Troubles Grow For Newest New York Times Boss

-By Warner Todd Huston

Troubles are growing for the newest boss of The New York Times over the shocking abuse scandal perpetrated by one of the BBC’s most famous TV personalities, Jimmy Savile. The scandal has rocked the British Isles and cast a dark cloud over the end of former BBC Chief Mark Thompson’s career, the same Mark Thompson that has just become the new head of the NY Times.

The scandal Thompson thought he left behind in England is coming back to haunt him and it’s a case of what did he know and when did he know it.

For his part, Mark Thompson has insisted he knew nothing about the decades-long series of criminal abuse cases committed by BBC TV host Jimmy Savile. The TV personality, who passed away a year ago, is accused of sexually abusing dozens — if not hundreds — of young girls starting back in the 1960s and continuing for decades. Worse, it appears that the British Broadcasting Corporation committed several decades worth of coverups to hide their star’s guilt.

Thompson claims he knew nothing of any of this when he was head of the BBC.

Some in Britain feel that evidence proves that Mark Thompson quashed an investigative piece on Savile that his own network was going to produce and air. It is sure that the investigative program was abruptly canceled by someone high up in the BBC. But Thompson says he never knew of the program and had no hand in its cancellation despite that he was the main man at the Beeb. He said he never learned of any of this until after he stepped down to take the job in New York.

On November 15, however, new evidence surfaced that casts further doubt on Thompson’s claims that he knew nothing of Savile’s guilt until after he left the broadcaster in mid September.

Even The New York Times published a story that seems to prove that Mark Thompson was aware of the cancellation of the Jimmy Savile investigative program ten days before he left his post at the BBC, not afterward as he claimed.

In the letter, sent by Thompson’s office around September 7, the BBC Director General warns he’ll sue The Sunday Times if it publishes any stories saying he knew of the developing Savile scandal. Thompson left the employ of the broadcaster on September 17 and told The New York Times that he didn’t learn of the cancelation of the Savile program until after he left the taxpayer-supported broadcaster. But the dates of the cease and desist letter clearly shows he knew of the Savile program more than a week before he told The New York Times that he knew about it.

The New York Times has also been told that the letter outlines details about the Savile scandal meaning it is obvious that details of the scandal were known in the BBC offices at the time this letter was sent.

This all makes one wonder just how long before Thompson sent the letter did he know about Savile’s abuse scandal? A day? A month? A year? Longer? He’s already dissembled once about when he knew of Savile’s criminal actions.

So, what does Thompson say of this letter? He says he never saw it. He never saw the letter his own offices sent warning about suing people.

Thompson also claims that he never saw any of the half dozen articles that began to unveil Savile’s criminal actions that appeared in newspapers in Britain for months before he left the BBC.

Again, Thompson also claims that he had no knowledge of the spiked TV investigation.

For being the head of one of the biggest broadcasting services in the world, Mr. Thompson was awfully incurious about what his underlings were up to. It makes one wonder how incurious he’ll be about the news in America as he leads the “paper of record.”
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

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,, and, as well as,,,,, 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.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001