Mark Thompson, the former BBC chief and current president of the New York Times Company, has said all along that he knew nothing about a spiked BBC exposé on BBC child rapist Jimmy Savile. Most astounding of all, on October 13, he said, “During my time as director general of the BBC, I never heard any allegations” about Jimmy Savile. As I wrote on October 26, “If this is true, it makes him a rare find for the Times: everyone else had at least heard about Savile.”
Thompson has subsequently admitted that he was told at a Christmas party last year of the killed story. He didn’t have much choice: BBC reporter Caroline Hawley bared the truth. In addition, Thompson was given many daily news clips about Savile, but we are to believe his account that he never read any of them. What was revealed this week strains credulity beyond limits.
Ten days before Thompson left the BBC in September, his lawyers wrote a letter to The Sunday Times in London threatening to sue if they decided to go forth with a detailed article about the Savile issue. Unavoidably, the letter summarized the accusations against the BBC icon, thus undercutting Thompson’s claim that he never even heard about Savile’s serial sex crimes while he was running the BBC.
Now we are to believe that although Thompson asked his lawyers to write the letter, he never read it! Ed Williams, Thompson’s spokesman in London, says, “He [Thompson] verbally agreed to the tactic of sending a legal letter to the paper, but was not involved in its drafting.” According to today’s New York Times, Thompson did more than agree to the letter: it says he “orally authorized the sending of the letter.” Did he know what he was authorizing? Thompson won’t speak—not even to the Times—but his anonymous aide expects us to believe that his boss “had not known the details of its contents.” If this isn’t bad enough, Thompson’s personal advisor says of the letter, “It’s not clear if he was shown it, but he doesn’t remember reading it.” Thompson is lying, and everyone knows it.