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Director General of BBC Resigns Over "Poor Journalism"

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the new-fact-checkers dept.

Media 214

dryriver writes "George Entwistle, the new Director General of the BBC who had been on the job for a mere 54 days, has voluntarily resigned over a BBC program that featured 'poor journalism'. The program in question was 'Newsnight', which typically features hard-hitting investigative journalism similar to American programs like '60 Minutes'. On Friday night, Newsnight accused a prominent Conservative MP and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Lord Alistair McAlpine, of having sexually abused a number of young boys at Bryn Estyn Children's Home in the 70s and 80s. Only after Newsnight aired with the allegations in the UK did the BBC realize that 'the wrong photographs were shown' to the alleged sexual abuse victims, who are now adults, and that Lord Alistair McAlpine had nothing whatsoever to do with the abuses committed. Newsnight's 'poor journalism' caused George Entwistle, the Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, to resign voluntarily over the scandal caused by the erroneous allegations. This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."

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214 comments

The BBC Should Report the TRUTH! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950683)

I submit David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist

And I have the proof

How can one explain the phenomenal global success of one of this country's least talented individuals? There are only three ways.

        * Mr. Hasselhoff actually is talented, but this goes unnoticed in his own country.

        * Mr. Hasselhoff has sold his soul to Satan in return for global success.

        * David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist.

            I vote for the latter -- and perhaps, after seeing the facts involved, the rest of the world will agree.

The Facts First, the obvious. Add a little beard and a couple of horns -- David Hasselhoff looks like the Devil, doesn't he? And the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell
fad of devil's hash.

What does this mean? Well, Baywatch is David's fad. David is the devil. The Hash is what makes Knight Rider popular in Amsterdam.

(I was actually hoping to make the letters in his name spell out he is of the devil, which would be possible if his middle name was "Ethesis," which it might be. I'm sure his publicist would hide such a middle name if it were true.)

Second -- and most importantly -- David Hasselhoff and his television series were foretold in the Bible. Biblical scholars worldwide may quibble over interpretations, but they all agree on this. For a few telling examples let's skip to the end of the Bible. If any book of the Bible will tell us who the AntiChrist is, it's the Revelation of Saint John, which basically describes the AntiChrist and the Armageddon He causes. I'll just give you the verse, and the current theological interpretation of that verse.

Who is the Beast?

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns The Beast, of course, is David Hasselhoff. The Heads are His separate television incarnations. Young and the Restless, Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Knight Rider, Terror at London Bridge, Ring of the Musketeers, Baywatch and Baywatch Nights.
The ten horns represent His musical releases: Crazy For You, David, David Hasselhoff, Do You Love Me?, Du, Everybody Sunshine, I Believe, Looking For Freedom, Night Lover and Night Rockers.
Not only does Mitch The Lifeguard literally "rise out of the sea" on Baywatch, but David's musical career has mostly occurred in Europe, a metaphoric rise to fame from across the sea.
Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. Of course, this is a reference to his third head: Knight of the Phoenix, the first episode of Knight Rider. In this episode, "Michael Long, a policeman, is shot and left for dead. The shot is deflected by a plate in his head, but ruins his face. He is saved and his face reconstructed. He is reluctant, but agrees to use K.I.T.T. to help the Foundation for Law and Government fight criminals who are 'beyond the reach of the law'. " Knight Rider has been shown in 82 countries.
Rev 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. The following blasphemies are actual quotes from David Hasselhoff -- I read these while he was 42 years old.

"I'm good-looking, and I make a lot of money."

"There are many dying children out there whose last wish is to meet me."

"I'm six foot four, an all-American guy, and handsome and talented as well!"

"Before long, I'll have my own channel -- I'll be like Barney."

"(Baywatch) is responsible for a lot of world peace." which the Hoff said at the Bollywood Oscars. Don't believe me? Read the original article!

And here's a blasphemy that came from David's recent (Feb 2004) visit to the Berlin Wall museum. I couldn't have made something this great up by myself. He was upset that the museum didn't spend more time devoted to his personal role in the fall of Communism. You can read more about it here, if you don't believe me.

The Second Beast: Television

Rev 13:11-13And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

        The Second Beast, with it's dual antennae, is obviously the Television -- merely a pawn in Hasselhoff's underworldly regime. His stereo speaker (the dragon's voice) spews forth the blasphemy of Baywatch until He has caused all people of the earth to worship and watch Baywatch and Baywatch Nights. How well has he done? Baywatch is now seen by about one billion viewers in 140 countries -- the most watched series ever.

You probably never knew this, but the entire historical purpose of television has been to attract a worldwide audience for the eventual syndication of Baywatch. And how does it accomplish this global distribution? Via satellite - from heaven to the Earth.

Rev 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. How does television work? By giving life unto Hasselhoff's image. I'm pretty sure the second part hasn't happened yet.

Lifeguards: Denizens of the Underworld

These biblical revelations will show that the lifeguards on Baywatch are foretold as servants of the Devil. (Need I say who that is again?)

Rev 20:11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them

Rev 20:13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them...

