George Entwistle has resigned

(25 Posts)
dapplegrey Wed 14-Nov-12 08:46:35

I agree with flatpack - the BBC must have been so excited at the prospect of nailing a charge of paedophilia onto a senior Tory - and bitterly disappointed when they got it wrong.

Growlithe Tue 13-Nov-12 18:32:45

Just because Lord McAlpine isn't a child molester doesn't make me believe Thatcher is any less evil.

flatpackhamster Tue 13-Nov-12 17:54:55

hackmum

That's just silly, flatpack. Perhaps you failed to notice that it was the Guardian who pointed out that Newsnight had accused the wrong person.

What's silly about it? It's exactly the mental reaction that went through the mind of every lefty who retweeted the allegations, include George Monbiot and Sally Bercow - and, no doubt, most of the MN crowd who got themselves so exercised. Unable to think clearly because of their Thatcher-hate, they saw what they wanted to see.

That the Guardian punctured the BS-bubble first doesn't detract from that.

edam Mon 12-Nov-12 21:05:56

Good point, hackmum.

hackmum Mon 12-Nov-12 17:25:12

That's just silly, flatpack. Perhaps you failed to notice that it was the Guardian who pointed out that Newsnight had accused the wrong person.

flatpackhamster Mon 12-Nov-12 08:18:23

hackmum

Yes, it's baffling. And apparently if you go back to the transcript of the Waterhouse inquiry, Messham says he was abused by someone called McAlpine who he believed was now dead (probably Lord McAlpine's cousin, who lived in North Wales and died about 20 years ago). Why the investigative team didn't unearth this rather crucial fact is pretty puzzling.

It's not puzzling in the slightest. They didn't do basic journalistic checks because their thought process went like this:

"Wow, he's accusing an ex Tory minister. Tories! We can get 'em!"

"Wow, he was a minister under Thatcher! Thatcher! She's evil, we can get her!"

In the BBC/Guardian culture, the chance to run a headline like "Thatcher government covered up paedos" is so magnificent that it can't be missed. Their excitement at a chance to smear the woman they hate was so overwhelming they saw what they wanted to see.

edam Sun 11-Nov-12 22:50:47

and it's now emerging the story was cleared by layer after layer of useless BBC management and apparently the lawyers. WTF? Sack 9/10ths of the managers and employ loads more senior, experienced journalists - the ones who have been sacked in wave after wave of BBC cost-cutting while management becomes ever-more bloated (to borrow Paxman's phrase - only he put it much better). That kind of stupid 'let's put all the money into management and sack most of the journalists and expect the few remaining ones to operate with no money' thinking is what led to this mess.

hackmum Sun 11-Nov-12 16:33:23

edam: "The whole 'whoops, Meesham mistook the perpetrator' thing is bizarre. It's basic first-day in journalism stuff to be sure about who is who - the idea Newsnight didn't show him a picture or establish who he was talking about is just mad."

Yes, it's baffling. And apparently if you go back to the transcript of the Waterhouse inquiry, Messham says he was abused by someone called McAlpine who he believed was now dead (probably Lord McAlpine's cousin, who lived in North Wales and died about 20 years ago). Why the investigative team didn't unearth this rather crucial fact is pretty puzzling. Again, I don't understand why NN used an outside investigative team rather than carrying out their own investigation. I don't understand why they relied on one source when, in the Jimmy Savile investigation, three witnesses was not considered enough. (Especially given there was no chance in the Savile case of them being sued for libel.) NN is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs programme - I genuinely can't understand how they can get it so badly wrong.

"Problem is the government can now brush child abuse under the carpet, while the media is completely distracted into a BBC witchhunt."

I agree. Unfortunately sections of the media have got it in for the BBC and relish an opportunity to put the boot in. Yet the number of times newspapers have got stories completely wrong in the past few years is considerable. The BBC's record in comparison is pretty good. It makes me sad that attention seems to have been diverted away from the shocking lack of protection in Broadmoor, Leeds General, Stoke Mandeville and Haut de la Garenne, which allowed Savile (and possibly others) to carry out their abuse unchecked. When will the people who allowed that to happen be brought to account?

Fayrazzled Sun 11-Nov-12 12:24:39

I entirely agree, Cogito.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 12:04:54

I think Mr Meesham seems to have been let down by all kinds of people at all stages past and present. I think, by being unequivocal about the retraction, he retains credibility. He should be part of the new investigation along with as many others that can find the courage to come forward. It's just too serious a sequence of crimes to be left to the BBC, Twitter and so forth... we have to insist on judicial rigour or there will be no justice and more people - including those wrongly accused - will be damaged as a result

Fayrazzled Sun 11-Nov-12 11:58:02

Cogito- do you really not thing Steve Meesham has been discredited? He was (put?) into a situation where he claimed to be abused by Lord McAlpine, even though the name was not aired, and then has had to retract that as being incorrect. I'm not saying he is lying about being abused, not at all, but I do think his credibility as a witness has been severely dented. And that's terrible for him personally, but also for an investigation into the N Wales sex abuse scandal and the way in which the subsequent inquiry was handled.

