-By Warner Todd Huston
British police have finally issued its first major report on the criminal sex scandal that has rocked Britain’s TV and entertainment industry, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), for well over a year and the details are shocking.
Late BBC TV and radio star Jimmy Savile is accused of physically abusing hundreds of children–the youngest of whom was just 8–as well as many young adults whom he met through his high profile charity work at various children’s hospitals throughout England.
Savile’s crimes began in Manchester in 1955, peaked in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and continued at a lower pace all the way until at least 2009, two years before his death at 85.
The police report concludes that Savile committed 214 criminal offenses including 34 rapes or other serious sexual assaults across England. 450 people have come forward with information about Savile’s crimes
At the height of his popularity and fame, Savile was awarded a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth for his charity work with children, but all the while he was using that charity work as a means to sexually abuse at-risk kids targeting most of them at hospitals such as the famed Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London.
The report says, “It is now clear that Savile was hiding in plain sight and using his celebrity status and fund-raising activity to gain uncontrolled access to vulnerable people across six decades.”
Both Reuters and The New York Times are reporting that the Savile scandal is responsible for the resignation of BBC Director General George Entwistle after only 54 days in office. This, however, isn’t exactly correct.
As the Times has it, “As the scandal grew, it forced the resignation of the former director general of the BBC, George Entwistle.”
This claim leads readers to believe that George Entwistle was being held accountable for the Savile scandals, but the facts don’t quite speak to that. Entwistle was not chief of the BBC until 2012, years after Savile had passed away.
What Entwistle resigned over was a separate incident, one no less disastrous for the Beeb, where a TV show produced during Entwistle’s short tenure accused a former politician of abusing children in the 1970s. It turned out that the politician had been cleared of charges decades ago and the BBC missed that fact while researching for its sensational report.
Perhaps Entwistle may not have been forced out over one bad program were it not for the mounting Savile investigation, but he did not resign specifically over Savile’s crimes as Reuters and the Times intimate.
It might not be surprising that The New York Times is not keen to note who was the actual BBC chief during the end of Savile’s crime spree. As it happens, the man in charge of the BBC during the last seven years of Jimmy Savile’s life was none other than Mark Thompson, now the CEO of The New York Times.
Thompson resigned as head of the BBC in September of 2012 to take the top spot at the “paper of record” in the US where he started in November.
It was under Thompson’s reign as BBC chief that a news program on the Savile scandal was canceled, causing suspicion that the show was canned in order to save the BBC’s reputation.
A new report commissioned by the BBC concluded that the top executives had no hand in the cancellation of the Savile investigative TV program, but that management was nonetheless responsible for a failure to respond properly to the developing scandal.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
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