        Doesn't this sound like an exact description of what the lifeguards on Baywatch do? They sit on their big white wooden throne, and watch out over the sea -- waiting for a dying person to get cast up.
Rev 9:6 And in those days shall men seek to find death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

        One word: CPR

Rev 10:2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, Sounds like a lifeguard, eh? Standing on the beach reading a paperback?

Rev 17:3-5 ...and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

    and if that wasn't enough, try
Ezekiel 23:17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

        The fabled "Whore of Babylon." Well, people have been calling Hollywood "Babylon" since long before I was making web pages. And of all the women in Hollywood, whose wedding night video is the most popular? Hmmm.... Did someone say "Barb Wire?"

Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more Do you know any merchants who invested heavily in the acting career of this "whore of Babylon?" I've seen that "VIP" show of hers, and I'd be weeping if I had spent money on the merchandising rights.

Rev. 18:21 ... a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea,...

        Speaking of lifeguards chucking rocks at innocent people, listen to this excerpt from a recent lawsuit against his Hasselness: "while Plaintiff was in the audience of the Rosie O'Donnell Show, Defendandt DAVID HASSELHOFF came on stage and threw a stack of cards depicting himself into the audience, striking Plaintiff in the eye. . . [he] should have known that throwing cards into an audience could cause injury to the audience."

Rev 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. He stands to lose money in this lawsuit -- or maybe even all those dainty and goodly things he bought.

The Number of the Beast

The Bible shows us another way to prove a person is the AntiChrist, namely through numerology. Rev 13:18 says: "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

That's a bit cryptic, to be sure. One score is twenty, so threescore is 60, the number of the beast is 666.

Now, the way biblical scholars and numerologists usually convert the names of men into their numbers is through a simple numerical code. Let's assign the 26 letters of the alphabet the numbers 1 through 26. It looks like this:

a 1 i 9 q 17 y 25

b 2 j 10 r 18 z 26

c 3 k 11 s 19

d 4 l 12 t 20

e 5 m 13 u 21

f 6 n 14 v 22

g 7 o 15 w 23

h 8 p 16 x 24

Now, we take the letters from Mr. Hasselhoff's name, assign numbers to them, and calculate his number.

D A V I D H A S S E L H O F F

4 1 22 9 4 8 1 19 19 5 12 8 15 6 6

Now, since thirteen is such a fitting number for evil, let's multiply the first 13 numbers together. The total (65,874,124,800) is approximately 6.6 billion. Tack on the remaining 6's from the end of his name, and you've got yourself the mark of the beast.

Another tactic you could use would be to add the letters in "David" (I think you should get 40) and the letters in Hasselhoff (99) and then multiply them together. 40 x 99 = 3960. Now, 3960 is 660 x 6. And of course, 660 plus 6 is -- again -- the mark of the beast.

Not enough proof for you? Well, let's see what else the winning combination of the Bible and numerology have in store for David.....

As he explains it in his interview, David Hasselhoff first decided to act at the age of 7 when he saw a local production of Rumplestiltskin. His acting debut was in Peter Pan. Knight Rider ended its run in 1986, when Hasselhoff was 32. Baywatch debuted in 1989, when Hasselhoff was 35. His first televised role was as Snapper Foster on the Young and the Restless at the age of 19. If we look at the 37th chapter of the 19th book of the Bible (Psalms) -- at verses 32 and 35, we notice an interesting phenomenon. Take a look:

32. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

Viewers of Baywatch may have thought they were watching the good leader Mitch Buchannon -- whose main job as head lifeguard is to watch over the righteous babes at the beach, and save them. According to the Bible, he is really trying to slay them. But can we be sure that the show in question is actually Baywatch? Well, count the number of letters in Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan. 15 and 8, right? Now look at those bible verses again. Find the 15th word of verse 35 - and the 8th word from the end of verse 32. Put them together.

35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
32. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

Re:The BBC Should Report the TRUTH! (0)

sco08y (615665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950797)

How nice to see old school trolling alive and well on /.

Re:The BBC Should Report the TRUTH! (0)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951439)

Can't tell if Gene Ray or David Mabus.

The BBC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950703)

Porn has forever changed the common vernacular of the acronym "BBC."

Now it means, the Big, Black Cock.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Never happen in America (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950711)

The viewer attention span is too short.

BBC Forward! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950721)

Big deal. You accused an innocent man of being a pedophile. But at least you didn't cover up an investigation of another man being a pedophile. Oh wait!

Re:BBC Forward! (-1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950841)

Indeed. The BBC has fallen very low indeed.

Re:BBC Forward! (0, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950905)

The difficulties at BBC started long before this.

BBC chief Mark Thompson admits 'Left-wing bias' [standard.co.uk]

Re:BBC Forward! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951593)

Yes the liberal conspiracy exists. Sane and rational people collude to exclude batshit crazy nutjob ideologies from public discourse. Boo-fucking-hoo...nobody will to take my wingnut talk seriously. Reality has a liberal bias!

Re:BBC Forward! (1, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951817)

Speaking of bat-shit-crazy.

