That’s enough frigging Murdoch, let’s get back to reality. I finished repacking all the stuff in the attic! Or almost anyway. The boxes are upstairs, they’re just in the way of where I sleep. Which is not helpful, because I need sleep quite badly now. That’s probably why I’m having all these realisations. I finally realise the truth about snakes for example. Haven’t you? Snakes are land animals that evolved from fish… back into fish. Develop legs, climb out of water, lose legs again. Crazy. So from now on, I’m going to refer to all snakes as “landfish”. People will know what I mean.
Another thing. We have words for societies that are ruled by the rich, that are ruled by the best, by the mob, even a word for societies that are ruled by the worst. But there isn’t a word for rule by the most ruthless. How come?
And then I realised. There used to be, but all copies of that dictionary were burned and the lexicographers and their families shot.
This next story has the virtue of being true. A friend of mine came across the bizarre case of someone who was arrested for burning his own underwear. She wondered if that was arson.
Of course it is, I said. He set his arse on fire.
All right, I think I’m tired enough to sleep on the boxes now.
The end of an extraordinary day, says the TV man. Did anyone else think so? To me it seemed a let-down; predictable, unchallenging, frequently tedious.
What we were watching was, as reader jonolan put it, theatre. And not even good theatre, unless you count the intervention by the pieman – that at least was unpredictable. Otherwise its sole moment of flair was Assistant Commissioner John Yates’ surrealistic claim to be a postbox.
The prince came across more like a villain, and it was the king who vacillated. He wanted to apologise as profusely and humbly as possible – yet he wouldn’t accept the blame. Such inconsistency in a character strains credulity.
The best you can say for the production is that it was well rehearsed. The Murdochs delivered their lines effectively enough: News Corp is a highly ethical organisation, the News Of The World a completely inexplicable and isolated aberration. It was at least a daring conceit. And memorable – though mainly because they kept saying it at every opportunity.
Then in the last act a whole new theme was introduced. The News Of The World was revealed by Rebekah Brooks to be a crusading journal, focused only on protecting children and the rights of soldiers, a paragon of what newspapers should be. But the transformation hadn’t been justified by anything that had gone before, so it lacked conviction.
That’s what this show needs more of. Conviction. Preferably several.
They’re not letting Tom Watson at him again. He was the only one who managed to put pressure on the Murdochs. Now they’re being let do their prepared statement stuff once more. It’s nearly a free commercial for them.
Funny – Murdoch seemed to really perk up after the attack. I guess the adrenalin did him the power of good.
But perhaps the weak questioning is a clever tactic. Once he’s off the back foot and feeling confident again, James Murdoch sounds like a supervillain.
Now the questioner is thanking Rupert for being more helpful than James, which is surely going to make Rupert less helpful again. But it does appear that Rupert knows quite a deal about the workings of News International, making it seem like his vagueness on detail earlier was really reticence.
But now James has the helm again, and has another opening to explain how sorry they are, and how nice they will be to their former employees who didn’t get caught.
Hmm. They’ve actually gotten a commitment out of Rupert to cease paying the legal fees of Mulcaire (the investigator they paid to hack) – if they’re not obliged to do so by contract. It will be interesting to see where that goes.
In an inadvertent blasphemy this morning, a BBC news anchor described the leadership of the Murdoch empire as “The father, son, and Rebekah Brooks”. The unholy trinity has been broken now it seems.
I am not surprised that Brooks resigned, but I am surprised she went today. This morning the Guardian was forced to apologise for saying that the Sun had gained illegal access to medical records. There was a chance then to make it look as if all the allegations relating to Murdoch’s other UK titles, the Sun, Times, and Sunday Times, were nothing but the personal vitriol of failed PM Gordon Brown, and that therefore the problem was confined to – and died with – the News Of The World.
Today would have been the day to fight back, but instead she surrenders. It leads one to speculate that scapegoating the NOTW is a tactic they know is going to fail, that it will soon become obvious that the rot spreads further through News International.
And into its parent News Corp, owner of Fox and Dow Jones? What we need to know now is whether her journalistic methods were condoned by the father himself – and it’s hard to imagine it being otherwise. Even if he somehow managed to remain carefully uninformed about the details of practices at News International, it beggars belief to think that someone with his experience couldn’t tell.
It will be made out that he was too busy with his American and other enterprises to pay any real attention to his UK holdings. But just as questions of illegal actions by other UK Murdoch titles make it look like Brooks was the rogue element, comparable practices in the US or Australia would make it inescapable that Murdoch himself is the common factor.
We await the conclusions of the FBI with interest.