Jimmy Savile Pedo Scandal: Will BBC Report on the BBC?
Times Must Aggressively Cover Mark Thompson’s Role in BBC’s Troubles
By Margaret Sullivan| NYTimes.com
One of the most difficult challenges for news organizations is reporting on what goes on inside their own corporate walls. Two global media companies, the BBC and The New York Times, are dealing with that challenge right now, as a complicated sexual abuse scandal – with a media scandal component — unfolds in Britain.
On Tuesday, the director general of the BBC, George Entwistle, was grilled by Parliament about his role in the events at the well-respected British media company.
A tough investigative committee is raking him over the coals about whether he knew what was going on when the BBC killed an investigative segment on its “Newsnight” program about a celebrity TV personality, Jimmy Savile, accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young girls. Mr. Savile died last year.
Killing the story has impugned the BBC’s integrity.
Mr. Entwistle, though, was not the director general of the BBC when all of this was going on last year.
That was Mark Thompson, who is now the incoming president and chief executive of The New York Times Company. Mr. Thompson was said to be in the Times Building on Monday for preliminary meetings, but he hasn’t started yet. In fact, Times reporters and editors were reminded on Monday in a style note not to refer to him in articles as the current president and chief executive:
Mr. Thompson will be the president and C.E.O. of The New York Times Company starting Nov. 12, per Robert Christie, senior vice president of corporate communications. Until then, he is still “incoming.”
The style note even resulted in a correction on the Web site of The Times.
To its credit, The Times is reporting this story regularly through its London bureau, and has displayed it several times on the Web site’s home page. The London article was summarized in a brief on the front page on Tuesday.
Mr. Thompson has been quoted repeatedly saying he knew nothing about the investigation being conducted by the “Newsnight” program, or at least that he was never formally notified about it. Here’s The Guardian’s report on that.
How likely is it that he knew nothing? A director general of a giant media company is something like a newspaper’s publisher. Would a publisher be very likely to know if an investigation of one of its own people on sexual abuse charges had been killed? The answer to that is not as easy as it sounds. Because of the intentional separation between editorial and business-side operations, publishers usually don’t know about editorial decisions — unless they are very big ones, fraught with legal implications. A Reuters story explores this subject.
And for that matter, how likely is it that the Times Company will continue with its plan to bring Mr. Thompson on as chief executive? (It’s worth noting that as public editor, I have no inside knowledge on such corporate matters.) His integrity and decision-making are bound to affect The Times and its journalism — profoundly. It’s worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events.
Read the full article at: nytimes.com
Savile Crisis Escalates
By Rod Liddle | The Sun
I HOPE you’ve enjoyed watching the BBC beat itself to death with a hammer these last few days.
Every news programme and phone-in right now, it’s the same story: Just how useless is the BBC and should all the top brass be sacked?
On Monday night the Beeb [BBC] devoted an entire edition of Panorama to explaining how fantastically useless the BBC really was in its handling of the horrible Jimmy Savile business.
In particular, Panorama stuck the boot in to Newsnight — the two programmes really don’t get on.
And now the new Director General, George Entwistle, has been hauled before MPs to explain why Newsnight didn’t run a programme exposing Savile’s abuse of vulnerable young girls.
Poor George was not terribly convincing.
He sat and blinked beneath his glasses and said he didn’t know about anything, or what anyone was doing.
He reminded me of that IT expert the BBC put on air once who turned out to be a taxi driver waiting to pick someone up.
Maybe that’s what happened at the interview for the DG’s job — this bespectacled bloke wandered in to water the potted palms and they gave him the job of running the place.
But we may be edging nearer the truth of the matter in this latest crisis for the BBC.
The Corporation has claimed all along that no pressure was put on the Newsnight editor, Peter Rippon, to ditch the documentary they’d made about the ’orrible albino sex offender, Savile.
Poor Rippon, who has since “stepped aside” (whatever that means), has supported this line, too. But it is beginning to look very unlikely. We know now that Rippon at first was very enthusiastic about the programme and then, seemingly in an instant, changed his mind — and the show was scrapped.
What happened so suddenly? Did he have a vision?
The answer might well lie with what his own programme staff have said.
Damningly, the reporter who made the Savile film, Liz MacKean, claimed, in an email to a friend, that Rippon was in a panic and had told her: “Internally, Liz, this is a very long political chain”, and hinted at problems if “bosses aren’t happy”.
In other words, all of the Corporation’s relevant executive monkeys were indeed involved.
They were fretting that an exposé of Savile would firstly upset all the people who, mystifyingly, loved the man.
Read the full article at: thesun.co.uk
Police to make arrests over BBC’s "tsunami of filth"
By Michael Holden| Reuters
British police investigating alleged sexual abuse by one of the BBC’s most celebrated TV stars said on Thursday some 300 victims had come forward and they were preparing to make arrests in a scandal that has thrown the broadcaster into disarray.
Detectives said they had been staggered by the number of people who had come forward since the late Jimmy Savile’s crimes were first revealed just over three weeks ago.
The head of the BBC’s governing body called the allegations a "tsunami of filth", and police said Savile was "undoubtedly" one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders ever.
"It’s quite staggering," said the police inquiry leader, Commander Peter Spindler.
Having interviewed 130 of the alleged victims, officers had recorded 114 reports of sexual assault or serious sexual assault, mostly against Savile - the outlandish, cigar-chomping DJ turned TV host who was one of the BBC’s top presenters of the 1970s and 1980s.
The allegations, which first emerged in an expose on the rival British TV channel ITV, have rocked the BBC, with its chief George Entwistle admitting the broadcaster has been damaged by the scandal.
The BBC’s new director general, George Entwistle, must satisfy viewers while also tackling the scandals and crisis that strike the corporation.
The revelations have generated huge attention, not least in the United States where Entwistle’s predecessor at the BBC, Mark Thompson, is poised to take over as chief executive of the New York Times.
On Wednesday, lawyers representing some 30 alleged victims of abuse told Reuters their clients said other celebrities were involved, while some of those abused by Savile have told the media they were targeted on BBC premises.
"We are preparing an arrest strategy now," Spindler told reporters, adding he could not identify who their suspects were or whether they also had worked for the BBC. "We do have a number of other people that we can investigate."
Entwistle, who only took over the most prestigious role in British media in September, appeared before a parliamentary commission this week to explain why the BBC had dropped its own investigation shortly after Savile died last year.
His performance in parliament was described as "lamentable" by one lawmaker, and his overall handling of one of the worst crises in the BBC’s 90-year history has been widely condemned.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the BBC, paid for by an annual tax on all households with a colour TV, had serious questions to answer.
"We have to deal with the terrible damage to the reputation of the BBC which has hitherto been a national institution which people have trusted," Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust which oversees the broadcaster, told BBC Radio.
"It was a very, very difficult initial baptism of fire for a new director general of the BBC, this great tsunami of filth broke over him 11 days into the job."
Savile, knighted by The Queen for his charity work and famous for his garish outfits and long blonde hair, was a household name in Britain but little known beyond its shores.
Such has been the publicity surrounding the case that Spindler said the number of historic abuse allegations reported to police in London alone had trebled, calling their inquiry a "watershed moment for child abuse investigation".
He said they were investigating three categories of offences; those that involved just Savile which made up the vast majority of cases; those involving Savile and others; and those which had no direct link to Savile.
At this stage there was no evidence of any organised paedophile rings and offenders appeared to be opportunists, Spindler added.
He revealed that a retired officer had come forward to say he had investigated Savile in the 1980s over allegations of indecent assault but there had not been enough evidence to pursue a prosecution.
Article from: news.yahoo.com
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