Perhaps it had further to fall? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951569)

The BBC has fallen very low indeed.

And yet all it takes for me to be content with paying my licence fee is about five minutes watching any other major news channel, from the UK or otherwise. The BBC isn't perfect, but it's so far above the average there's no meaningful comparison, and IMHO it is still somewhat ahead of even the decent alternatives overall.

One of the most interesting things about the BBC is the remarkably neutral way their news programmes report on stories involving themselves or their own people. George Entwistle was being interviewed on their regular breakfast programme -- not a show you would normally associate with hard-nosed journalism and heavy questioning of interviewees -- just a few hours before he threw in the towel, and even there the hosts weren't giving him a bye just because he was (at that moment) their own editor-in-chief. On many of the news networks, I imagine the kind of blunt challenges those presenters made would have been career-threatening moves.

Re:BBC Forward! (4, Informative)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951795)

Nice way of misrepresenting the facts.

Editorial judgement determines that there's insufficient evidence to safely publish: story stopped. Note that the police had also decided not to prosecute despite having criminal evidence gathering mechanisms available to them and despite having multiple complaints registered with them.

Editorial judgement determines that a first-hand witness is happy to state on the record what he believes the police told him: story broadcast. The "internet" goes into overdrive and names the wrong man.

Now, tell me exactly, what did the BBC do wrong here? Put it objectively, and explain it simply, because right now your post is snide misinformation.

tough (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950743)

The asshole farts and the face reddens. Part of being in charge.

The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950755)

Accusing somebody of rape when he did nothing is a very serious matter. It destroys that person's life forever!
If you don't put the correction up high enough, people will miss that it was a false accusation, and a "urban legend"/meme type thing will form, that sticks to that person forever anyway.

It is exactly why slander / character assassination is a crime, and the original reason such actions were criminalized. (Until they got abused to censor everybody and everything.)

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (4, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950819)

Accusing somebody of rape when he did nothing is a very serious matter. It destroys that person's life forever!
If you don't put the correction up high enough, people will miss that it was a false accusation, and a "urban legend"/meme type thing will form, that sticks to that person forever anyway.

Corrections just aren't enough when a person is accused of a crime. Even resigning, plenty of people will believe that Alistair did it and that shadowy right-wing operatives coerced him into resigning.

The only right answer is not to fuck it up in the first place.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950901)

I don't think Lord McAlpine will suffer any enduring harm to his reputation. The allegations were very quickly proven false.

But hopefully this will be enough to bring this sad chapter to an end. What had started with accusations against Savile (who is dead and thus beyond all prosecution) has turned into a hysteria-driven witch hunt, where the police are essentially sidelined in favour of investigative "journalists" looking to make a name themselves by catching the ever bigger fish.

McAlpine will likely sue and most certainly win and there can be a more rational approach to investigating pedophile accusations than wagging a list in the British Prime Minister's face on television.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951163)

What's happening in the UK right now is totally fucking insane. It's been mentioned before already on various sites, but Chris Morris' Pedogeddon spoof show (back in 2001) was spot on.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950917)

The only right answer is not to fuck it up in the first place.

How do you plan to ensure that nobody, in a planet with about 7Billion people, that nobody fucks it up?

The only way is for false accusations not to matter. That means no vigilantes; it means the law deals seriously with people who are dangerous paedophiles (so people have confidence that they don't need to intervene themselves) and it means people who cause harm to the falsely accused, for example by firing them from work, should be forced to fully and completely compensate them for that harm.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951781)

...people who cause harm to the falsely accused, for example by firing them from work, should be forced to fully and completely compensate them for that harm.

This is the message that needs to spread far and wide. Unfortunately there are too many people who believe that controlling speech is the answer, and it is, only when it is more important to protect the authority and 'reputation' of the powerful and influential. That is the sole purpose of libel/slander laws.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (0)

kenorland (2691677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951815)

How do you plan to ensure that nobody, in a planet with about 7Billion people, that nobody fucks it up?

If you're a journalist, you talk to the accused first and hear their side before you go on the air. If there are any issues raised, you investigate them before broadcasting.

Works every time.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (2)

gmanterry (1141623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951001)

Accusing somebody of rape when he did nothing is a very serious matter. It destroys that person's life forever!
If you don't put the correction up high enough, people will miss that it was a false accusation, and a "urban legend"/meme type thing will form, that sticks to that person forever anyway.

Corrections just aren't enough when a person is accused of a crime. Even resigning, plenty of people will believe that Alistair did it and that shadowy right-wing operatives coerced him into resigning.

The only right answer is not to fuck it up in the first place.

And I'm sure that in the U.K. just having a person investigated by the Police, leaves an unremovable trail. You may be totally innocent but there will always be a record that you were investigated. The outcome of the investigation is irrelevant.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (2)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951811)

Worse than that, the fact a complaint was made and investigated is used when considering your suitability for certain lines of work, and can be shared with potential partners if they want to check up on you.

