Thursday, 21 January 2010

Mail's obsession with Sachsgate continues

When Jonathan Ross announced he was leaving the BBC, the Daily Mail was ecstatic. The Mail on Sunday had blown the so-called Sachsgate phone calls out of all proportion and its sister paper was happy to follow suit.

Ross made his statement on 7 January. The story was, to all intents and purposes, over. But, several days later, the Mail on Sunday needed to stick the boot in again. So it came up with this gem:

Miles Goslett's story begins:

BBC boss Mark Thompson wanted to axe Jonathan Ross immediately after the notorious ‘Sachsgate’ affair, it was claimed last night.

So the headline isn't quite right - the story says it was just Thompson, not the entire BBC, that wanted Ross sacked.

And in any case, the whole thing is based on a 'claim' from a conveniently anonymous 'BBC source'.

So what does the article actually say? Someone may have wanted to do something fifteen months ago which they didn't do then and haven't done since.


A few days later, the Mail tried to invent yet another BBC scandal, and went so far as to call it a 'new Sachsgate':

They even had three journalists bylined on this. It must have been something big. The story begins:

The BBC was last night facing a fresh obscene phone scandal after a Radio 1 listener was subjected to a death threat.

The female listener, Chloe Moody, 22, texted the station to say she did not like a song by urban music act N-Dubz, who were guests on the Chris Moyles Show.

It tries to avoid revealing who made the call in order to implicate the BBC. And it wasn't a (no doubt) highly-paid BBC presenter but someone by the name of Dappy.


Dappy, from N-Dubz. After Moody had sent her text criticising his band, Dappy:

retaliated by copying her number and ringing her back, before leaving an abusive voicemail containing several swear words.

So he's a nasty piece of work. But how is this the 'new Sachsgate'? A member of a band leaves offensive messages on someone's answerphone. He's not, and never has been, a BBC employee.

The Mail tried its very best to cause a stir - they made sure they mentioned Moyles' £650,000 salary and some of the jokes he has told that the paper had previously found offensive.

And yet inevitably, given what actually happened, this 'new Sachsgate' fell flat on its face. Indeed, the original article is no longer even available on the Mail website. Once they found out Dappy had been an anti-bullying campaigner for Ed Balls, they put that story on the same page and pretended the original never happened.

But the URL gives their game away. And the new article contains no mention of 'Sachsgate' anywhere.

It's almost as if the paper is now admitting the original article and headline were trumped up to try and cause a 'BBC scandal' that wasn't really a scandal at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Comments are moderated - generally to filter out spam and comments wishing death on people - but other messages will be approved as quickly as possible.