Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson has been in the news recently when he 'joked' about murdering prostitutes.
Look back at my blog on 26 October 2008. I was suggesting that Mark Thompson bears a heavy degree of responsibility for the BBC's yobbish culture. I even quoted an answer he gave in the Daily Telegraph: ".. we have some of the most politically incorrect voices in Britain on the air every week – and I’m glad we do. And Jeremy Clarkson will come round looking for you if you disagree!"
I went on to quote from an article by Mr Thompson for the Mail on Sunday which appeared on 29 October 2006, but it's worth repeating the last part of my extract: I've never met a BBC boss who wants to ban Top Gear. And if I ever do, I'll show them the door. As a viewer, I'm not sure I can face life without it.
So if the controller of BBC 2 wished to ditch Top Gear, Mark Thompson would show them the door as he puts it. Doesn't his comment confirm not only that Mr Thompson is ultimately responsible for the content of BBC channels, but also he knows it perfectly well.
Thompson was therefore doubly disingenuous when, addressing the issue of Lesley Douglas's resignation, he told Channel 4 News: Lesley said in her letter of resignation to me - I've been a channel controller myself - the controller of Radio 2 has got ultimate responsibility for the content of that radio station.
What Lesley Douglas did in fact say was: The events of the last two weeks happened on my watch. I believe it is right that I take responsibility for what has happened. There was no mention of "ultimate responsibility" as you can see from the published exchange of letters.
And again last Sunday Thompson told Andrew Marr ... in a sense any television programme or radio programme is a team effort and the on-air members of the team have some responsibilities but not total responsibilities, the fundamental editorial responsibility lies with the producer, ultimately the with the controller of the station or the channel ...
Regarding Mr Thompson's lecture to Theos (see blog 22 October 2008), I'm still waiting for a reply to my question on the demographics in support of his claims. I sent him a reminder yesterday.