If Las Vegas were taking odds on the likelihood that former BBC chief Mark Thompson will take over on November 12 as the new president and CEO of the New York Times Company, the smart money would bet against him. After what Times public editor Margaret Sullivan said about him yesterday in her blog, he’s already on the ropes.
Sullivan asks, “how likely is it that the Times Company will continue with its plan to bring Mr. Thompson on as chief executive?” She even questions his integrity about his statement that he knew nothing about a spiked documentary last year exposing BBC icon Jimmy Savile as a child rapist. Sullivan writes, “His integrity and decision-making are bound to affect The Times and its journalism—profoundly. It’s worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events.” If this wasn’t enough to finish Thompson, she adds, “What are the implications for the Times Company to have its new C.E.O.—who needs to deal with many tough business challenges here—arriving with so much unwanted baggage?”
Sullivan, it would appear, is playing rabbit for Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the New York Times. It suggests that Thompson has been spoken to about stepping aside but has proven to be obstinate, which is why Sullivan has been rolled out to smack him in public. Either that or Sullivan is going out on a limb.
Last week more than 1,200 files were released on suspected child abusers in the Boy Scouts. Yesterday, a Rhode Island judge was asked to unseal documents in a lawsuit dealing with the Legion of Christ, a Roman Catholic order of priests which has been tainted by a sexual abuse scandal of its own. In both instances, the New York Times was among those seeking the files.
Parliament needs to secure the files on the BBC with an eye toward uncovering the truth about the BBC and the New York Times.