The Daily Mail today calls for Lord Justice Leveson to re-open his inquiry into media ethics and standards in order to examine the BBC.
The Mail utterly condemns phone hacking. But in truth much of it was practised to obtain celebrity tittle-tattle. Yes, utterly deplorable, but a footling matter, we would suggest, compared to the molestation and rape of 13-year-old girls.
The remit of Leveson was to investigate the media’s ‘ethics and standards’. There could be no greater example of a failure of both ethics and standards than the BBC’s covering up of the Savile scandal. Lord Justice Leveson should re-open his inquiry to look into how the Corporation suppressed investigating its own scandalous culture — to protect viewer ratings.
Doubting that Leveson – who must now be putting the finishing touches to his report – will, the Mail asks:
In what kind of moral universe is it more important to investigate the complaints of the likes of Steve Coogan, Max Mosley and Hugh Grant than it is to obtain justice for young women whose lives were destroyed by sexual predators shielded by a state-funded body?
The Mail has a point. Phone-hacking was dreadful, but in a different league to the Savile business. When considering Newsnight’s decision not to publish testimony of 10-women making allegations against Savile ten months ago it's perhaps worth considering how the BBC would have handled it if a similar episode had been uncovered at News International? What if the Sunday Times had perhaps uncovered 10 women making similar allegations against a deceased high-profile Sun journalist from the 1970s – including allegations of rape on company premises – and then editors had chosen to suppress the information?