BBC in Crisis: A Guide to the Scandal

6:00 AM PST 11/13/2012 by Georg Szalai , Stuart Kemp

The U.K.'s venerable BBC has been battered for weeks by so many controversies that it's hard to follow. THR breaks down the scandal and the financial fallout.

What's Happening: The late BBC host Jimmy Savile is believed to have sexually abused young people decades ago. On top of that, BBC flagship show Newsnight dropped an investigation into Savile in 2011, and in early November, the same show wrongly accused a British politician of child abuse. So after just 54 days in the top job, BBC director general George Entwistle quit under pressure.

Why It Matters: Britain's largest news organization (with 20,000 employees total) is being attacked by the ravenous U.K. press, including Rupert Murdoch's Sun and Times. Murdoch -- perhaps selfishly -- urged Prime Minister David Cameron via Twitter to intervene: "BBC mess gives Cameron great opportunity to reshape and improve."

Financial Fallout: Entwistle will receive a huge $715,000 payout, prompting some to suggest the BBC is wasting money it gets from U.K. taxpayers.

U.S. Implications: Former BBC boss Mark Thompson started Nov. 12 as CEO of the New York Times Co. He says he wasn't aware of the Savile allegations, but critics say he must have known.

What's Next: Acting director general Tim Davie is expected to fire certain news employees, and BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten is seeking a permanent replacement. Murdoch's papers have called for Patten's head as well. -

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