Four years ago, the BBC buried its own Newsnight investigation into Sir Jimmy Savile. In the time since, it has pushed the BBC whistleblowers who helped to expose Savile out of its ranks, while at the same time apparently concealing the alleged deep-rooted cover-up that took place within the corporation regarding Britain’s most notorious sex offender. You’d think the Beeb would be wary, then, of drifting once again into the murky waters of child abuse and alleged institutional whitewashing. But on Tuesday night, by choosing to air a new episode of Panorama, the BBC not only waded back into those waters, it made active steps towards hampering a very serious, wide-ranging police inquiry.
Panorama’s The VIP Paedophile Ring: What’s The Truth?, presented by Daniel Foggo, did not get to the bottom of its own question. The irony in that subheading – What’s the Truth? – is that this was a show that deliberately omitted numerous key details. Ignoring the various accounts of ex-police officers and other credible witnesses, the show focused solely on the shakier aspects of the nationwide investigation into VIP child abuse, electing to paint the case against as much stronger than the one for. Foggo called Leon Brittan a “poor man”, while the programme itself depicted victims as liars, and hinted that new Labour deputy Tom Watson was no more than an opportunist using the scandal for political gains. There was an attempt to discredit Exaro, the investigative news organisation that has brought the VIP paedophile scandal to public – and police – attention. This was, to anyone in the know, obviously nothing more than a hatchet job.