Rupert Murdoch claims ignorance in hearing

wetwewetwetewtmurdoch.jpg Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son, presumptive heir James Murdoch, are answering questions before a parliamentary committee right now. You can watch it live at the BBC's website. The most interesting moments so far have been Murdoch Senior's grilling by Tom Watson; among other things, Murdoch claims to be completely ignorant of operations at the News of the World, including legal settlements, the alleged misconduct of executives there, and even the name of a chief reporter there who was convicted of blackmail.

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  1. He also claimed to have no knowledge of the previous hearing where Rebekah Brooks admitted to paying police for information.

  2. Some of you may be to young to remember. When Ronald Reagan (pardon me… Saint Reagan… ) was getting grilled over the Iran Contra affair he would repeatedly respond with “I don’t recall” when questioned. For a while those of us who live in and around DC were able to get a drink at the bar called the Ronald Reagan. It would really kick your a** too. When you asked the bartender what was in it… they’d say “I don’t recall”. The point is…if it worked for a scumbag like Reagan.. why not this bozo too?

    1. The “Ronald Reagan” cocktail reminds me of the barman in Stefano Benni’s novel “Baol”, who mixes drinks with names like ‘Reprisal’ and ‘Gimmeano’. ‘Reprisal’ is twenty parts of Italian grappa to one part of German schnapps, while ‘Gimmeano’ is called that because after drinking the first one, the drinker will usually say “Gimme ano-” … and then fall unconscious to the floor without completing the sentence.

    2. two words : Constitutional Rights

      Playing stupid doesn’t work so well for subjects of the Queen.

    3. If you’re old enough to remember Iran Contra hearings, you’re also old enough to remember that Ronnie had Alzheimer’s while in office and his staff worked diligently to cover it up. Thus, his answers, in retrospect, were likely truthful. At the time, though, it just sounded like he was lying like the rug on the Oval Office floor.

      Rupert, OTOH, is plainly lying. Are there no consequences for perjuring yourself to Parliament?

      1. I’m also old enough to remember Iran-Contra. I remember Reagan’s “I don’t recall” responses, and yes, it seemed like a very convenient lapse of memory.

        Reagan wasn’t formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until 5-6 years after leaving office. Whether or not the onset of the disease affected his mind while still President, and if so to what degree, is something we cannot know.

    4. No fan of RR, but the I-don’t-recall Iran Contra affair was in 1986. So was this occurence: “In her memoirs, former CBS White House correspondent Lesley Stahl recounts her final meeting with the president, in 1986: “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. … Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet.” But then, at the end, he regained his alertness. As she described it, “I had come that close to reporting that Reagan was senile.” otoh, Reagan’s doctor said he was fine, so who knows when his Alzheimer’s hit.

    5. I do remember a catchy tune titled “My Recollection” that sampled Regan. I haven’t been successful finding it on the internet. Any recollection of its whereabouts?

    1. @autark: Agreed. I’m also thinking that if the court goes for it that the prosecutor is smart enough to bring issues of “Willful Blindness” to the table. But the dude is connected so we’ll see how rigorous the court is in it’s ruling. I’m thinking… not too rigorous. People with that kind of money always get off scottfree.

  3. I can’t wait to see the results of this hearing. Hopefully some form of justice is delivered to the Murdoch family so travesties such as this phone-hacking scandal won’t occur ever again. There is a livestream here: http://www.democracynow.org/. Check it out, and watch justice happen.

  4. If execs really don’t know the day-to-day details about how their global corporations work, why is it that they’re compensated so well for whatever it is they DO know about?

  5. what a surprise. I can’t wait to see what kind of mild slap on the wrist he gets for these shenanigans. Maybe he and Straus-Kahn can go get ice cream together to commiserate.

      1. Yes, he’s ‘simply been accused’. That’s all.

        No assault happened.
        No injuries were sustained by the victim (dislocated shoulder, no biggie, right/).
        Nothing happened at all.
        Move along. /s

        Gods, I fucking hate this rape culture we live in. :C

        And, as for this turd: watch yet another rich white man walk away free, too- even though we all know he did something really horribly hurtful and wrong.

  6. Before this, they questioned Sir Paul Police Chief and Yates. They both were asked why they resigned if their “integrity is intact.”

    1. And why did the head of Dow Jones resign if the Wall Street Journal wasn’t engaged in illegal activities, either?

  7. I tend to believe him when he says he did not know the details..

    When an unethical person hires a bunch of unethical people to run his business, its not really necessary for him to know exactly how they break the law..

    Character matters and that is what he hired them for..

    1. Exactly this. How could a chief executive of a whole group know the details of all of the actions of the employees of one part his large empire? But the general culture and outlook of the organisation are certainly set by him. I doubt he is lying – most unfortunately, I do not think that he was aware of, or directly authorised anything that would set him up for liability. The top brass are not as responsible for as many things as they believe themselves to be.

      On the flip side, this fact does not prevent cretins such as him from claiming all the glory for themselves when they need to justify their obscene pay packages when things are going well…

  8. Paul McCartney was allegedly targeted by phone hackers during his multi-million pound divorce from Heather Mills, reports claim. Members of the former Beatle’s then-PR team believe their mobiles were accessed by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was working for the News of the World.

  9. Giant cartels calling themselves corporations have gotten so big and have so many moving parts that you cannot prosecute the people at the top, as they can claim ignorance of the actions of their underlings. If you check out the testimonies of everyone in a Congressional hearing in the US for the past, say, 10 years (including people like Goldman Sachs), you’ll find that “I don’t recall” or “I wasn’t in charge of that” is the get out of jail free card.

    This will be solved, sooner or later. Probably when the pitchforks come out in the second recession that is quickly heading our way.

    1. again, what you say there is true… in the US.

      in the UK they can pull the charter of the corporation faster than you can talk about the Supreme Court.

  10. Does it matter that News Corp (incorporated as a public company in the US) would be subject to Sarbanes-Oxley regulations that were designed to prevent shady financial transactions — bribing of public officials would fall into this, I believe — by making the executives responsible when they signed their names on their filings?

    1. not even the single largest circulation part of his empire? Seriously? With the former editer live-tweeting that he heard personally from Rupert at least weekly, you back up the conveniently detailless “memories” of two people whose asses are decidedly on the line… without a hint of suspcion?

      Evidence to the contrary is evidence of a conspiracy, but evidence of a conspiracy is just evidence of being contrary?

      You really are a FOX viewer through and through, aren’t you?

      1. You really are a FOX viewer through and through, aren’t you?

        Obviously. You can tell because I questioned a thing I saw on the internet.

        1. If you only read it ‘on the internet’ and aren’t independently reading it in any of the other multitude of off-line investigative sources (from both sides of ‘the fence’ and “the pond”) AND you’re being strictly contrarian to others points without adding relevant facts from other sources then yes, yes I definitely do question your point and intent.

          Heck, now that I put it that way I (almost) wonder if you work for Rupert instead of just diverting attention from his crimes as an avocation.

      2. Our Rupert forgot the Prime Directive for all terrorist cells and cartels: compartmentalization, independent operation, ignorance, and deniability. His multiple daily calls to Brown et al. remind one of Mohammed Atta’s checking in on his fellow conspirators. And soon LulzSec will drop a mountain of smoking guns with those emails. Damned exciting!

    2. Given that the people involved lead right up to the Prime Minister, and the payouts have been rumored to reach into the hundreds of millions, it’s hard to imagine that the Murdochs were unaware.

      Why do the British police need all these “media strategists” on their payroll? I see NewsCorp has retained Edelman here in the US. Is better PR always the solution?

  11. What did anyone think he was going to say… “I did it! And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their talking dog!”?

  12. Perhaps the Murdochs are Jesuits, and are thinking about what they might have had for lunch sometime last year when answering “I don’t recall.” Ah, casuistry! But it would be rather illogical, having allegedly committed the alleged crimes for a half century, if he would suddenly self-incriminate now. Here’s hoping recovered documents and other data will nail down his malfeasance beyond the need for any one individual’s testimony.

  13. If a company is so big that the the largest-circulation newspaper in the English-speaking world comprises just 2% of it, surely it doesn’t need to be any bigger! If a company is so big that the man who runs it can’t possibly know what’s happening at it, surely it doesn’t need to be any bigger!

  14. Well of coure he’s claiming ignorance…

    He’s always claiming ignorance of any damage done by any of his “soit-disant” news organizations.

    He’ll do it again too.

  15. Its very simple for him…

    Hire unethical people and then hammer them for results and make it clear here does not care about the details of how they get said results..

    His entire MO has been results, not methods.. “Do whatever it takes to get the story”

  16. Welcome to modern capitalism.

    If you lose money or get in trouble you are not responsible. In fact you may get a bonus! Feel free to lay off workers too.

    If you make money then you get the lion’s share and the workers just get an email (if they are lucky) saying “good job”. Celebrate by moving a plant to a cheaper country but your job will stay right here.

    You are not responsible for bad things, the buck doesn’t stop with you. The US President is held responsible for everything but the CEO of a major company isn’t. Continue to claim though that business people are inherently more skilled and morally better than government people at running things.

  17. The activist-assailant’s name is Johnny Marbles, who showed remarkable courage in attacking an 80 year old man. (That’s sarcasm, for those who may be tone-deaf.)

    Let us all take a moment to feel sorry for poor Rupert Murdoch, a harmless old man who almost was forced to deal with the life-changing trauma of almost having shaving cream on his skin and clothing against his will. Were it not for the swift actions of his lovely young wife Mr. Murdoch might have been almost embarrassed and humiliated in front of the world. Octogenarian billionaires are our most repressed and downtrodden segment of society. Won’t someone think of the billionaires?

  18. Why is everyone so interested in this? He’s an old rich guy with connections. Of course nothing will happen to him.

  19. So his son is the heir apparent, eh? I’m sure that won’t stop him from claiming how he worked his way to the top by being smarter and harder working than everyone else as he tells all those leeches and parasites who work for him to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Right, libertarians?

    Right…?

  20. Since they’re claiming no knowledge, whom did they set up to be the canary and who’s going to be the scapegoat?

  21. Newscorp has 51,000 employees. There’s no humanly possible way Murdoch could know what they were all up to. At the top of a food chain like that, you only know what your underlings choose to tell you. Those people are much more isolated than we are. That’s why when the president of a company (or even a country) says they didn’t know, its probably the (sad) truth.

  22. So we’re just going to accept en masse a society where corporations are so big that their CEOs can’t ever be held accountable for anything they do, aren’t we?

    Even worse, running a corporation that is too big to be ethical will constantly be pointed out in a CEO’s *defence*, rather than as the very worst count on his or her indictment.

  23. It doesn’t matter whether we accept it or not. That’s the way it is. Today’s institutions are unbelievably big and unwieldly. The US government has two million employees. We don’t normally hold the President responsible if one of them behaves badly (unless we are opposed to him politically — then EVERYTHING is his fault). Apple has 36,000 employees; does Jobs personally know them all? My employer has a thousand employees. He doesn’t know me from Adam and has no idea what I do.

    So unless there is a rule that no business or government entity can have more than a hundred employees, there is no way that the person at the top can have any way of knowing what all of the employees are doing.

    We can hold them accountable and punish them if we like, but it won’t make anyone more responsive. It’ll only make us feel better.

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