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Head of BBC News Steps Aside in the Wake of Child Abuse Reporting Goof-up
BBC’s recent woes go to show, how a little mistake in journalism can cause heads to roll (or careers preserved in formaldehyde). The journalists at BBC had been working hard to save face after Newsnight’s failed investigation into decades of suspected child abuse by Jimmy Savile, and they made another blunder that made them look like a bunch of fools.
While trying to expose a pedophile ring at children’s homes in Britain, this time, Newsnight aired allegations without solid proof against a powerful former politician, Lord McAlpine, earning his wrath. Guardian newspaper did its own investigation and came up with results that suggested Lord McAlpine was a victim of mistaken identity. So, heads began rolling.
First to go, last week, was BBC’s director general George Entwistle, who had earlier in the week told the public, “We at the BBC are deeply sorry to have let Jimmy Savile’s victims down.” He went down himself after only 54 days as the director general. On Monday, Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News, and her deputy Steve Mitchell stepped aside.
George Entwistle resigned from his post on Saturday taking blame for the goof-up of mistaken identities, and ensuring by his apparent career demise that any future person in his post doesn’t only think twice, but a million times before trying to investigate child abuse cases. The two top persons on the News vertical handed over their responsibilities on Monday “to address the lack of clarity around the editorial chain of command,” according to the corporation.
A statement issued by BBC mentioned, “Consideration is now being given to the extent to which individuals should be asked to account further for their actions and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.”