November 19th, 2012

Questions Pile Up for Thompson, But Not From Everyone

Questions about what former BBC Director General Mark Thompson knew about Savile, and when, are piling up on both sides of the pond. Even the New York Times is gunning for their new boss. Thompson left his £834,000 BBC gig on 16 September and started the $4M NYT job on 12 November. On 23 October – five weeks after quitting the BBC – Thompson wrote a letter to Tory MP Rob Wilson stating:

“During my time as director general of the BBC, I never heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile.”

Yet, it is now clear, thanks to freelance journalist Miles Goslett who has been investigating the Savile/BBC story for almost a year, and the Sunday Times, that on 6 September – 10 days before he quit the BBC – Thompson engaged lawyers Mills & Reeve to write a letter threatening to sue the Sunday Times if it published certain allegations about Thompson’s knowledge of the Savile scandal dating back to December 2011. This letter was published on the Sunday Times website yesterday.

Thompson now claims that he did not know exactly what Mills & Reeve’s letter contained and was not shown a copy of it before it was sent. This woeful explanation – the latest in a long line of laughable excuses – has been met with mockery in New York. The New Yorker’s  John Cassidy wrote over the weekend:

“For his sake, I hope that Mark Thompson, the former BBC bigwig who recently took over as chief executive of the New York Times Company, rented an apartment rather than buying one. The way things are going, he could well be back in London pretty soon.”

Thompson – and the New York Times’ owners – must be getting worried. How long can they maintain their position when their own reporters are covering this story prominently in the newsroom just a couple of floors below Thompson’s own office? Meanwhile, there is only silence on this story from the place that likes to consider itself the newspaper industry’s noticeboard: Media Guardian. Odd…


  1. 1
    Mills & Boon says:

    We will be issuing a cease and desist here as well.


    • 8
      Chicken Ball says:

      When people with beards have just eaten, their mouths are covered in oil and it looks gross.
      Yǒu húzi de rén gānggāng chī wán dōngxi mǎnzuǐ shì yóu kàn qǐlái ěxīn
      有胡子的人 刚刚吃玩东西 满嘴是油 看起来恶心


    • 40
      Anonymous says:

      he could well be back in italy.
      italy for those who prospered for those times during blair’s get rich quick scheme.


  2. 2
    Silent Bob says:


    • 24
      Peter Grimes says:

      Least said, soonest mended, eh Bob, but that slimy get Thompson deserves both barrels.

      Do you have an opinion as to whether the NYT will give him a years’ salary when they fire him as Fat Pang did for the Ent?

      No, thought as much!


    • 50
      Beware all imitations says:
  3. 3
    Sur, Grabbit and Run says:

    I refer your client to the reponse given in Arkell v Pressdram


  4. 4
    Kebab Time says:

    BBC staff danced to the Jim’ll Fix It theme tune at a boozy Television Centre party.

    Journalists played the track over and over again, cheering each time it came on. The party was just a few hundred yards from dressing rooms where Savile committed some of his worst sex crimes.

    Staff, including some correspondents, reporters and senior producers, held the bash to celebrate their move across London to Broadcasting House. A source said: “Everyone was in high spirits and they wanted to mark the occasion in style. They found an area that was empty and set up disco lights, music, food and drink.

    “It was your standard office party until one bright spark decided to play the Jim’ll Fix It theme tune on their iPod.

    “Amazingly people seemed to love it and started dancing and cheering.

    “That happened several times over the course of the evening and got the same reaction again and again. They only stopped playing it when a boss from World TV gave them one of the most ­disapproving stares anyone has ever seen.”

    Our source added: “To say this was in poor taste would be the understatement of the year.


  5. 5
    Ed Miliband says:

    We need an enquiry. Or Wunashun. Or both.


  6. 6
    Tuscan Tony says:

    “Thompson now claims that he did not know exactly what Mills & Reeve’s letter contained and was not shown a copy of it before it was sent. ”

    What an absolute crock, I can say that no lawyer in the civilised world would send out a letter like that without full client knowledge of its contents and meaning.

    Who does he think we all are – Labour voting sheepmongs?


    • 10
      Mills & Boon says:

      Dear Mr Tony

      My clients, the sheepmongs, resent the slur on them caused by your characterisation of them as voting. They have never taken part in an election and have no future intention of ever taking part in a democratic process. We would be grateful if you would withdraw this slur immediately.

