Over the weekend, the BBC denied reports that Peter Rippon was resigning; he was the person who spiked a “Newsnight” documentary on BBC icon Jimmy Savile last December. Within hours, Rippon resigned.
Tonight, “Panorama” will air an hour-long special on the BBC scandal and cover-up. George Entwistle, the BBC’s director-general, refuses to speak to the media, but that hasn’t stopped his own journalists from accusing him of misleading the public about the spiked documentary. For example, here is what The Daily Telegraph is saying today: “Liz MacKean, a “Newsnight” reporter, told the programme that Mr Rippon had enthusiastically given the go-ahead for the film to be broadcast but had an ‘abrupt change’ of heart and appeared to be ‘under pressure’ from above.” Furthermore, Newsnight producer Meirion Jones says she warned Rippon of “substantial damage” to the BBC’s reputation.
For reasons like these, an editorial in yesterday’s The Sunday Telegraph said, “It is becoming clear that there were many warning signs within the BBC that Savile’s behaviour was not merely odd, it was criminal.”
Bill Oddie, a former actor, jacks up the heat on Entwistle’s predecessor, Mark Thompson; Thompson is slated to take over as the new president and CEO of the New York Times Company. Oddie says “everybody knew” within the BBC that Savile was a pervert who preyed on children. When asked how he could explain Thompson’s claim that he never knew a bad thing about Savile, Oddie exclaimed, “You worked at the BBC and you don’t know anything about it? That is absolute nonsense.”
British pundit Jane Genova is even more pointed: “Will Thompson go down in this, much like the late Joe Paterno did with the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal?” Stay tuned.