So where do I stand on the Brand/Ross/Sachs saga? Well, to get it out of the way before anyone thinks I condone what happened, it was puerile, immature & reprehensible; if it had happened in any other workplace than the BBC, Brand & Ross would have been dismissed.
OK, now for the story behind the story. In the immediate aftermath of the programme's transmission, there were just two complaints. It was when the Mail on Sunday led with the affair last weekend that the number of complaints to the BBC rose exponentially (the current figure is 37,000, according to today's Guardian).
Both the MoS & the Daily Mail, of course, have their own agenda when it comes to anything involving the Beeb. They don't like it. They don't want it. In an ideal Daily Mail world, there wouldn't be a BBC; the Corporation can be everything the Mail could never be: enlightening, educative, innovative, diverse, open-minded, catholic, informative, stimulating & authoritative.
Marina Hyde's take on the (p)rank phone calls & the Mail's synthetic rage, noting that the rag directs none of its ire at the bankers for the credit crunch (a far bigger journalistic case, wouldn't you say?), brings some sanity & perspective to the whole debate (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/01/comment-debate ).
As Hyde points out, the BBC is "more responsive to public opinion" than any other institution in the UK.
There's an interesting contrast provided by Anton Vowl on the Liberal Conspiracy website between the BBC's method of dealing with complaints & the way in which the Daily Mail handles them (http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2008/10/30/what-happens-if-i-complain/ ).
To sum up, the Mail foments prejudice, the BBC helps to dispel it. As for Jonathan Ross, a P45 is the answer.