Lovely way to treat innocent people :(

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951231)

Hell, in the US they'd put this person in jail for multiple years and then the prosecutors would fight tooth and nail to prevent any evidence of innocence from being introduced which might result in a reversal EVEN IF the actual guilty party is thoroughly identified.

That's pretty much the state of affairs with regards to this kind of crime and unfortunately a lot of other kinds as well. Once you're accused, you're guilty and mere innocence won't save you after that.

I wish Lord McAlpine well and I am very glad for him that he is not an American in similar circumstances.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (5, Interesting)

BenJury (977929) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951041)

As far as I'm aware the BBC didn't actually name him. He was named on Twitter. I'm still at a bit of a loss why the BBC is catching the flack.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951157)

I'm still at a bit of a loss why the BBC is catching the flack.

Much of the rest of the UK media, especially the bits owned by Murdoch, hate them passionately.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951621)

Because the BBC is an evil socialist organisation and must be destroyed, because it's showing up the tory's ideology.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951673)

The BBC made out the evidence was stronger than it was. In fact they had failed to do basic journalistic checks before publicising the allegation. They gave enough away that it was only a simple case of eliminating a small number of potential suspects to come up with a name, hence the internet rumours.

Re:The right thing, but the wrong person resigned. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951699)

It is exactly why slander / character assassination is a crime...

Let's not blame societal hysteria on what people say. We have an obligation to verify an accusation before taking any real action against any person. In other words, don't believe anything like this without direct evidence.

Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950759)

At first I thought I clicked on the wrong bookmark, but the style and appearance sure looks like Slashdot, however to content is apparently completely random international news.

Re:Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Stephen Williams (23750) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950779)

There's been a load of blah on Slashdot recently about some election in the colonies; turnabout is fair play :-)

Re:Slashdot? (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951057)

There's been a load of blah on Slashdot recently about some election in the colonies; turnabout is fair play :-)

Well played.

Re:Slashdot? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951435)

I have to agree with sibling, well played, good sir!

Re:Slashdot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950811)

Imagine what it'd be like if Slashdot editors had to reign over "bad journalism". Nothing would ever be the same again.

Re:Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950825)

Imagine what it'd be like if Slashdot editors had to reign over "bad journalism". Nothing would ever be the same again.

They already do 'reign' over bad journalism...

Re:Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950961)

Is this the new owner's way of introducing us to the new supreme leader of slashdot?

Re:Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950977)

Ein Strom von meiner eigenen ScheiÃYe metaphorisch RegenfÃlle in slashdot jedes Mal, wenn BeitrÃge dieser verbotenen off-topic Geschichten. Natürlich bekomme ich eine Erektion, wÃhrend dies geschieht.

Re:Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951601)

Imagine what it'd be like if Slashdot editors had to reign over "bad journalism". Nothing would ever be the same again.

I agree: the consequences would never be the same!

Re:Slashdot? (1)

cyclohazard (677922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951009)

I was also baffled that it isn't completely random US news.

Re:Slashdot? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951033)

"A dog bit a child in Topeka, Kansas yesterday," thought the Slashdot editor. "Let's see if we can work that into Your Rights Online somehow."

The two cultures. (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951143)

At first I thought I clicked on the wrong bookmark, but the style and appearance sure looks like Slashdot, however to content is apparently completely random international news.

The geek tends to believe in the technocratic notion that his specialist skills place him above the law and other social norms.

It's useful corrective to be reminded now and again that it just ain't so,

I know what you mean. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951387)

I come to Slashdot to see the news about Australia.

Occasionally there is an article about something happening in the USA, but I don't mind, because Australia has so thoroughly tried to make itself the USA of the Southern Hemisphere that it's interesting to compare the two.

But it's very fucking confusing to come to Slashdot only to find news from somewhere else; Somewhere that is NOT Australia or the USA.

It's unacceptable, and the last remaining non-Australian Slashdot "editor" should be fired and replaced with an Australian.

Summary is misleading (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950763)

What actually happened, is that the victim went to the police at the time the alleged incident took place, which was IIRC in the 80s. He was shown photographs by the police and told that they were of Lord McAlpine. The case collapsed and the evidence was destroyed for whatever reason. Police corruption wasn't exactly unheard of back then (see: Hillsborough).

Now after all this Jimmy Saville stuff came out, Newsnight picked up the story from a legit witness who believed he had been assaulted by McAlpine, BECAUSE THE POLICE TOLD HIM THAT'S WHO IT WAS. Remember that Newsnight was recently blasted for NOT showing a story about paedo Saville based on evidence that was actually less solid than this. This is a witchhunt against the BBC. They had no way of winning this, damned if they did, and damned if they didn't.

Re:Summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950861)

umm...where do you get a damned if you don't? Not falsely accusing someone of raping children is far beyond damning no matter what angle you look at it from

Re:Summary is misleading (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950965)

I think the parent is saying that because the BBC was so heavily condemned for burying the story about Jimmy Savile being a predatory sex offender, it had no choice but air accusations against McAlpine. I agree that's why the BBC ran the story, but failing to uphold journalistic standards in one direction is not a reason to suspend those standards in the other.

Re:Summary is misleading (4, Informative)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950967)

Someone goes to the BBC an tells them he was abused by Lord McAlpine. The damned if you don't is that as the BBC has just been slagged off by the UK press and politicians for not airing a story about another child abuse case if they didn't air the show and it turned out that it had been Lord McAlpine then they would have been eviscerated for 'another cover-up'.

Factor in that Newsnight didn't name the person in question, that they certainly did some checking and it is clear that they didn't have a 100% clear case but also that they felt the story was strong enough to air. Did they make a mistake airing it? Possibly but where do you draw the line on when evidence is strong enough? If they were 95% confident it was him, would it be acceptable to tell the story (without naming the individual)? How about 99.9%? The view of the victim was that it had been covered up by the police in the same manner that much of Saville's behaviour had been so again if the BBC kept it quiet they risked a mass of criticism. It really was a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Re:Summary is misleading (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951491)

Except there is a key difference between these two cases. In the Jimmy Saville case, the paedophile worked for the BBC and the BBC covered up his paedophilia while he was using his job working for them to gain access to children to abuse. As far as I have heard, Lord McAlpine never worked for the BBC or was directly involved in their oversight. This story makes matters worse. It almost looks like a, "Yeah, we covered up child sexual abuse, but look these people over here did it too. Don't pay attention to our failure to protect children, look at them."

Re:Summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950867)

You mean damned themselves and a possible innocent person if they did, and damned only themselves if they didn't.

Re:Summary is misleading (2)

matunos (1587263) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950895)

They had a duty to followup on the word of one alleged victim to see how much of the story they could verify. These are extremely serious allegations, and having dropped the ball on the Jimmy Saville story is no excuse for rushing headlong into misplaced allegations against someone else.

Re:Summary is misleading (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950955)

The guy was a kid at the time of the police investigation. You don't think it would be reasonable to show him a picture of Mc Alpine again and just check "is this really the guy?" before making the accusation?

This is basically the same accusation as the Saville stuff. Failing to follow through with proper journalistic professionalism because the BBC staff has been cut and messed about with by the past several UK regimes. Cameron, Brown and Blair should all resign with Entwistle.

Re:Summary is misleading (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950981)

The BBC institutionalised paedophilia. Most celebrities of the time are admitting they were aware of what was going on but chose to protect their careers. The BBC deservedly came under flak. They tried to deflect by outing a senior (former) politician.They got the surname correct, they got the family correct, but they got the wrong guy.

Now the witness claims mistaken identity and believes the perp died some years ago. Lord McAlpines brother, who died in 1991, lived in the area where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

Newsnight gets shutdown for a false (and very serious) allegation. But notice there was no pressure for dropping a report into Savile and his pedo activities when they had two witnesses prepared to go on camera.

Note: this comes about a year after the reputation of Rupert Murdoch was destroyed. Rumors suggested he maintained his grip on power and was untouchable because he had some damning information on the most powerful in society. Now we're seeing the BBC under pressure. Watchout for a Murdoch comeback.

There are many facets to this story. It touches on many powerful people, household names, and I suspect will become a very dirty war.

And how is this related to technology? (1, Offtopic)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950777)

I really don't see how this story is of any interest of Slashdot.

Re:And how is this related to technology? (1, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950831)

A few days ago it was Petraeus' affair, now this. Since when did sex scandals become news for Slashdot?

Re:And how is this related to technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950983)

One could argue the same about presidential elections....

Re:And how is this related to technology? (2)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951121)

Didn't you read the articles? Gynoids and replicants were involved...

Re:And how is this related to technology? (3, Informative)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950991)

One of the most powerful people in world media has resigned 'voluntarily' for running a hard news programme. If you don't think that's news that matters then it's your shortcoming not the sites fault. Furthermore, one of the reasons this has become such a big issue is because even though Newsnight didn't name the individual and left the description vague enough to give cover, and parliament were asked not to use privilege to name him via the house of commons, the name was outed on Twitter by various people (including other journalists) thus a clear tech connection that the summary missed.

Re:And how is this related to technology? (2)

BenJury (977929) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951205)

And surprisingly all of these facts are being 'missed' by the other news outlets in the UK. Madness.

Incorrect Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950793)

Newsnight never named McAlpine explicitly but rather stated that it was a high-up Tory MP from the Thatcher years. He was named on the "internet". The journalistic issue at hand has more to do with failing to verify the individual the source was identifying and not querying Alistair before running the program.

Wow - but why the BBC? (2)

Jorgensen (313325) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950827)

Having people resign for bad journalism isn't necessarily a bad thing... But why on earth start that at the BBC !!?? Why not start that trend at the Huffington Post? Or Fox News?

Re:Wow - but why the BBC? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950869)

Having people resign for bad journalism isn't necessarily a bad thing... But why on earth start that at the BBC !!?? Why not start that trend at the Huffington Post? Or Fox News?

You've mistaken cause and effect. The BBC is what you get if you have a culture where people care about quality and take responsibility for lapses.

