BBC and Savile-thoughts after a night at the Frontline

At one point during the debate about the BBC and Savile at the Frontline Club in London on November 7th a man in the audience said he was getting confused what the main point was.That’s totally understandable since there are now so many issues arising.

The Frontline Club normally post recordings of their events as podcasts on itunes so you can hear the debate there. On the podcast you will hear but not see the two video clips I played at the event illustrating Lord Patten’s approach before he knew the Rippon blog was wrong and after he knew.Both featured encounters with the excellent @lucymanning of ITV News.I posted links to the videos in the blog and they are both well worth watching.

But the main event of the night  was not the panel or the videos but the presence in the audience of Newsnight producer Meirion Jones and reporter Liz MacKean who agreed to answer questions which panel chair Steve Hewlett put to them.

The new thought I took away from the event was sparked by something Meirion said when he talked about  the position of BBC executives who knew that Savile was a paedophile and that they had broadcast a tribute to him.

So far there’s been a focus on what BBC executives ,who realised what Savile was, might or might not have done to stop the Newsnight item going out before the BBC1 tribute programme .In my view the jury is still out on that.

But also put yourself in the place of  those BBC executives who might have known nothing of all this before the tribute programme went out but discovered afterwards that not only had the BBC broadcast a tribute to a paedophile but had not broadcast an item which would have told the real Jimmy Savile story. They might misguidedly have believed they had a motive for being  economical with the truth of what they now knew.

Many thanks for all the positive feedback the first blog has got and especially to those who have suggested extra detail.I will work on that for the next few days and maybe post something new early next week.I am particularly interested in creating an earlier timeline around the period of the Newsnight investigation.

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