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The Tough Choices Ahead for ‘The New York Times’

The Tough Choices Ahead for ‘The New York Times’

Over the past few weeks, a scandal of Penn State proportions has been surfacing across the pond at the BBC, where accusations of a vast web of pedophilia and sex offense is being leveled at once-beloved television personality, Jimmy Savile. The case is ongoing, but the amount of children whom Savile assaulted may stretch into the hundreds. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the BBC is being accused of a massive cover-up, even killing its own investigation into the allegations.

Where The New York Times gets involved is in its recent hire of Mark Thompson as the company’s president and chief executive. Thompson was director general of the BBC at the time of the alleged cover-up, and he insists he knew nothing of allegations against Savile or the purported investigation into those allegations. The Times will have to decide whether or not to believe him, but their wrestling with that choice makes for some very good reading. There have been two op-eds by Times writers—one from public editor Margaret Sullivan, the other from editor Joe Nocera—laying out the facts of the issue and publicly calling on their higher-ups to take the turn of events seriously. In an age in which journalism is often considered dead or dying, these are brave moves, written with clarity, integrity and ethical steadfastness. Both well worth a read …

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