Monday, 14 October 2013

Now then, now then....

[Originally published on the Aspley Consultants website]

The news of allegations that the late Jimmy Savile sexually assaulted girls whilst on both BBC and NHS premises understandably provoked strong reactions from all parts of the media.

As usual, there were calls for lessons to be ‘learned’.  What they actually meant was for lessons to be ‘identified’ initially because "a lesson is not an end in itself. A lesson is a temporary step along the way to a process, or to a process improvement, and that a lesson is not learned until something changes as a result." (Knoco website, Lessons Learned)

There is much in this allegedly sordid affair worthy of analysis and measured comment but I shall restrict my remarks to this observation – if it is true that the BBC ‘spiked’ a Newsnight report covering these allegations because of a perceived inconsistency with a scheduled ‘tribute’ to Jimmy Savile then there is indeed much to learn here because, from what has been reported to date, there has been organisational defensiveness on a massive scale.

Faced with the prospect of broadcasting two apparently contradictory pictures of Jimmy Savile, it appears someone somewhere plumped for the positive one, perhaps in the hope that the allegations in the negative one would just go away.

They didn’t, were picked up and carried by ITV and the result is a perception that the culture that obtained in the 1970s and 80s remains in force today.

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