OK, Mr Angry Pants is online….
I’ve been in touch with Roly Keating’s office. Sadly they do not have a record or recording of the exchange that led to the following ‘quote’ in the Dec 3 Mail article: At BBC2’s launch of its winter schedule, the station’s controller Roly Keating said the show would “push back the boundaries of taste and decency”.
They do, however, claim that these words were those of the reporter Tara Conlan, and used as part of a question put to Roly Keating on December the 2nd. They further claim that Mr Keating’s answer merely acknowledged that the strong language/content wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.
I suspect – repeat suspect – that Tara Conlan took this as such a strong confirmation of her point that she presented her words as his answer in her article.
I further suspect that the origin of the question (or the phrasing of the question) was John Beyer.
1. This is a Google cache of a Daily Mail article dated 14 April 2004. It is written by Tara Conlan and features John Beyer (complaining about censorship, believe it or not). If anyone has access to LexiNexis, perhaps they’d care to investigate their relationship further.2. As I pointed out in my original post, the words “boundaries of taste and decency” seem to follow John wherever he goes.So, I emailed Mr Beyer about this asked him for proof that Roly Keating had actually spoken these words in the context he suggested. He responded as follows: “Many thanks for your e-mail today. Roly Keating is quoted as saying this in The Daily Mail on 3 December 2004. This point was put to him on a radio interview this week and he did not deny it.”So, that leaves Tara Conlan. I shall attempt to contact her this afternoon. When I do so, I’ll ask her about the inflated number of swear words (instances of swear words that appear in song have been multiplied by the number of cast and chorus members singing them – meaning one swear word can become 33-40 and 9 can become 297) which also appears to have originated from her Dec 3 article . That should help focus her mind about the actual source of information. If anybody has a lead on contacting staff members of Mail (such as the typical format of their direct email addresses) then please do get in touch. It will make life a lot simpler.Moving right along, The Sun continues to bleat about this and quote those same inflated numbers that were widely rubbished yesterday…The Sun – 20,500 complaints to BBC: Complaints about the BBC’s decision to screen Jerry Springer The Opera have soared to over 20,000. Outraged viewers demanded the show – which contains 8,000 swear words – be banned from broadcast. The BBC has received 15,000 complaints and 5,500 people contacted media regulator Ofcom – with thousands more jamming phone lines. A spokesman said: “We’ve had more than a thousand calls in the past 24 hours. We’ve never before had so many complaints about a TV show that has not yet been broadcast.” But last night the defiant BBC said it would broadcast the show uncut. The film of the hit West End show, about the cult US chat show host, includes the “F” word 3,168 times and the “C” word 297 times. Yesterday The Sun revealed plans to screen it on BBC2 this Saturday.And yesterday Bloggerheads revealed that the phone calls to the BBC didn’t start until the girl with her tits out on Page 3 of The Sun expressed her outrage.The Sun isn’t reporting a story here, it’s making one. Jon Beyer’s original email/circular contains a number of gross inaccuracies and false claims. He is manipulating the Christian community to further his own glory-seeking agenda. And today, The Sun stoops even lower to exploit the recent earthquake tragedy in one of their trademark less-than-cunning stunts…The Sun – Beeb tells Sun to **** off: BBC chiefs last night REFUSED to give cash to a Sun swear box. We invited BBC Controller Roly Keating to donate 1 pound for each of the 8,000 four-letter words in Jerry Springer The Opera. The Sun’s Harry Macadam delivered a giant swear box to the Beeb’s London HQ, pointing out the money would go to the Asian tsunami appeal. But a BBC spokesman said: “Nobody from the corporation is available to take part.” However our plea was welcomed by passers-by, who also blasted the vile programme. Driver Charlie Holson, 36, of Harrow, Middlesex, said: “Well done, The Sun. BBC executives need to wash their mouths out with soap.”Click on the link to see the picture while you can. Their ‘Swear Box’ is an office wheelie-bin with some A3 signs tape to the side. And don’t you just love the two suggestions (headline and mouth-washing quote) that suggest it’s the BBC executives who are themselves so foul-mouthed that every second word out of their mouths is a swear word?FFS, someone should spend some time in the Sun newsroom one morning and do a word count. By most reports, you could probably crack 100 before drinks (i.e. lunchtime) without even leaving Rebekah Wade’s office.Readers of The Sun are receiving this false information, taking it at face value, and acting predictably. I hear whispers that the BBC complaints include threats of violence. The story linked above also contains some reader feedback including: Steven Walker, from Stockport, said: “I congratulate The Sun for taking a stand. “The BBC need to be pressured into realising how many people are against this programme.”Thankfully, the BBC are smart enough to know exactly how many people are behind this, and how these few have goaded the many into complaining by using a pack of steaming great lies.Readers of the Sun do not know that many of the claims they are acting on are false, and they do not know about Murdoch’s anti-BBC agenda. That’s why, someday soon, we’re going to have to do something about Mr Murdoch. (Please note that the upcoming election may take priority.)The Sun – Beeb bleep: If the BBC wanted to know how Britain feels about being subjected to a torrent of obscenities, it got its answer yesterday. More than 20,500 have now protested against plans to screen Jerry Springer The Opera on Saturday night on BBC2. The Sun does not think BBC TV is the place for 3,168 F-words and 297 C-words in one weekend show. Nor do our readers – the people who pay the BBC’s bills.1. That’s 3 individual pieces and every single one contains the same false claim about the actual number of expletives2. Notice how The Sun takes credit for complaints that preceded their report, thereby suggesting that the BBC received over 20,000 complaints in one day3. I’m not sure if Mr Murdoch pays for his TV licence, but I do know that he is very good at avoiding paying tax (see here and here).Later today, I’m going to request a copy of all the complaints received by the BBC. A similar request is already with Ofcom.Once this is over, I want to do a full autopsy and create something that shows how John Beyer built a big issue out of a bunch of lies. And show the consequences of such actions.To tie this campaign in with whole Behzti thing goes beyond inviting violence. Some would say that it actually suggests it.UPDATE – Some lovely number-crunching from Nick Barlow