George Entwistle, the director general of the BBC, resigned today over a TV program the network had aired that wrongly implicated a British politician in a child sex-abuse scandal. In a brief statement outside BBC headquarters, Entwistle said he decided to do the "honorable thing" and step down after just eight weeks in the job. "When appointed to the role .. I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader," he said.
The BBC didn't name the alleged abuser, but online rumors focused on Alistair McAlpine, a Conservative Party member of the House of Lords. Earlier today, Entwistle had said the BBC should not have aired the piece and admitted it further damaged trust in a broadcaster already reeling from the fallout over its decision not to air similar allegations against one of its late star hosts. Entwistle's remarks and resignation came a day after the BBC apologized for its Nov. 2 "Newsnight" TV show on alleged sex abuse in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. During the program, victim Steve Messham claimed he had been abused by a senior Conservative Party figure. Entwistle assumed the mantle as head of the BBC just two months ago.