The shocking developments in the Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) raise disturbing questions about Mark Thompson, the former BBC director general who was named the new president and CEO of The New York Times Company in August. Given what has come to light thus far, Thompson is at the very least "guilty of gross professional incompetence" and at worst involved in "an indefensible cover-up," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell charged in letters sent yesterday to New York Times publisher Jill Abramson executive editor Jill Abramson and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
"If you did conduct a background investigation during the hiring process, what were your findings? If you knew about Mr. Savile’s alleged crimes while Mr. Thompson was director general, why did you decide to go ahead and hire him anyway?" Bozell inquired in the letters, which he is making public today, "because the public deserves to know the truth." "I want to give you the benefit of the doubt in this matter, and therefore the opportunity to respond," the Media Research Center founder added, concluding, "Your response will be reproduced in full." [You can find the Sulzberger letter pasted below and the nearly-identical Abramson letter is linked here ]
December 12, 2012
Mr. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Dear Mr. Sulzberger,
The Media Research Center and our CNSNews.com division have been tracking disturbing developments regarding the Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal at the BBC. If your new CEO Mark Thompson was not aware of these alleged crimes of pedophilia during his tenure as director general of the BBC – as he alleges – then Mr. Thompson is, at minimum, guilty of gross professional incompetence. On the other hand, if Mr. Thompson did know, but chose to ignore it, then we are looking at an indefensible cover-up.
Had this scandal occurred at any other organization, the media outrage would be absolutely overwhelming. At the height of the Catholic Church child abuse scandal, both Pope John Paul II and the current pope, Benedict XVI, were held responsible for the conduct of the clergy. Though the Catholic Church should be held to a higher standard than any other institution, the principle that leaders must take ultimate responsibility for the actions of their subordinates is universal.
Consider the media onslaught after revelations of phone tapping at NewsCorp surfaced. The entire media establishment, including The New York Times, aggressively investigated Rupert Murdoch’s role.
We have a similar situation here with Mr. Thompson, yet the media – and most troublingly the Times – remain mostly silent. Legitimate questions abound about what Mr. Thompson knew and when he knew it. As a multi-million dollar media enterprise, you have a clear duty and obligation to be transparent with your readers and your shareholders.
As reports of Mr. Savile’s sickening pedophilia have come to light, the BBC and Parliament have each launched investigations. Has The New York Times commissioned its own investigation, and, if so, who is leading it?
If you did conduct a background investigation during the hiring process, what were your findings? If you knew about Mr. Savile’s alleged crimes while Mr. Thompson was director general, why did you decide to go ahead and hire him anyway?
I will be making this letter public, because the public deserves to know the truth. I believe this is one of the most important eras in American journalism and a defining moment for the Times.
The apparent lack of transparency up to this point on the part of the Times perfectly illustrates why conservatives mistrust the liberal media establishment. However, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt in this matter, and therefore the opportunity to respond. Your response will be reproduced in full.
I look forward to receiving your response.
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center