Even as the front pages of America’s top newspapers were debating the vital question of whether Obama’s raised eyebrow had overcome Romney’s clenched jaw, and which of our two ideologically-polar-opposite candidates was more sincere in his pledge of undying loyalty to Israel, a story of perhaps greater significance was reaching our shores from across the stormy Atlantic Ocean.
It appears that Britain’s tabloid press, irritated that so many of its journalists are headed off to prison for celebrity phone-hacking, has decided to repay the media establishment in kind, by bringing to wide public awareness the details of a different scandal centered on the august BBC.
The facts are hardly complex. It seems that the late and longtime BBC media celebrity Jimmy Savile—”a British icon”, “a national treasure”, knighted by the Queen and enormously popular television host of “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It”—indulged in certain slight personal foibles. In the words of the this morning’s always restrained New York Times, he was “an insatiable pedophile.” Over 200 of his victims have already come forward, with more surely being on the way.
Strangely enough, strong rumors of such predilictions had apparently circulated for many, many years among the media elites who were his friends and professional associates, spurred by repeated accusations from some small subset of the children he victimized. According to the NY Times, “many people at the BBC and other institutions…knew or strongly suspected from the 1960s on that he was a serial sexual predator” but “he felt sufficiently protected by his status…that he joked and boasted about it.”
The germ of the current controversy is that after the good gentleman had peacefully expired last year at the ripe old age of 84 and his popular television shows were no longer gathering high ratings, a BBC investigative team decided it was finally time to reveal the truth and break the horrific scandal after 40-odd years of official cover-up. Therefore, they produced a powerful documentary expose, including on-air interviews with several of his victims, which was set to air but then pulled at the last moment, perhaps because top BBC officials decided it might require cancellation of several tribute-broadcasts to the late entertainer already scheduled to run over Christmas.
The BBC has now issued a statement admitting longstanding accusations of sexual abuse and pedophilia against nine other staff members or contributors, including charges of sexual assaults on children in the television studios. Perhaps this helps to explain the strange immunity seemingly enjoyed for so long by the late Mr. Savile, based on the principle that no one wants to see the first crack in the dam.
Although I’ll admit I’d never heard of Mr. Savile prior to these unfortunate events, some of the details revealed do seem somewhat intriguing, notably his very long peroxide-blond hair and his wildly flamboyant personal dress and behavior. Indeed, I find it quite shocking that anyone could ever suspect any misbehavior on the part of a never-married elderly gentleman who spent so much of his time cavorting with young children and putting them on his television show while promising “to make their wishes come true.”
The whole situation brings to mind an even more popular and successful American entertainer, whose unfortunate demise a couple of years ago brought forth massive worldwide tributes, and sufficient new music sales to totally dwarf the many millions of dollars he had paid out over the years in legal settlements to the various alleged victims of his child-molestation.
Now in these particular cases, the issues involved although surely painful are also quite trivial, a few hundred random victims scattered here and there. But the central conclusion should be that a media system capable of covering up such explosive facts for so many decades is surely capable of absolutely anything else, and the words—or especially the silence—of such media organs carry very little weight about any more serious matters, which is something all of us should take very much to heart.
As it happens, the head of the BBC during these scandalous events is now the incoming CEO of The New York Times Company, scheduled to assume office in early November. I suspect his important efforts in British media have prepared him well for what will be required of him in America.
Now I personally tend to doubt that any of America’s own prominent political leaders are actually “insatiable pedophiles.” But I also tend to doubt that our media would ever tell us if they were.
On a much more pleasant note, my lengthy and recently concluded series on Race and IQ seems to have had even more impact than I had expected, even aside from the lengthy discussions and heated exchanges.
I hadn’t bothered checking the Google rankings for the last month or two, but once I did, I discovered some pleasant surprises. Among the 38M or so search results for “Race IQ” my own articles or commentary on them now occupied 3 of the top 10 results, and 8 of the top 20. So it seems likely that anyone researching this general topic has a reasonably good chance of encountering some of my own writings.