Mark Thompson Had No Idea What Was in That Letter From Mark Thompson

BBC director general Mark Thompson is pictured outside the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)'s Television Centre in White City, west London, on March 2, 2010. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is to slash spending on its online services and close two radio stations in a shake-up which follows criticism of its market dominance, it announced Tuesday. Digital radio stations BBC Asian Network and BBC 6 Music will close from next year as part of a strategic review of the BBC's strategy designed to boost programme funding, said director general Mark Thompson.
Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images2012 AFP

Brand new New York Times president and former BBC Director General Mark Thompson has said he knew nothing of the child-sex allegations against longtime BBC producer Jimmy Savile until after he left the network, and he's willing to look pretty underinformed to stick to that story. First there were the multiple newspaper articles that followed a canceled 2011 BBC investigation into the allegations against Savile, prepared for Thompson in his morning briefings, which Thompson said he never read. Now the Times reports that a letter written on behalf of Thompson, threatening to sue the Sunday Times (of London) over an article it was preparing on the Savile scandal, "included a summary of the alleged abuse, including the allegation that some abuse might have occurred at the BBC." Apparently, he didn't read it.

Per the Times:

An aide to the former BBC chief said that although Mr. Thompson had orally authorized the sending of the letter, he had not known the details of its contents. “It’s not clear if he was shown it, but he doesn’t remember reading it,” said the aide, a personal adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to give Mr. Thompson’s version of events. Mr. Thompson declined to comment.

Journalists at the Times are already suspicious of Thompson's explanation that he knew nothing about the allegations against Savile. "How do you not know?" one asked New York's Joe Hagen. The answer, it would appear, is that he doesn't read the things that would tell him.