And now their lies are not working…
Isaiah 28:17 (NIV)
I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place…
Update: BBC chief resigns Sun Nov 11 2012 15:34:00
The BBC Director General, George Entwistle, left, stands with the Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Chris Patten, as he announces his resignation as Director General outside New Broadcasting House in central London, after recent news program problems, Saturday. The BBC’s director general had said earlier Saturday that it should not have aired a report that wrongly implicated a politician in a child sex-abuse scandal, admitting that the program further damaged trust in a broadcaster already reeling from the fallout over its decision not to air similar allegations against one of its star hosts.
LONDON—The director general of the BBC has resigned in the wake of a controversial broadcast on child sex abuse, the BBC announced Saturday night.
The director, George Entwistle, issued a statement saying, “I have decided that the honorable thing to do is to step down.”
Earlier Saturday, Entwistle said the report, broadcast on the Newsnight program, never should have been broadcast.
The report wrongly implicated a former Conservative Party official, Alistair McAlpine, the BBC statement said. He admitted that the program further damaged trust in a broadcaster already reeling from the fallout over its decision not to air similar allegations against one of its star hosts.
George Entwistle’s comments followed an embarrassing retreat for the BBC, which apologized Friday for its Nov. 2 “Newsnight” TV show on alleged sex abuse in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
During the program, victim Steve Messham claimed he had been abused by a senior Conservative Party figure. The BBC didn’t name the alleged abuser, but online rumours focused on Alistair McAlpine, a Conservative Party member of the House of Lords. On Friday, he issued a fierce denial and threatened to sue.
Messham then said he had been mistaken about his abuser’s identity and apologized to McAlpine, prompting fury over the BBC’s decision to air the report and the suspension of investigative programs at “Newsnight.”
“We should not have put out a film that was so fundamentally wrong,” Entwistle told BBC radio on Saturday. “What happened here is completely unacceptable.”
But Enwistle’s insistence that he was not aware of the program before it was broadcast — saying in hindsight he wished the matter had been referred to him — has drawn incredulity from politicians and media watchers wondering how he could have allowed a second botched handling of a high-profile child sex-abuse story so soon after the broadcaster was pitched into crisis over allegations against its late TV host Jimmy Savile.
“At the end of the day, the director general of the BBC is editor-in-chief,” said John Whittingdale, chairman of the government’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “This has done immense damage to the reputation of the BBC.”
The scandal around Savile, who died last year and who is alleged to have sexually abused many young people, put the BBC and its premier investigative program “Newsnight” on the firing line after it emerged the program had decided to shelve its own report into allegations against Savile.
The uproar over that decision had already prompted deep soul searching at the long-venerated broadcaster, and now the latest blunder involving McAlpine by the same program could mean even more fallout.
Entwistle, who became director general of the BBC eight weeks ago, acknowledged that the network is facing a “bad crisis” of trust but that he has taken “clear and decisive action” to find out what happened with the program on abuse in Wales. He said he expects a report into what went wrong to be on his desk by Sunday, adding that staffers could be disciplined.
But many people — lawmakers and journalists alike — are questioning why a program levelling such serious allegations about a politician was not vetted by Entwistle himself, especially in wake of the Savile scandal.
When the Savile scandal broke, Enwistle said he is a hands-off chief executive who relies on a BBC system under which issues are brought to his attention by competent editors and executives.
He pleaded the same in a combative BBC radio interview on Saturday, saying that with the McAlpine report, as far as he could tell, it had been referred to senior figures in the BBC’s news, management and legal divisions.
But the two severe blows to the BBC’s credibility and criticism of his management skills have led to speculation that Enwistle could lose his job.
“He’s not sounding like a man in charge,” said Kevin Marsh, a former senior editor at the BBC, citing “misstep after misstep” in Entwistle’s handling of the crises.
Marsh said the Savile case emerged just after Enwistle took his current position, “but what I can’t understand is how he didn’t learn the lessons from that. He can’t go on coming across as this completely incurious beast.”
Marsh said that fallout from the McAlpine scandal means Entwistle’s job could be on the line — and worse still, the future of investigative journalism at the BBC during a crisis of trust.
British Culture Secretary Maria Miller said Saturday that events of the past few days underline the “vital importance of restoring credibility” to the BBC.
Harriet Harman, a top official in the opposition, said it is clear that something had gone “badly wrong” at” Newsnight. “ She said Entwistle “needs to show decisively that he is addressing the systemic problems which are in evidence here.”
New York Times and The Associated Press contributed to this article
Philippians 1:27-28 (NIV) When we don’t blink they go down…
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God…