      Yours sincerely


      • 12
        Tuscan Tony says:

        I will go one further by not only withdrawing but also wiping off on the curtains before departure.


    • 13
      IMHO says:

      The Altziemers defence is wearing a bit thin methinks.


  7. 7
    Operation Crossbow says:

    The whole thing about the BBC and Savile stinks. I had to laugh today when Radio 5 toady Richard Bacon was commenting on the church covering up sexual abuse.

    Funnily enough for once the BBC didn’t go OTT over it as they normally do. I wonder why?


    • 51
      Peter Pan says:

      Not just the BBC, it stinks of a Establishment cover-up all round. Strange how little coverage in the UK press (even the right-wing press) this Thompson story has got. Eyes need to be averted away from Savile, for some reason


    • 56
      Anonymous says:

      we are an inverted puramid of piffle.
      we are the icing in the too but as the ouramid is inverted.
      at the bottom is s@it, but as the pyramid is inverted.

      so shit at top.
      oxing at the bottom.

      stop supporting sssssshite.


  8. 11
    Jog On says:

    The BBC are untouchable, so jog on


    • 23
      Old Tory Bigot says:

      I think the BBC have just discovered that they are by no means untouchable.

      If we had a proper Tory administration, they would be looking to cut the BBC down to size (by God it needs it) and reviewing its funding model.

      Unfortunately Dave is just as in thrawl to the Beeb as any Labour PM would be.


      • 53
        Anonymous says:

        being wishful vs being real.
        regardless of whether one is young or old.
        time is now for being real.
        hope so.
        be full,


    • 45
      CHRIST ON A BIKE! says:

      “The BBC are untouchable, so jog on”

      Which is odd considering how much “touching” has gone at the BBC over the years.


  9. 14
  10. 15
    Thompson spin and lie merchant extraodonaire says:

    Thompson is just a liar. NY times should get shot of him while they can. He turned the BBC into a political smear machine and NY times can do without that nonsense.


    • 34
      Norman Stanley Fletcher says:

      A political smear machine like Thompson would probably feel right at home at the NYT. It is the American version of the Guardian (the home of impeccable tolerance and an endless variety of political opinions), don’t forget


  11. 17
    IDF says:

    The senior PIJ cadre was operating in a media building. They were’t there to be interviewed. They were using reporters as human shields


  12. 18
    Highly paid BBC executives says:

    I am afraid we just don’t have a clue. Somedays we may bother to find out what is going on, other days we don’t.


  13. 19
    Pierced Organ says:

    All these Brits abroad letting the side down. Will give us all a bad name.


  14. 27
    BBC Management Trainer says:

    Our Thomo just following BBC training and procedures. Hear no eveil, See No evil and only speak evil when no one who would disagree would hear; deny everything, blame any one else and remember, always remember, the BBC are open transparent and always right.


  15. 28
    M.Hassan says:

    Israel and Palestine should pick who controls Jerusalem based on who wins the most points in the Eurovision Song Contest.


  16. 29
    Makes you wonder says:

    Plenty more shit to come out of this scandal. The BBC bosses have been lying and covering up for all manner of nastiness, for many decades.

    What did Michael Grade see, that made him leave so suddenly? Perhaps he didn’t want to be tarred with it?


  17. 30
    Sue Brown - I have rights too. says:

    Disgraceful. He is not co-operating and is thus preventing justice being done. People need to put this behind them and he is preventing them from doing so with his lies and denials.


  18. 32
    Fatty Pang says:

    Anyone for oysters


  19. 37
    Henry Ford says:

    Gone very quiet on the hacking front lately.Lucky for the BBC Rupert wont hold any grudges.Will he ?


  20. 38
    keredybretsa says:

    Seems like his new executive chair will soon be nicely and neatly sawn through.


  21. 39
    Go get 'em Guidio says:

    He’s talking nonsense His lawyers would never send such a threat without consulting their client but, if they did that would be a breach of the rules, strictly unlawful & leaves them at risk of disciplinary sanction


  22. 48
    Anonymous says:

    Why do these people grow such pathetic apologies for a beard?


  23. 49
    fitzfitz says:

    The newly leftist New Yorker is no longer either reliable or indeed readable – whether or not they are accurate in this instance. Their quota appointed London “”correspondent”” is a female of limited ability whose appointment surprised peers …. her published material from London is scant and predictable from a topic rich city … the New Yorker “”endorsed”” Obama : laughable .


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