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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rupert and James Murdoch Face the Music

After a grueling afternoon answering questions from British lawmakers, it was clear from their testimony that Rupert Murdoch, his son James and Rebekah Brooks didn't know what was going on at The News of the World and because they didn't know, they are not to blame. It now remains to be seen if British lawmakers believe them and what happens next.

The most exciting event of the afternoon was when Rupert Murdoch's wife, who was sitting behind him, lunged at a protester with a pie filled with shaving cream and whacked him before he could make contact.

Louise Mensch, a conservative lawmaker asked Rupert if he ever considered resigning. "No" he said. "Why not?" she asked. "Because I feel that people I trusted let me down, I think they behaved disgracefully and frankly, I am the best person to clean this up."

Interesting to note that the News of the World represented only 1 per cent of the company's global business so why did he shut down the paper? "We felt ashamed of what happened and felt that we would bring it to a close - we have broken trust with our readers" Murdoch said. He denied that it was made for commercial reasons - that because it was such a small part of the overall empire and newspapers were dying a slow death all over the world anyway, it could easily be disposed of.

Could they not know that their own company had paid a confidential out-of-court-settlement of 600,000 and one million pounds respectively to two victims of phone hacking? And then there is Glen Mulcaire, a private investigator under contract to The News of the World. In 2007 he was convicted of hacking into the phone of staff members of the royal family and News Ltd paid all his legal bills. When asked about this James said "I'm as surprised as you are that some of these arrangements have been made."

Oh how the mighty have fallen!