British inversion: ‘Times’ covers its own C.E.O., while Tina Brown talks ‘Newsweek’ in ‘New York’ mag

Mark Thompson in 2005. ()
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The New York Times is making good on at least half its promise, as chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. put it several weeks ago, to cover "with objectivity and rigor" the BBC scandal clouding the Times Company's new C.E.O., Mark Thompson.

In today's paper, Matthew Purdy reports:

A legal letter sent on behalf of Mark Thompson, the former director general of the BBC, raises questions about his assertions that he learned of accusations of sexual abuse against its longtime host Jimmy Savile only after leaving the corporation’s top job.

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In the letter, sent 10 days before Mr. Thompson left the BBC in September, lawyers representing him and another executive threatened to sue The Sunday Times in London over contentions in an article it was preparing that they had been involved in killing a BBC investigation of Mr. Savile.

Interviews show that the letter included a summary of the alleged abuse, including the allegation that some abuse might have occurred at the BBC.

Pretty tough stuff. But does rigor also include acting fast?

Bloomberg's Edmund Lee notes:

 

 

He's right of course. Still, it's hard for British papers to break through the noise in the U.S. on what is, really, a very British scandal. The Times itself knows this from its extensive coverage of the Rupert Murdoch phone-hacking scandal, which outside of a fairly small circle of media junkies was out of reach in The Guardian and The Independent, and mattered more as a story for the U.S. when the Times covered it. 

So it still means something for the Times to do it, and it doesn't make things look good for Thompson, which you might not really have been able to say after the earlier Times of London article. Speculation about how long Thompson can keep the job came even from the less excitable, more sober-minded corners of the internet this morning, as a result of the Times piece.

"How long before he resigns, saying the scandal is a ‘distraction’?," Jim Romenesko wrote. "My guess: Gone by Dec. 31."

On Capital...

Nate Silver receives the adulation of New York's media demimonde in Nick Denton's Soho loft

New 'Voice' editor Will Bourne earns early high marks from Michael Musto, but he's got a steep climb

Three big exits at the 'Daily News,' including 'cornerstone' editor Tracy Connor

Barry Diller contemplates a major investment in Hudson River Park

In other news...

Mark Shapiro is reportedly a leading candidate for the top slot at CNN. [LAT/Company Town]

Roger Ailes reflects on Fox News Channel's Karl Rove moment on election night. [TV Newser]

"All eyes" are on NBCUniversal News Group chairman Pat Fili-Krushe. [The Wall Street Journal]

The Huffington Post is not for sale unless the price is right. [paidContent]

Did Elizabeth Spiers get shafted in her Mediabistro cashout? [Jim Romenesko]

Did Laurel Touby, who certainly did not get shafted in the deal, do a service to readers in the Styles section? [The Awl]

Fashion titles are a "bright spot" in the embattled ad climate. [New York Post]

Layoffs and a frequency reduction at Variety. [LAT/Company Town]

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It looks like New York will deliver next week's media must-read.

In a Q&A with Michael Kinsley, according to the magazine, Newsweek editor Tina Brown "reflects on the demise of the magazine she was hired to save ('every piece of the Zeitgeist was against Newsweek'), whether print has a future (‘“No" is the short answer'), American Anglophilia, and the infamous Talk gala that marked the end of the twentieth century."

Newsweek staffers are bracing for a round of cuts as the iconic newsweekly prepares to shutter its print edition at year's end and transition to a digital-only format.