New York Times columnist attacks former BBC head Mark Thompson over Savile - even though he's due to be the new boss

 

Further doubts have been expressed about whether former BBC director-general Mark Thompson is a suitable figure to take over as the new chief executive of the New York Times (NYT) in an opinion piece published by the paper.

He is due to take over next month, but concerns have already been raised about his appointment in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Just last week the newspaper's public editor Margaret Sullivan, whose role is to oversee standards, questioned Mr Thompson's claim that he had not been formally told of a Newsnight investigation into Savile's activities, which was eventually shelved.

NYT columnist Joe Nocera said in the paper today that Mr Thompson appeared "wilfully ignorant" of the issues and questioned what sort of an organisation the BBC was under his command. He added there was "plainly" a cover-up.

There have been repeated suggestions, which the corporation denies, that the BBC pulled the Newsnight probe because it had already lined up tribute programmes to the late TV and radio presenter.

An inquiry is being undertaken, led by former Sky News chief Nick Pollard, into the decision-making process over the dropped investigation. Police are also investigating Savile's activities and he is now believed to have been of the UK's most prolific abusers, with around 300 possible victims.

Questioning his role, Nocera wrote in the New York Times: "Thompson now says that at a cocktail party last December, a BBC reporter said to him, 'You must be worried about the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile.

"Soon thereafter, Thompson asked his underlings about the investigation and was told that it had been killed - for journalistic reasons. He claims to have inquired no further, not even to ask what the investigation was about."

Mr Thompson stepped down from his post as director-general last month and his successor George Entwistle was engulfed in the scandal just days into the job.

Sullivan said of Mr Thompson last week: "It's worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events."

A further inquiry is being carried out into the "culture and practices" of the BBC during the years Savile worked there, led by Dame Janet Smith.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said "heads will need to roll" at the BBC if it is discovered that abuse was ignored.

"Serious questions need to be asked and if after we find out what's happened, it's clear that people have turned a blind eye or, worse still, connived with it then of course they're going to have to be held to account and - if that turns out to be the case - heads will need to roll of course," he told ITV's The Agenda.

Yesterday it emerged that Savile was barred from any involvement with the BBC's Children In Need charity.

Sir Roger Jones, a former chairman of the charity, said he had been uncomfortable about allowing Savile to have any association with their work.

Although he had "no evidence" that Savile was up to anything, he said he behaved strangely, adding: "I think we all recognised he was a pretty creepy sort of character."

And Britain's most senior police officer said if allegations about Jimmy Savile had been linked while he was alive, they would have exposed "a pattern of behaviour".

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said police and other organisations had not connected a number of separate claims made about Savile's allegedly predatory actions.

PA

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Ad Sales - UK Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global mul...

Head of Sales

£35k £40k DOE + £15k Commission + Results based share options: Savvy Media Ltd...

Social Media Executive - Cornwall

£18-23K: Savvy Media Ltd: You know the latest viral videos going round on Face...

SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER

£40k basic, £70K with OTE: Savvy Media Ltd: If you want to work for a global l...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past