Photo: Getty / Oli Scarff
BBC’s flagship current affairs TV show Newsnight (itself the subject of a huge controversy right now), placed itself at the centre of a scandal that reached the heights of British government last week, reporting that a senior Conservative politician had been accused of abusing children through a pedophile ring.Curiously, the segment refused to name the politician, apparently fearing legal repercussions. Despite this, various names spread like wildfire online, and current Prime Minister and head of the Conservative Party David Cameron was forced to call for two new investigations.
Now a new report in the Guardian has flipped the entire story on its head — not only naming the man alluded to by the BBC, but also saying he is innocent. The report says that the man referred to by Newsnight was a victim of “mistaken identity”, having been confused with another member of his family.
For the BBC, this may be yet another serious problem. In October it was revealed that Newsnight had begun an investigation of the late TV star Sir Jimmy Savile and multiple allegations of sexual abuse against him, but mysteriously cancelled the segment. When rival channel ITV broadcast an investigation into Savile, the BBC, and its apparent refusal to investigate one of its own stars, looked ignorant or even conspiratorial.
Right now it seems very possible that Newsnight’s staff rushed this new segment in a bid to repair the show’s reputation.
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