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October 26, 2012

BBC's Decades-Long Coverup of Massive Child Abuse/Molestation Crimes of Top BBC Star Now Enmeshes The New York Times

As @benk84 pointed out in his headlines, there is a massive and repulsive scandal at the BBC.

I'll sum it up. This guy, Jimmy Savile:

...who looks like a monstrous pedophile, was, it seems, a monstrous pedophile.

He was a top BBC figure, the host, I believe, of their Tops of the Pops show and other crap of that kind. So, being a major player at Britain's state-run media, he was permitted to go on a rampage of abuse for decades.

When I say that he exceeded Jerry Sandusky's offenses, I'm not overstating things. By pure count of victims alleged -- alleged, but not proven -- he exceeded Sandusky's offenses by an order of magnitude.

The number of possible sexual abuse victims being investigated under Operation Yewtree is now understood to be approaching 300.

He did a lot of charity work, visiting hospitals to, supposedly, raise the spirits of mentally unstable girls (whose credibility would be in doubt if they said anything).

And... right there at the hospitals, he's alleged to have molested them.

Former patient June Thornton said that when she was recovering from an operation there in May 1972 she saw Savile molest a brain-damaged girl.

"I thought at the time that he was a relative but then he started kissing her neck, running his hands up and down her arms and then started to molest her," she said.

For reasons I could not possibly guess at, he was put in charge of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital (despite being a DJ without any qualifications in psychiatry or, well, anything) and given literally gold-plated keys to the whole hospital.

He once boasted of having a "bedroom" at the hospital.

I suppose we should throw a flag of caution here -- in the nineties, we had our own Molestation Panic, and most of that turned out to be pure nonsense.

One thing, though, that suggests this is legit is that Savile had a few accusations made against him in the past, before this became a cause celebre. In 1959, for example, he paid off cops to get them to drop an "interference with young women" charge made against him when he was a nightclub promoter. A woman accused him of rape right in his caravan at the BBC center. Another woman came forward in the 90s to allege he'd molested her in the 70s.

And throughout his career "rumors swirled," as they say.

Savile died in 2011. Recently, reporters at the BBC's Newsnight (which I gather is a news-magazine type show, like 60 Minutes) was preparing a report on all this -- and the report was killed by higher-ups. The next week the BBC ran a series of tribute documentaries to Savile.

The BBC claims (or at least they initially claimed) they hadn't "killed" the story, they had merely told the reporter to keep digging and finding more evidence and that sort of thing.

The reporter disagrees with that claim:

Mr Rippon stepped aside from his job on Monday after the BBC said his explanation of why Newsnight dropped its Savile investigation was "inaccurate or incomplete".

In the email, Ms MacKean wrote: "Having commissioned the story, Peter Rippon keeps saying he's lukewarm about it and is trying to kill it by making impossible editorial demands."

She reportedly claimed: "When we rebut his points, he resorts to saying, well, it was 40 years ago ... the girls were teenagers, not too young ... they weren't the worst kind of sexual offences etc."

Here's the NYT connection. Mark Thompson was the Director-General of the BBC, from 2004 until currently. So he was the top man at the BBC when the decision to kill the Savile story was made.

He was just hired as CEO of the New York Times Company (the parent corporation which owns the Times and a smattering of other properties.

His story about what he knew and when he knew it has already changed:

“I was not notified or briefed about the Newsnight investigation, nor was I involved in any way in the decision not to complete and air the investigation,” Thompson said in a statement released Monday. He added that during his tenure as director general, he “never heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile,” and believed that the decision to cancel the investigation “was made solely for journalistic reasons.”

Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times’ public editor, was skeptical of Thompson’s blanket denial, asking “how likely” it was that he “knew nothing” about the Savile investigation. “A director general of a giant media company is something like a newspaper’s publisher,” Sullivan wrote. “Would a publisher be very likely to know if an investigation of one of its own people on sexual abuse charges had been killed?”

Thompson has now amended his original statement, claiming that he did, in fact, discuss the investigation at a 2011 Christmas party. But, he said, the journalist who mentioned the report “did not go into what Newsnight was investigating.” On Wednesday, Thompson told the London Times that he had “formed the impression” and was intuitively “aware that they have been looking at allegations of abuse of some kind related to Jimmy Savile,” appearing to contradict his previous denials.

Meanwhile, the BBC is "at war" with itself, with another magazine style show, Panorama, shredding the BBC's official corporate statement about the killing of the story.


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posted by Ace at 01:43 PM

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