Mark Thompson was the director-general of the BBC when the British media giant killed a “Newsnight” documentary at the end of last year on the sexual exploits of Jimmy Savile, the BBC child rapist who molested boys and girls for six decades, many of them on the premises of the BBC. Thompson, who worked at the BBC since 1979, and is scheduled to take over next month as the new chief of the New York Times Company, said last week that he had “never heard any allegations or received any complaints” about Savile when he worked at the BBC. Really?
Thompson made his profession of ignorance on October 7. But on the same day, the BBC’s own press office contradicted him. Also on October 7, it was reported that last December Thompson was “warned by an angry senior journalist about the potential consequences of axing the Newsnight investigation.” Today it is being reported that a well-respected BBC foreign correspondent, Caroline Hawley, also spoke to Thompson at the Christmas party about this issue; she says she informed him of the “broad context” of what happened. Now Thompson is saying that he recalls hearing something about this, but didn’t ask for details.
If the New York Times were really on this story it would know that none of this is new. Consider this report by British pundit Guido Fawkes: “Thompson was tackled about the axing [of the ‘Newsnight’ report exposing Savile] at a pre-Christmas drinks party, so he cannot claim to be ignorant of it.” Moreover, when the BBC was asked to respond, it refused. Do you know when all of this was reported? On February 9, 2012. If I know it, why doesn’t the New York Times?
Looks like Thompson’s story is blowing up right in his face. The New York Times is in a real pickle. More to come.