Jeremy Paxman told the Pollard review he was "struck" by the words Newsnight editor Peter Rippon used when he told him the Savile report would not be running.
He said: "...What struck me about it was his reply when I mentioned the reasons. He said: 'I'm sorry, I just can't do this'. And I thought that was a very, very unusual word to use, 'can't'...I didn't say 'what do you mean can't?' Someone has told you that you can't or you physically can't face it?
"Now I think there - my suspicion is that there may well have been an element of both."
Acting BBC director-general Tim Davie said: "The BBC has been open and transparent in its handling of this unhappy chapter in our history. It has not been an entirely comfortable process for us to go through but it is right that we did it this way.
"It is important that the BBC now moves forward with the lessons learned and continues to regain the public's trust."
A BBC tribute page to Jimmy Savile had comments left by viewers removed by moderators, the revelations published today showed.
A transcript of the interview between Pollard and the former director-general George Entwistle refers to examples of the comments including one person who wrote: "One of my best friends in 1972 was molested by this creep Savile. He was never the same again.
"Killed himself in 1985. How's About That Then?"
Another person wrote: "He was a paedophile. You may not like the truth but he was. It will all tumble out now."
The BBC has released 19 witness statements into the Jimmy Savile investigation, including Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman who said: "I have to say, I think we make a problem for ourselves by running away from this story."
He added: "We wouldn't even tackle a b***** story that was about our own programme. This is pathetic."
The BBC has published witness statements taken during the corporation's internal inquiry into the shelving of a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile.
South Yorkshire Police has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following media reports about the way the force handled the 1984-85 miners' strike in Orgreave.
The force, which said it will cooperate fully with the IPCC, said it anticipates that the body "may take some time to consider fully whether any investigation is required and if so any terms of reference."