Yesterday, an old man pretended to be senile. Much of the press said he was a doddery old man. Of course, this is steaming nonsense. Rupert Murdoch walked into a courtroom one of the most powerful billionaires in the world, deflected any question of merit, and walked out of a courtroom as one of the most powerful billionaires in the world. The meek performance of the MPs - with the exception of Tom Watson - is precisely why News International is in such a dominant position in Britain. That the best a leftie protester could manage was foam on a plate is why there’s no leftie rival to News International.
At least when a far right nutjob gets angry he puts a bullet in you.
As Tony Soprano says, ‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation. Rupert Murdoch’s account of his father’s exposure of the Gallipolli scandal was damning. He held up his father’s achievement as a paragon - something he aimed to match. He made one mild display of contrition, describing the day as his ‘most humble.’ Supposedly contrite, the least he could do was apologise. What for? Well, he could have apologised for Kelvin Mackenzie accusing Livepool fans of stealing from the dead. He could have apologised when the Sun called Frank Bruno ‘bonkers’ on its front page, or the Sun complaining about a Gay Mafia running the country, or the constant hate towards immigrants in the News Of The World, or the time their campaigning resulted in pediatricians being hounded. He could have apologised for peddling lies to thick people. He didn’t though. He did bang the table a lot and say he was horrified Milly Dowler’s phone got hacked. So one-all?
Hang on, I remembered, there’s more he could apologise for. He could apologise for running Fox News, the news station that consistently calls ‘Obama’ by the name ‘Osama,’ because brown people are incredibly difficult to tell apart. He could apologise for Fox taunting George Soros, 14 at the time of the Holocaust, for profiteering out of the six million Jews who died. He could apologise for running a constant stream of hatred against women who choose to have an abortion, and for running barely disguised informercials for politicians who would outlaw abortion even after a woman was raped.
When he says that the News of The World was one percent of his company, don't forget the other 99% is indefensible poison
He didn’t though. He stands by the constant stream of NewsCorp's horse pucky. The man has deficient morals, not for the cover up of the phone hacking scandal, but because when he says that the News of The World was one percent of his company, don't forget the other 99% is indefensible poison. When the next round of allegations and denials come around, keep in mind what he does for a day job.
Murdoch Junior put in an equally dignified performance. He’s a man who ‘takes decisions quickly, usually the wrong ones.’ He’s a man whose first entry on his CV is his father’s genes. An intellectual powerhouse.
When asked about the alleged hacking of 9/11 victims’ phones, he denied being aware of it, but then most interestingly was quick to point out that at the time, he was in the Middle East, and not part of anything that might have gone on. The tactics of the two men, as it always had been, was to deny everything, no matter how inevitable revelations were, until absolute proof comes out. If you were suspicious, you might wonder if there is more to come out that they are trying their damnedest to stay ignorant of should it ever be revealed.
James Murdoch was unable to recall if his company was still paying Glen Mulcaire’s legal fees. Rupert Murdoch wasn’t sure how much his company paid to close down legal cases, preferring to talk about the number of sport pages in the Sun. Rebekah Brooks was unsure who reemployed Jonathan Rees after his conviction. This might be naivety, but if you had a select committee grilling tomorrow, wouldn’t you at least do some revision? It’s almost as if they have something to hide. Their incompetence is now obstruction, and this won't play in court.
Tom Watson aside, the MPs were a shower, but a special mention to Louise Mensch. The two minute question she asked was essentially scene setting. Well done, Louise. She’s got a bibliography of entirely awful chick lit behind her, and it is impossible to work out if her mild, craven performance (she wrote for the Sun) is worse than the threat of her new book. She’s a not a person with morals, she’s a loosely drawn sketch of a human, a stupid man’s idea of a clever woman. On her performance yesterday, considering her a real MP is like considering Alain de Botton a real philosopher.
Rebekah Brooks? Like Ross Kemp, I’m not even touching her, except to say that she rarely visits David Cameron at Downing Street. She doesn’t have to - she spent last Christmas with him. In fact, one last thing on Brooks - she didn’t apologise for leaking Gordon Brown’s child’s medical records. She had the choice to kill the story as soon as it reached her desk, regardless of how the story was eventually printed, and she didn’t. So when she makes any denials, just remember where her moral compass usually is.
Consider how much Coulson, both Murdochs and Brooks have denied over the past years, claiming it either didn’t happen or they didn’t have knowledge, until evidence proves otherwise. The tactics of the Murdoch team has always been denials in the face of any allegation. As soon as anything becomes proven they sack the closest person to hand and deny they were ever aware. The problem for them now is that Rupert Murdoch’s right hand man of 52 years, Les Hinton, has gone, and Rebekah Brooks was sacrificied to save James Murdoch. There aren’t any human shields left. So the next time a scandal leaks, look at their track record, and listen to their denials. You can either choose to believe them or not.
Read more from Alex Netherton at Surreal Football