The New York Times
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Incoming New York Times Company CEO Mark Thompson "repeatedly missed opportunities
" when he was director general of the BBC to learn why one of its news programs canceled an investigation into sex-abuse claims against entertainer Jimmy Savile
, reports Matthew Purdy in The New York Times. Thompson "said he knew nothing of the Savile investigation before it was canceled by the editor of the BBC’s 'Newsnight' program," Purdy writes.
As for what he knew afterward, his statements have evolved: He first said he was unaware of the investigation, but then acknowledged he was subsequently told of its cancellation by a reporter at a cocktail party. He said while he “may have formed an impression” about possible areas of a Savile investigation, including his charity work, he was unaware of child-sexual-abuse accusations.
Other news organizations covered the "Newsnight" decision, and clips from coverage of the BBC were discussed in daily executive conference calls, Purdy writes. In testimony to Parliament, new DG George Entwistle explained that, in Purdy's words, "only the rarest program issue reaches the director general."
An incredulous member of Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport committee, Damian Collins, said “if this doesn’t qualify, you wonder what the bar is.”