Like you, I'm incredulous NN could have let this situation occur following the disastrous Savile saga.

edam Sun 11-Nov-12 09:45:01

Mr Meesham clearly was a victim of horrific abuse. But not by Lord McAlpine. The whole 'whoops, Meesham mistook the perpetrator' thing is bizarre. It's basic first-day in journalism stuff to be sure about who is who - the idea Newsnight didn't show him a picture or establish who he was talking about is just mad.

Problem is the government can now brush child abuse under the carpet, while the media is completely distracted into a BBC witchhunt.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 09:11:31

I also find it hard to believe that, hot on the heels of deciding not to run the Savile investigation because of lack of evidence, the editors wouldn't run this one past every lawyer at the BBC before screening. I don't think Mr Meesham has been discredited at all and I don't think the allegations can be more easily ignored. However, it demonstrates the dangers of trial by TV/social network & why we have a police force and a judicial system.

Fayrazzled Sun 11-Nov-12 08:16:40

I think the whole situation is very odd too. I don't know who is to blame for the whole sorry mess, but my real concern is that Steve Meesham has been discredited/comes across as an unreliable witness and it now becomes much easier to brush the allegations under the carpet.

If Newsnight hadn't checked the story out fully before broadcast then it deserves castigation as it has potentially put investigation into both the child sex abuse allegations and, just as importantly, the allegations of a cover-up in the initial enquiry in jeopardy. I find it hard to believe NN had not done its homework- but perhaps that is the case?

Growlithe Sun 11-Nov-12 07:52:38

It defies all logic that Steve Meesham hadn't seen a picture of the person they were talking about before they filmed the show, and then continued to avoid seeing his face until yesterday.

It seems wierd that noone came to the conclusion that the allegations were incorrect immediately right away after the airing of the show. It's almost like DC didn't know who was getting blamed until Phillip Schofield gave him the list, and after that this whole new chain of events unfolded. Which is of course absurd.

It is all very odd.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 07:10:52

Unquestioning belief is what got the BBC into hot water. This is why any alleged victims' accusations have to be checked, corroborated and other evidence found. Steve Meesham and people like him must be taken seriously, of course, but 'we believe you' is too simplistic & not enough on its own.

Growlithe Sat 10-Nov-12 23:24:01

Steve Meesham. We believe you. Look. Tell us.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-Nov-12 23:16:47

It shouldn't result in anything being sidelined or hushed up. Investigations into any cover up of abuse are a police and parliament matter. Press and other media have a role to play - it's not solely the BBC's job to uncover wrongdoing. Newsnight editorial policy and judgement are the BBC's problem.

DorisIsWaiting Sat 10-Nov-12 23:03:00

It will result in investigations into the cover up of abuse being sidelined (he was not the only one who said he was abused and that the previous enquiry disregarded or did not report on evidence)

I just feel it's all going to get shut down and hushed up again.

I'm not normally it's all a conspiracy type person but this is making my teeth itch.

DorisIsWaiting Sat 10-Nov-12 23:00:17

I think the whole BBC self flagelation over the newsnight thing is ridiculous. They did not name anyone.

FWIW i do not believe the story at face value. I find it hard to believe that Meesham has not googled/ researched the man he believed abused him. So he is either completely fabricated the story or he has been nobbled/ got at.

difficultpickle Sat 10-Nov-12 22:51:52

I think his credibility was shot with Savile and the NN story compounded it. NN didn't name names.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-Nov-12 22:50:33

Did the Newsnight report actually name Lord McAlpine? I thought it hadn't and his name had come out on Twitter later.... I actually think Entwistle should have stuck around to manage the inquiry rather than jump ship so quickly. Now they've got a big problem on a flagship programme and a big hole at the top of the organisation to match...

pinkteddy Sat 10-Nov-12 22:27:47

It does seem like he's taken the flack for the Savile case. Although the newsnight report which named the Tory MP should never have been broadcast.

edam Sat 10-Nov-12 22:17:27

Wow. Just got in from blogfest (which was fab), rushing to get ds into bed, he tried to turn the TV on but it was on rolling news and story about DG resigning stopped me in my tracks as my mouth was forming the words to tell him off (ds not DG). Suppose it was inevitable but this whole Savile/Newsnight/Newsnight again thing is getting so mad and so out of control...

difficultpickle Sat 10-Nov-12 21:49:52

Here

The only good thing he has done.

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