Rupert Murdoch squirmed on the hook as he was questioned in parliament on Tuesday.
The attack from the select committee of MPs was not particularly strong. But still, Murdoch made great play of straining to think whenever he was asked a question.
He was asked who was lying to him. “I don’t know,” came the reply. He was asked what had happened to the firm’s emails. “I forget.” Was he told about hush payouts to phone hacking victims? “Nope.”
But when he was asked if he was responsible, there was no pause at all before he answered, “No”.
One MP pointed out that News Corp executives had been found guilty of “collective amnesia”. This was more of a case of selective amnesia.
Murdoch’s performance was thoroughly evasive. At one point he was asked when he found out that criminality was “endemic” at the News of the World. “Endemic is a very wide-ranging word,” he said.
He tried to deflect questions onto his lawyerly son, James, who took up huge chunks of time with his lengthy non-answers.
James claimed he had no involvement in the scandals.
Rupert had a clear memory of visiting David Cameron at Number 10. “I was invited within days for a cup of tea to be thanked for supporting David Cameron,” he said.
The phone hacking scandal is rocking News Corporation— Murdoch’s global empire which is a big and nasty lie machine.
It has operated as a legal mafia, pulling politicians’ strings around the world for power, profit and propaganda.
But now the humiliated media mogul has few political pals left. Murdoch has been forced to drop his £8 billion bid to take full control of broadcaster BSkyB.
The company is headed by his son, James, who had been in line as heir to the empire.
Now it faces the regulator looking into whether it should have a broadcast licence at all.
Some Murdoch lieutenants are telling him to sell the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times. But even that would be unlikely to stop the scandal spreading.
The resignation of Les Hinton, Murdoch’s top man in the US, has sparked questions in the biggest part of News Corp’s empire.
Activists there hope the scandal could infect his hard right TV channel Fox News.
Meanwhile, investors are anxious as the firm’s share price continues to sink like a stone.
They only care about one thing: profits. But Murdoch’s woes are starting to cost cash.
His position could even be in peril.
This historic year has already seen several dictators felled. We need to keep up the pressure to make Murdoch next on the list.
and corruption—the fight for justice
Public meeting called by NUJ journalists’ union members, supported by Defend the Right to Protest
Speakers: Tony Benn, Michelle Stanistreet, Merlin Emmanuel, and Matt Foot
Tuesday 26 July, 7pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R
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