Inside Story: You've been Tubed

Many of the funniest and the most cringe-worthy clips on YouTube seem to feature media personalities being punched, duped or just making idiots of themselves. Jonathan Brown picks the best
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Silvio Berlusconi

The Italian politician and media mogul has a weird eye for a picture opportunity. His critics might say his treatment of a traffic warden sums up his behaviour towards rivals in the Italian media.

Shepard Smith

The chisel-chinned Fox News anchorman is famed for his rapid-fire delivery. The network likes to boast that he can deliver up to 70 stories an hour on their flagship evening newscast. But his report on claims that Jennifer "Jenny on the Block" Lopez had snubbed the Puerto Rican community on a promotional tour of her native Bronx created one of the great all-time bloopers. The folks back in the 'hood were "more likely to give her a curve job than a blow job," he said. Regaining his equanimity, he apologised: "Sorry about that slip-up. I have no idea where that came from, but it won't happen again."

Glenn Milne

Australian hack Glenn Milne made British press awards ceremonies look tame last November when he stormed the stage uninvited and clearly the worse for wear. The veteran columnist, who writes for Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Telegraph and The Australian, confronted Walkley Awards presenter Stephen Mayne and unceremoniously shunted him into the photographer's pit below. He then repeatedly branded the host "a disgrace", accompanied by some vigorous finger-pointing, before being removed from the stage by a floor manager. An unruffled Mayne climbed back on to the stage and said: "I have an announcement to make on behalf of Rupert Murdoch. That is the former Sunday Telegraph political correspondent, Glenn Milne." The following day, Milne made a humble apology pleading that he had "lamentably mixed alcohol and migraine medication with shocking consequences".

Karen Bowerman

The BBC News 24 consumer affairs correspondent questions an astonished Guy Goma, who had arrived at television centre for a job interview as a data support cleanser but was taken into the studio for a live discussion after BBC staff mistook him for computer issues expert Guy Kewney.

Bart Sibrel

The film-maker has made a career out of pouring scorn on the 1969 Nasa moon landing. Needless to say, it irritates the brave men of the Apollo mission, and none more so than second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin. Lured to an interview in a Beverly Hills hotel on the pretext that he would be answering questions from a Japanese film crew, Aldrin was confronted with the doubting figure of Sibrel who tried to make the astronaut swear on a Bible that the mission was not fake. The 72-year-old was having none of it and lamps the film-maker hard in the face. "He has a good punch. It was quick, too. I didn't see it coming," said Sibrel.

Richard and Judy

Long before the phone-in scandal rocked Richard and Judy's afternoon show, viewers were already chortling at comedian Adam Buxton's parody of the cerebrally-challenged quiz You Play We Play. After downloading footage of a real-life contestant he voiced over it a "mashed" caller from Plaistow offering clues such as "he's the luckiest twat on earth" (answer Will Smith) or "like a big frog that's dead" (answer Tom Baker). The daytime TV king and queen sportingly invited Buxton on to their show to discuss a cleaned-up version of the spoof.

Clive Anderson

The revelation that the Gibb brothers once performed under the sobriquet "Les Tosserus" proved too great a comedic opportunity for chat show host Clive Anderson. "You'll always be tossers to me," he tells the obviously offended singers. The presenter continues to aim a number of well-placed digs at his guests – not least over Barry and Maurice's unsuccessful solo careers during the group's short-lived break-up or Anderson's claim that his dog likes their music. Barry leads the charge, snatching off his microphone declaring the interview a "set-up" and telling Anderson: "You're the tosser, mate." He is followed by Robin and then Maurice who exit the stage, leaving their embarrassed host to finish the show alone. Anderson said later: "I thought we were having merry banter, but two or three of my lines weren't taken well and they left".

John Sweeney

Few could blame former Observer scribe turned "personality" TV reporter Sweeney for getting wound up during his investigation into the activities of the Church of Scientology for BBC's Panorama. But sympathy ebbed away when he completely lost it during one confrontation, screaming in the face of a church representative in an incredible exchange captured by the media-savvy sect and downloaded on YouTube as evidence of the journalist's alleged malpractice. Sweeney admitted he got his "arse kicked" by his bosses and some pundits claimed he might have damaged his career by the outburst. Yet the publicity generated by the Scientologist's guerilla tactics helped give Sweeney's programme – and him – a profile it might not otherwise have enjoyed.

Bernard Levin

Nearly four decades before YouTube was even heard of, Irish writer Desmond Leslie and journalist Bernard Levin were unwittingly creating content for the future net-caster and its global audience. Their spat in front of a stunned live television audience of 10 million on David Frost's That Was The Week That Was in 1963 was one of the nascent TV medium's defining zoo moments. Furious over an article Levin had written about his then wife, the actress Agnes Bernelle, Leslie manages to contain his anger until he gets within striking distance of the venerable broadcaster and columnist. With all the politeness expected of a dignified ex-RAF pilot, he said: "Just a minute Mr Levin, before you begin, please stand up for a second... just one tiny thing," before swinging a wild left hook and following up with a flurry of jabs. Levin escapes the melee, rearranges his thick-rimmed spectacles and carries on with the show.

Steve Ballmer

As the world's first stock option billionaire employee, you would expect the Microsoft chef executive to have drive. His ebullience has earned him an admiring following on the internet too – everything from the " developers" rap to his extraordinary sweat patches have been downloaded for the merriment of man. But it is the infamous "Dance Monkeyboy" video taken from a 25th-anniversary Microsoft rally, first traded by Ballmer-watchers as an email and now a fixture on You Tube and Google, that defines the Ballmer genre. The over-excited CEO skips around the stage, music pumping, arms flapping, for what seems like an over-hyped eternity. He then turns to the baying crowd offering four words of advice: "I love this company."

Sue Lawley

It was one of the greatest moments from the career of Sue Lawley. While presenting the top of the Six O'Clock News in 1988, the studio was invaded by lesbian protesters who attempt to interrupt the broadcast. Unfazed, Lawley continues reading the autocue, apologising for the noise – "I'm sorry we do rather seem to have been invaded" – as the interlopers proceed to chain themselves to her desk. Her colleague Nicholas Witchell attempts to quell the attack by sitting on one of the women. They were protesting against the introduction of Clause 28, which banned the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities. On the same day three lesbian activists abseiled into the House of Lords.

John Stossel

The moment when that invisible force field that protects a reporter suddenly evaporates was exquisitely captured in 1984 when John Stossel of ABC News posed the "standard question", which he assumed all wrestlers have been asked "dozens of times before". Was the sport a fake? The problem was that he was asking short-tempered grappler David Schultz, known to his fans as Dr D. "You think this is fake?" he replied, as he sent the hack crashing to the floor with a couple of open-handed slaps. The reporter later won a lawsuit against the wrestler claiming he suffered long-term hearing loss as a result of the incident.