Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 15 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds   

The New York Times dips a toe in British sleaze

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Message Martin Cohen
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)
Savile and friends
Savile and friends
(Image by Mirror Group)
  Details   DMCA

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 news programs have been full of stories about Savile for weeks. But then you could hardly invent a more bizarre tale. Jimmy Savile, it seems, was able for years to sexually molest not only teenage girls at the 'Top of the Pops' disco (a practice considered normal at the BBC) or sweetly naive boy scouts expecting his famous 'Jim'll Fix It' badges, but also vulnerable individuals in hospitals suffering from chronic disabilities or senility. Savile is dead now, so it is easy to suppose that the news is essentially backward looking - about correcting past wrongs and allowing victims some very belated recognition of their suffering - rather than anything more profound. Something perhaps implicating Mark Thompson, the former Director General of the BBC, for example.

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 New York Times on 12 November.

Thompson's knowledge of the Newsnight story and its revelations about Savile has come under intense scrutiny since Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, published a blog on Tuesday saying it was "worth considering now if he is the right person for the job" in light of the scandal enveloping the BBC.

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 dressing rooms alone after shows? How could it have been acceptable for male DJs to sexually molest women in the studios in plain view of other staff?

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:

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Well Said 1   News 1   Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Martin Cohen Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Martin Cohen is a well-established author specializing in popular books in philosophy, social science and politics. His most recent projects include the UK edition of Philosophy for Dummies (Wiley June 2010); How to Live: Wise and not-so-wise (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

NSA spying - another side of the story-- Data Privatized For Corporate Use

NSA spying - the New York Times follows the money... again

What's not going on at Rio+20 - and why Aussie plonk is 'ecocider'

US spying on Europe - the gloves come off

Worldwide, safety regulators still see role as implementing nuclear industry plans

The New York Times dips a toe in British sleaze

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend