James Murdoch, "the first Mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise"

James Murdoch has been hauled back before Britain's Parliament to answer questions about what he knew and to what extent he is culpable in the News of the World/phone hacking scandal. In the BBC clip linked below, MP Tom Watson asks Murdoch if he knows what "omerta" means (Murdoch demurs). Then Murdoch embarks on a "mistakes were made" (well, "it is regrettable that things went wrong") statement that culminates with Watson asking Murdoch if he felt a comparison between News UK and the Mafia was apt. Murdoch disagrees. Watson finishes by noting that Murdoch must be "the first Mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise." To which Murdoch replies, "Mr Watson, please."

It's quite a moment.

Tom Watson labels James Murdoch 'mafia boss'


  1. “It is regrettable that things went wrong” translates into “It sucks that we got caught”.

    Thanks for playing our game; we have lovely parting gifts. 

  2. “Mr Watson, please.” Indeed.
    Everybody knows that they are called “Dons”, not “bosses”. 

    Made men take respect very seriously, Watson.

  3. ‘Mr Watson, please – I think that’s inappropriate.’ – It probably was, but was certainly pithy and undeniably accurate.

    1. You…almost… have to admire the mixture of myopia and narcissism that would cause somebody to argue(with a straight face) that arguably-accurate name calling is “inappropriate” after having presided over a nontrivial portion of the egregiously-tastleless-and-in-no-small-part-criminal sordid saga of the News Corporation.

      People like James are really lucky that rule of law and the modern breakdown of social cohesion have really taken a bite out of informal and vigilante justice. It’s probably taken centuries of acculturation to reach the point where not only does he have essentially zero chance of being dragged into the street and necklaced by a mob; but people are expected to be polite to him in parliament…

      1. It’s not really arguably accurate though, is it?  Murdoch is many grotesque things, but he clearly is not a Mafia boss, nor comparable to one.  Watson was doing a good job; but he’s starting to play to the peanut gallery.

  4. What I never understood is why people always start bleating about the death penalty whenever some deranged idiot kills someone, but it never comes up when there’s a case like this.

      1. For pacificts (and those who don,t care for the milataristic jingoisim) the White popy is an option. http://www.ppu.org.uk/poppy/

        1. It has nothing to do with ‘militaristic jingoism'; only the stupid and the ignorant think that, and anyway, the white poppy is the source of heroin, so maybe these fuckwits feel happy to be seen to be promoting something that destroys lives.

      2. The poppy question seems to come up every November, with someone, usually American, asking about them. Interestingly, the custom originated in the US after WWI, but seems to have been completely forgotten there. A recent episode of Boardwalk Empire, set in 1920 or so, got the period detail right by showing everyone wearing poppies at a memorial service for veterans.

        1. If you wanted to bring up politics vis-à-vis the poppies, you should have brought up the Green Brigade’s protest.

          /When I was in Glasgow, I’d be asked which football team I supported.  I always answered “the Alouettes.”
          // I  found that the Scots greatly respected and liked Canadians, whose chief qualities seemed to be not being English and not being Americans.
          ///I still miss Scotland.  You should go, if you haven’t been.

  5. I think the poppy is also a refrence to “In Flanders Fields” which is probably onee of the most popular poems to to have been written during WWI. The poem refrences poppies growing amongst the graves of the of those burried during the battlefiled.

  6. Aside from James Murdoch claiming he’s unfamiliar with the term ‘omerta’, the BBC’s servers would tended to be hosed less often is they just let people D/L the videos – which are public property, as far as I know.

    Go here instead instead for the exact same clip:

  7. The same could be said of many police chiefs, given the blue wall of silence, and the frequency with which police organizations bend, if not break, the rules they don’t consider to be particularly important.

  8. In Flanders fields the poppies blow

    Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago

    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved and were loved, and now we lie

    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:

    To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

    In Flanders fields.

    Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae (1872 – 1918)

    1. I’ve always been puzzled by that poem. The speaker tells the living to keep fighting, but doesn’t say why the living should take up the quarrel. And then the speaker threatens, zombie like, to come back if the living fail to hold the torch high. And throwing the torch? Dangerous. Why not simply hand it on?

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