Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Murdoch testimonies – a human story

I have been glued to the T.V. all day, firstly watching the grilling of the two recently resigned senior police in the home affairs select committee swiftly followed by an action packed afternoon with the Murdochs.

The parliamentary select committee investigating the phone hacking scandal held my attention all afternoon.  I spent longer watching these public interrogations than the Royal Wedding and apart from the lack of champagne, in many ways it was as gripping. What promised to be an enlightening and entertaining humiliation of power-crazed heartless businessmen instead took on a very human spectacle.

Perhaps I’m a sucker for handsome intelligent young men, but I found James Murdoch compelling and believable. I really felt he was telling the truth. His father, Rupert, on the other hand appeared surprisingly frail, doddery and at times confused. As he started to try without much success to answer Tom Watson’s gentle but persistent, questions one began to sense embarrassment in the room.  Rupert’s wife Wendi sitting directly behind him looked anxious and kept leaning forward as if she wished to take his place. James was equally protective reaching to touch his father’s arm occasionally. Twitter went mad with tweets suggesting dementia, and wondering if the next resignation would be Rupert’s, as NewsCorp board members would observe these frailties.

One has to question (as did the select committee) how the men at the top could be ignorant of major transgressions such as bribery of the police and hacking of innocent victim’s phones by those in the pay of News International and clearly they are ultimately responsible. But whether it was good PR training, arrogance, or excellent interpersonal skills, this experience was no means a blood bath for the Murdochs.

However the story that will grab the headlines is, of course, the idiot who lunged at Rupert Murdoch with a foam filled pie. His intent could have been far more menacing and for a moment, those around the ageing mogul seemed frozen to the spot. With the exception of Wendi Murdoch. Arms flailing, she flew forward, intent on protecting her husband landing a blow on the assailant with no thought for her own safety.

Call me a romantic, but whatever Rupert Murdoch has or hasn’t done, however many billion dollars he’s worth – with the loyal support of a son like that and the obvious love of his wife, he is a rich man indeed.


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