Generaldirektøren for BBC, George Entwhistle, trakk seg lørdag kveld etter at det kom frem at en konservativ politiker på toppnivå under Margaret Thatcher feilaktig var utpekt som pedofil overgriper.
BBC ble først beskyldt for ikke å ha tatt Jimmy Saviles seriepedofili alvorlig. Nå har man gått ut med beskyldninger mot navngitte politikere, uten å sjekke grundig nok på forhånd.
George Entwistle, who was appointed to head the network less than eight weeks ago, said in a statement that he had decided that “the honorable thing to do is to step down.”
His announcement followed a report on the BBC’s flagship Newsnight program that the BBC said “wrongly implicated” a former official of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party in sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Earlier Saturday, Mr. Entwistle said the report, broadcast on Nov. 2, reflected “unacceptable journalistic standards” and never should have been broadcast.
The broadcast seems to have only compounded the scandals plaguing the network since the revelation last month that a longtime BBC television host, Jimmy Savile, was suspected of having sexually abused perhaps hundreds of people.
The Nov. 2 Newsnight report contained an interview with a man, Steve Messham, who said he had been taken to a local hotel from a children’s home in the North Wales town of Wrexham in the 1980s and abused more than a dozen times by a man he identified as a senior Conservative politician from the years when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in power. It fueled widespread speculation on the Internet as to the identity of the politician involved, and a former government official, Alistair McAlpine, was named online.
But it emerged that he had been the victim of mistaken identity. On Friday, Mr. Messham apologized, saying the actual Mr. McAlpine bore no resemblance to the man in the photos shown to him by the police in the 1990s. The Newsnight broadcast on Friday was a post-mortem of the story, featuring a broad apology to Mr. McAlpine by the management of the program and the BBC, coupled with an announcement that all investigative reporting by Newsnight was being suspended indefinitely.
Forgjenger i sjefstolen, Mark Thompson, skal overta som CEO for New York Times. Det virker mindre og mindre sannsynlig at han kommer til å bekle stillingen.