Re:Wow - but why the BBC? (3, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951107)

...Why not start that trend at the Huffington Post? Or Fox News?

Because in those organizations we'd be down to janitors providing the news in about a week?

Re:Wow - but why the BBC? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951735)

...Why not start that trend at the Huffington Post? Or Fox News?

Because in those organizations we'd be down to janitors providing the news in about a week?

Business is picking up.

Re:Wow - but why the BBC? (0)

megalomaniacs4u (199468) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951707)

Because the BBC is stuffed full with left nut jobs the way Fox is full of right wing nut jobs...

It was the internet wot did it (2)

biodata (1981610) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950847)

What did the BBC do wrong? They just reported that someone's name was being quoted by other people. This was entirely true. This looks ;ike a huge smokescreen to avoid investigating the actual allegations.

Re:It was the internet wot did it (3, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950889)

What did the BBC do wrong? They just reported that someone's name was being quoted by other people. This was entirely true

Repeating such a serious allegation without hard proof is highly irresponsible, and probably libellous.

Re:It was the internet wot did it (1)

biodata (1981610) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950913)

There is rarely hard proof of child abuse, just testimony of the abused. That's why the coverups work so well.

Re:It was the internet wot did it (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951757)

There is rarely hard proof of child abuse, just testimony of the abused. That's why the coverups work so well.

Try explaining that to an angry mob.

Re:It was the internet wot did it (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950957)

Repeating such a serious allegation without hard proof is highly irresponsible, and probably libellous.

Dude, in which jurisdiction, if I may ask? Or did you just make this one up?

Sorry, I had to ask.

Re:It was the internet wot did it (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950995)

The UK at least.

Slashdot is only telling half a story here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950855)

This _current_ BBC pedophilia scandal is far greater than what the slashdot article is letting on here.
Pedophilia is rampant in the uk and elsewhere in the social golden-spoon strata McAlpine hails from
all the way to the top. It looks like they've decided on trying the easy way out here yet again by slandering the
investigators and firing them from the job. This is a common form of retaliation with these people.
Google for BBC pedophilia scandal, there is far more than just this going on.

Newsnight didn't name anybody - they just hinted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950883)

Newsnight didn't name the person (wrongly) accused with the crime. They merely hinted you could find it out online if you wanted to. The fact that the internet doesn't appear subject to the same legal restraints as broadcast television is aiding witch hunts. In this case the mob got the wrong person.

Re:Newsnight didn't name anybody - they just hinte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951559)

It wasn't the "mob" that got the wrong person, they got the name of the accused correct, the problem was that during the original police investigation the person who had been abused was told the person he identified was Lord McAlpine when it was actually someone else. Newsnight clearly didn't do sufficient fact checking before running the story, if they had even shown a photo of Lord McAlpine to the person making the accusation he would have realised that Lord McAlpine was not the person who abused him.

Or go to the hores's mouth... (5, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950885)

has voluntarily resigned over a BBC program that featured 'poor journalism'.

Or, instead of The Guardian, you can read all about it on the BBC website [bbc.co.uk] .

Yes, you read that right - the BBC are reporting on this and not pulling too many punches. In fact, one of the last straws for Entwistle was a difficult grilling by a BBC interview on their flagship radio news program. That goes to show why, although some heads need to be cracked together over this screw-up, the BBC is something worth keeping.

Couple of other points:

Newsnight accused a prominent Conservative MP and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Lord Alistair McAlpine,

Actually, they didn't name him, just described the accsued as a "prominent Thatcher-era conservative politician" but in the process they leant a lot of credibility to internet tittle-tattle which did name him.

This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."

Its worth putting this in the context of the BBC's current predicament - they've been accused of dropping an investigation into sexual abuse by the formerly-much-loved celeb, now deceased and discredited Jimmy Saville. Of course while, with hindsight, that investigation was right on the money, had their evidence not panned out then there would have been an uproar, so close to the star's death. This looks awfully like an attempt to over-compensate, and not spike a story that should have been spiked. However, that this should happen when the BBC management knew that they were already under scrutiny does not look good.

Re:Or go to the hores's mouth... (1)

Grumpinuts (1272216) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951053)

Jimmy Savile much loved? By whom? Still to find anyone who liked him even before all this came out.

Re:Or go to the hores's mouth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951139)

He was idolised by many. Have a look at the comments on this new article from shortly before aligations surfaced

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2180953/Jimmy-Savile-Auction-One-time-Jim-fixes-charity-Saviles-personal-treasures-fetch-small-fortune.html

Pay attention to the postcards.....

Re:Or go to the hores's mouth... (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951147)

I know for a fact the BBC provides much better news about the US, than you're likely to get in the US.

Re:Or go to the hores's mouth... (-1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951221)

Peh. I trust the BBC about as much as I trust Pravda. They like to memory hole stories [bbc.co.uk] that don't fit their agenda after they've been published(Nov 9/12). You hear about the story about the luxury homes in the Palestinian territories that the Beeb did? Probably not. Because it was up for all of an hour before memory holed. It was a rather good bit of journalism they even included pictures of the overflowing markets and all the rest.

