The Murdochs Face Parliament
Rupert and James Murdoch are currently being questioned by a British parliamentary committee over the ongoing News International scandal. The hearing is being streamed live on the BBC. Thus far, the policy of the Murdochs appears to be a combination of mea culpa platitudes (Rupert Murdoch said at the outset that this was the “most humble day of [his] life,” and that Rebekah Brooks, the former editor who resigned on Friday, was in a “state of extreme anguish”) and the casting of the News of the World as small, separate — even insignificant — part of their larger empire. The duo noted that the News of the World was so “small in [the] context” of News International that they very rarely spoke with the editorial staff of the paper, instead trusting other employees to take care of the paper. They have also made sure to point out that the scandal is limited to the United Kingdom, claiming that there is no evidence of any hacking of phones of 9/11 victims (as has been alleged). “I cannot believe it happened to anyone in America,” Rupert said, adding that that the FBI has found no wrongdoing by the company in the United States.
All told, the questions thus far have been soft. Those hoping for a powerful, courtroom-style investigation will be disappointed. The refrain on anything beyond petty details has been that “detailed questions about any evidence passed to the police are difficult . . . to answer.”