BBC director general resigns over "shoddy journalism"

Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:12pm EST
 

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - BBC Director General George Entwistle resigned on Saturday, just two months into the job, after the state-funded broadcaster put out a program denounced by the corporation's chairman as shoddy journalism.

The BBC, reeling from revelations that one of its former stars was a paedophile, brought further problems on its head when a flagship news program aired a mistaken allegation that a former senior politician sexually abused children.

The BBC had already issued a full apology on Friday, but on Saturday its director general had to admit under questioning from his own journalists that he had not known in advance about the Newsnight report, weeks after being accused of being too hands-off over the previous scandal on the same program.

Accepting Entwistle's resignation, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said: "This is undoubtedly one of the saddest evenings of my public life.

"At the heart of the BBC is its role as a trusted global news organization.

"As the editor-in-chief of that organization, George has very honorably offered us his resignation because of the unacceptable mistakes -- the unacceptable shoddy journalism -- which has caused us so much controversy."

Entwistle quit after strong criticism over the Newsnight program.

"I listened to the director general with increasing disbelief," John Whittingdale, chairman of parliament's powerful media committee, told Reuters. "The level of failure of management at every level within the BBC, up to and including the director general, is just extraordinary."   Continued...

 
Former BBC director general George Entwistle speaks to the members of the media after appearing before a Culture and Media Committee hearing at Parliament in London October 23, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning