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What Kind Of Week Has It Been? 26 October, 2012

Posted: 25/10/2012 00:09

Sorry everyone, it's not going to be very funny this week.

The news this week has been overwhelmed by one indisputable fact: Jimmy Savile is one of history's most horrible bastards. After years of getting away with some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, the speed at which it's hurtling out of some very dark corners is as disconcerting as it disgusting. It's the extent to which other people knew something and said less than nothing that provides most of the shock, outrage and bewilderment.

That so many people knew or suspected something, everyone from DJ's, press officers, newspaper editors and all sorts of other people with a big enough ego to work at the coalface of showbiz but far too timid to go to an immediate manager and say something about the child abuser in their midst, seems truly inconceivable. Then again, it's easy to say with hindsight and wiser heads, especially since according to footage from the Panorama special on Monday he was unbelievably flagrant on camera in the way he interacted with underage girls.

While the people who knew him and heard distressing things took no action will have a lifetime of examining their own consciences, Newsnight editor Peter Rippon and BBC Director General George Entwistle are in much more immediate trouble. Rippon in particular seems absolutely bang to rights, as he inexplicably went cold on the Savile investigation his staff was conducting in spite of a swathe of compelling evidence. At one stage even trying to impose an astonishing moral relativism about the kind of girls he was targeting that burns under the spotlight. All the while, an entertainment crew on BBC One were ploughing away busying themselves with tribute shows, and a discussion between Entwistle (then head of TV) and Helen Boaden (then head of news) lasted about as long as this. Entwistle claims this speaks to BBC editorial independence, but now looks like a calamitous case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. Under questioning the DG claimed, with Jesuitical distinction that make an embattled Bishop proud, said he personally didn't fail, but the system did.

While Panorama's merciless investigation into Newsnight and the BBC's general wherewithal through the biggest crisis in its history does the corporation great credit, everything else about this week has been pathetic. Young and often vulnerable people were brought to Television Centre, a place that should have been filled with great excitement for a TV fan at that age, and were allegedly defiled by an arrogant master manipulator. Worse yet, the people around them, in the upstanding, informed and august BBC, seemed to be clueless in every conceivable sense.

Meanwhile, a former child actor has claimed that the Murdoch press have also covered up a revelation-filled story to protect an asset. How many times, in how many other ways, can we hear the same terrible story?

 

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