Some thoughts about the Savile affair:
1. The BBC appears to have slipped up in its editorial judgements, particularly as regards the Newsnight programme. But such things happen in all media organisations. Indeed, if Savile’s proclivities were widely known, as seems to have been the case, one wonders why it was left to the BBC and ITV to pursue the matter. What were all those bold, investigative journalists on the newspapers doing?
2. The BBC is now going through an agonising process of publicly questioning itself. Doubtless, this will blacken its reputation. But it is essentially a healthy process; reporters, producers and management will get to argue their corners, and there is every indication that the truths will come out. Compare and contrast a certain other media organisation which moved heaven and earth to conceal its misdoings and which, to this day, is seeking to assign responsibility to so-called “rogue” individuals.
3. I came across Savile on several occasion when I used to run marathons and half marathons. Savile used to start at the front of the race and, although I never even attained club runner status, I would catch up and pass him after a couple of miles. He was unmistakable, given his attire and the fact that he would be surrounded by heavies. I would never see him again during the race. But, when I reached the finish, I would learn that he had completed the race some half an hour earlier. Did I complain? It never occurred to me; I assumed he was running for charity and, if he cheated a little, it was no skin off my nose.
4. With the benefit of hindsight, that wonderful facility, we can all throw stones at those who turned a blind eyes to crimes and misdemeanors. How much easier to let sleeping dogs lie. There can be no excuses, however, and we must all share our portion of guilt over failing to expose this nasty little man.