And when I say they scrubbed it, they scrubbed it. It was up and down so fast that not even google crawled it. But, [blogspot.ca] some [blogspot.co.il] bloggers did catch it. [jihadwatch.org]

Re:Or go to the hores's mouth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951425)

Oh no those poor settlers having to live in view of all that Palestinian luxury and wealth. Maybe they should piss off back to Israel.

Re:Or go to the hores's mouth... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951557)

Peh. I trust the BBC about as much as I trust Pravda. They like to memory hole stories [bbc.co.uk] that don't fit their agenda after they've been published(Nov 9/12). You hear about the story about the luxury homes in the Palestinian territories that the Beeb did? Probably not. Because it was up for all of an hour before memory holed. It was a rather good bit of journalism they even included pictures of the overflowing markets and all the rest.

And when I say they scrubbed it, they scrubbed it. It was up and down so fast that not even google crawled it. But, [blogspot.ca] some [blogspot.co.il] bloggers did catch it. [jihadwatch.org]

Except that it is still there on the BBC web site on November 11. Is this a new definition of "memory hole" where you put video up on your website for the entire world to view for several days? Also, two of your "bloggers" are actually the same blogger, one accessed via the Google Canadian URL and one via the Israeli one.

In fact, when I go to the main page Middle East news page http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world/middle_east/ it is still one of the top video news stories listed on the right hand side. What the fuck are you talking about?

Blame the Media (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41950951)

This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."

This is not in any way uncommon in the UK. Whenever something goes wrong and catches the media's attention, which is inevitable in any big organisation given that the employees are only human, a frenzy will be worked up until one of the higher-up heads roll. Given intensive media coverage that lays blame wherever it can, many will chose to step down to avoid becoming the main ring event of the coming circus. Sensationalism triumphs regardless of reason. This is not unique by any means to the UK, but it is very distinctive here and you will usually hear of someone stepping down or getting sacked every few weeks. It even affects football coaches who fail to bring their teams to the finals, as though the coach could control the ability of all other teams and all luck involved in the sport.

Somehow it has come to be expected that the head of any organisation can micromanage every single employee in the organisation ever single second of the day.*

All that said, in this case it is reasonable to expect that the director general of the would be aware of this given the potential impact and that there were concerns several days before the program aired. If nothing else he failed to make himself accessible for important information.

* It goes even deeper than that. Negative sensationalism sells and most things are framed just that way even when they do not deserve it. Just watch the "investigative" journalism of prominent presenters such as Kay Burley or Steven Sackur (in particular "Hard Talk"). They clearly ask questions that are intended to come across as incisive but which are often nothing but vapid, thinly veiled strawman arguments designed to make them appear insightful and clever. They completely ignore any answers given to them and continue to pursue this tainted image that they are trying to create in order to sensationalise the issue.

It's no wonder that politicians and others stick to carefully engineered sound bites. Even the rare honest few who would like to explain intricate issues and other matters know that their words will be twisted to sell some scandalous headlines. /rant

It started with Newsnight (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951683)

They clearly ask questions that are intended to come across as incisive but which are often nothing but vapid, thinly veiled strawman arguments designed to make them appear insightful and clever.

This is a very unwelcome recent trend at the Beeb. I place the blame squarely on Jeremy Paxman and/or the editorial team behind Newsnight. At some point, a little while ago now though it's hard to pin down exactly when, he seemed to jump from asking difficult questions of his guests but respectfully to doing pretty much exactly what the above quote says. And since Paxman is one of the BBC's longest-established Serious Interviewers, and Newsnight is the nightly serious news show, if you can get away with that sort of behaviour there you can do it anywhere.

Also, it would help if the BBC stopped trying to promote its senior correspondents into celebrities whose personal opinions are somehow more important than the news they report, particularly when those senior people aren't always particularly credible within their fields anyway. Robert Peston and Nick Robinson between them could probably bring down a national economy or something.

I hear.... (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year and a half ago | (#41950989)

He really resigned because people found out that he raped children.

My bad, that's completely wrong.

FOX News... (4, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951075)

Gawd I hate putting those two words next to each other... if FOX News had a director resign after every piece of bad journalism, you could watch the line of new directors walking continuously through the building without ever stopping. Of course this would require journalistic integrity... so FOX will never have to worry abut this problem.

Re:FOX News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951287)

Don't forget MSNBC

Re:FOX News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951303)

Mod offtopic... this is about journalism– not stroking political dinosaurs for ad revenue with infotainment.

Re:FOX News... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951383)

CNN/MSNBC are much worse in that they lie with no remorse and no accountability whatsoever.

Typical lib behavior I suppose.

Re:FOX News... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951397)

I actually saw George Stephanopoulos keep a straight face on ABC news this morning and say that Obama knew nothing of the FBI's investigation of General Petraeus until after the election! He, and the entire ABC news staff should resign for repeating that lie. Good grief. The FBI investigates the Director of the CIA and we are supposed to believe the President wasn't notified IMMEDIATELY once the investigation started? Ludicrous. Drink the koolaid.

