross himself will not benefit from this! Do they think we are completely stupid? He's a major shareholder in his own company so of course he benefits.
My final point is this. In a week when the world economy continues to crash, when the war in Afghanistan is being lost, when the US election looms large and much more besides, what does it say about the triviality of our news coverage that for day after day this story led news bulletins and was on the front page of every newspaper - not just the tabloids.