Is the net beginning to tighten on Mark Thompson? The Sunday Times have run a story on either the ex-BBC chief, Savile or Newsnight every week since 28 October, and a picture is emerging that Thompson may have known more than we had previously thought about Newsnight’s now infamous axed investigation of Savile.
I hear that Thompson, now the $4 million chief executive of the New York Times, has been forced to postpone two long-standing open meetings with his new colleagues.
He was originally going to chair the ‘Town Hall’ meetings on December 17 and 18. These were supposed to have been ‘a chance for as many people as possible to see me face to face and for us to begin a conversation about the future direction of this great news organization’.
In an email sent to staff across the pond last Friday, Thompson wrote that the reason he had decided to push the meetings to a later date was:
‘because I expected them to come after the publication of Nick Pollard’s enquiry into the BBC’s handling of the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile. I know that there’s been considerable – and quite understandable – interest in this topic inside as well as outside The Times. I wanted to address questions about it at the Town Halls once the enquiry was out and all the facts were known. It now turns out that Nick Pollard will not submit his report at the end of November as originally planned but some weeks later. As a result, I believe it makes sense to move the Town Halls to early in the new year. By then, anyone who is interested can look at the report and I can address their questions on the basis of the facts’.
It looks like early 2013 could be a turbulent time for the Gray Lady…