FOX ain't the network of "fake but accurate"... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951759)

Nor did Jayson Blair nor Janet Cooke work at FOX.

All that happened at "respectable" organizations.

Yet you spew "FOX turned me into a newt!" crap.

How many heads rolled at CBS for that "fake but accurate" bilge? And they sure weren't voluntary resignations, now were they?

Twitter story, really (1)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951105)

The more interesting fact is that the programme did NOT name the suspect. Its editor trailed an unwise hint on Twitter, and the blogsphere guessed many names, most of them (probably...) wrong. You had to search quite hard to deduce that the unfortunate Peer was in the frame. Now the media politics is overwhelming some scandals that do need reviewing.

Some background (5, Insightful)

madprof (4723) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951229)

The BBC Newsnight programme ran this, and the Director General had no idea they were running it. Ordinarily, he might get away with it if it were an isolated thing. However Newsnight was recently found to have cut an investigation into Jimmy Savile, a well-known TV/radio personality who turned out to be a serial child abuser. The investigation was cut for "editorial" reasons last year (soon after he died) and the suspicion was that it would allow them to run sacharine eulogies for him at Christmas. Finally, the accusations only got aired this year by another channel, and it looks like he abused hundreds of kids over decades, including in BBC dressing rooms.
So Newsnight was under a lot of scrutiny, and the Director General ought to have been watching it like a hawk.

However he admitted (to a BBC journalist in a very tough radio interview - let's see any other news organization allow its own journalists to bury their editor-in-chief) that he hadn't known what the programme was going to say about Lord McAlpine, and he didn't have an answer to the accusation that he was "asleep at the wheel".

So yeah, he mucked up by not being sharp enough. The BBC itself doesn't look good as it seems to have (thus far) allowed the people who made the "editorial decision" to cut the Savile investigation to continue in their roles. I suspect they will go eventually, once the independent inquiries have run their course.

However the one thing it has got right, and *no other* news organization would ever get right, is to have one part of it criticize another. There is no way Sky News would ever allow one of its journalists to have a go at the head of Sky TV in the manner of this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9768000/9768406.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Journalism??? (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951361)

I thought it was "Entertainment"

Jimmie McAlpine (1)

rapiddescent (572442) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951381)

The Telegraph on Friday have made accusations [telegraph.co.uk] that Lord McAlpine's brother (who ran the huge building company) lived close by the care home and had a huge collection of expensive cars (noted by witnesses at the time). There are some theories that this was a simple mix-up by a key journalist/the police and fingered (bad expression) the wrong brother which has now caused the BBC to go into melt-down.

What's odd is that The Telepgraph published another article [telegraph.co.uk] which seems to downplay the idea that Jimmie was in any way involved.

I wonder whether this is an orchestrated plot to reduce the power of the very-Labour-focussed BBC by the government (Conservative/liberal coalition) which will also play well for Scotland (led by the SNP) that has it's own BBC problems etc [newsnetscotland.com]

Re:Jimmie McAlpine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951423)

Perhaps with the assistance of former ally Rupert Murdoch, who in return could re-enter the UK media biz.

Lost in Translation (1)

pacman on prozac (448607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951463)

I take it "on the job" doesn't have the same meaning on that side of the pond, because 54 days worth is in no sense of the word "mere".

take it like a man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951471)

at least this dude showed some decency by resigning ; 99% of all journalists would simply have kept on being overpaid illiterate assholes after a shruggy 'oh well'.

My take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951661)

The lesson to take home from all this is that the problem is not in the Catholic Church (and the celibacy). It's everywhere: sports, Boy Scouts, the BBC, orphanages, homes, schools, workplaces, political offices... There seem to be two kinds of men: sexual abusers and those who admire them and give them cover.

It's time to stop pretending these are isolated incidents. As the father of two children I'm saying assume the worst of every man.

Resigning over bad journalism? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951667)

If this spreads, it would be impossible to follow Fox News any longer. On account of all their new anchors trying to talk while holding guns in their mouths.

DG's Graduated Response (1)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951685)

Exemplified by BBC's own programme years ago, if you look up 'The Dirty Fork Sketch'. (Original).

£450000 payoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951749)

So the DG walks with a £450000 payoff as that is what his contract allowed.
Most ordinary workers who resign get naff all.

BBC covering up human rights violations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41951783)

BBC deserves more punishment than just one director dismissed.
In 2011, east London was attacked and set on fire by mostly-black gangs with Molotov cocktails.
In the 3-day coverage of the attacks on my town, the BBC carefully removed any mention of ethnicity - a crude form of cover up.
There are rumours of special committees within the BBC deciding what you are allowed to know, and what to censor...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GxUnVYqp1c&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbc3USY8XLk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNpRdOlhSeI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubfsZTQ-4WU

except.... (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year and a half ago | (#41951823)

....that the person who is supposed to have originally pointed the finger at McAlpine is a notorious liar; see here [dailymail.co.uk] . Didn't the BBC do any checks or were they simple after any scandal?
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