Savile and friends by Mirror Group
What has that paragon of virtue, the New York Times , got to do with a grubby series of sexual assaults byy a DJ in the UK? Yet the NYT's incoming (November 12) Chief Executive has a foot in both worlds.
Until now, in the US, the Jimmy Savile story has been pretty small beer. So what if a former DJ was in fact a sexual predator who likely used his BBC role as the man who made children's dreams come true to instead make their nightmares a reality? That's been the message being pushed by The Gray Lady of Eight Avenue, with her sensible slogan "All the News that is Fit to Print'.
Yet in the United Kingdom, the
However, the message offered by Arthur Sulzberger Jr, chairman and New York Times Company, in an internal email on Thursday (25.10.2012), was that he was satisfied Thompson "played no role" in the cancellation of BBC current affairs show Newsnight's investigation into the Savile sex abuse allegations in late 2011, when he was still director general. But then Sulzberger's email was prompted by the fact that Thompson is due to take over responsibility for the
Thompson's knowledge of the Newsnight story and its revelations about Savile has come under intense scrutiny since Margaret Sullivan, the
However, Sulzberger told staff that in his assessment: "Mark has provided a detailed account of [Newsnight's Savile story], and I am satisfied that he played no role in the cancellation of the segment". .
This is the right answer to the wrong question. No one is saying that Thompson was involved in relatively lowly matters such as the airing or ditching of particular stories on one of the BBC's news programmes. The questions he might have been expected to answer however, are about the culture and ethos of the BBC under his watch.
Because assuredly for years the BBC allowed Savile extraordinary licence that few other public corporations would have imagined acceptable. How could it have been appropriate for celebrities to be allowed to invite young chidlren into their private
The unconscienceable fact is that Savile, who seems to have been a dangerous and not particularly circumspect paedophile, was infiltrated by the BBC into children's homes and hospitals. Some of the most creepy stories emerging are of Savile groping patients on hospital trollies as he worked as a kind of volunteer night porter! One colleague says he was nicknamed THE NECROPHILIAC. Which is Latin for "Lover of the Dead'.
Paul Gambaccini, who started working as a DJ on Radio 1 in 1973, explained his understanding of the situation on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"The expression I came to associate with Savile's sexual partners was either one used by production assistants or one I made up to summarise their reports... 'under-age subnormals'. He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised - and this was known. Why did Jimmy go to hospitals? That's where the patients were."
But no one did anything. In fact, in recent weeks, a picture has emerged of a BBC that was essentially a very comfortable old boys club, in which the bosses were not too interested in what went on on the floors below them in Broadcasting House. One of the BBC's most successful drama series, 'Upstairs. Downstairs' is about toffs living in luxury while their servants fornicate in the cellars below. Well, as the old saw goes, truth is stranger than fiction.
Of the players in the crisis, almost all went to the UK's elite schools.
George Entwistle , 'Head of Television' at the time of the cancellation of the Newnight investigation, was educated at Silcoates School, a fee-paying boarding school for boys (at the time), in West Yorkshire. The school's rather appropriate Latin motto is: Clarior ex Ignibus , which in plain English means "Brighter out of the Flames'.
Helen Boaden , the 'director of news', went to a selective girls grammar school called Colchester County High. Her slightly-less posh school has a motto drawn from the Bible: 'Wisdom Giveth Life'. The full verse is still included in the traditional school assembly at the start of each academic year: