You know things are bad when a man who dominates world media is publicly claiming that he is a victim. This was Rupert Murdoch’s excuse during testimony yesterday and today during the Leveson inquiry into the phone hacking. The judicial inquiry is focused on Murdoch’s political power and influence as the owner of 37% of the news papers in Britain. News Corp.’s international media assets are valued around 60 million dollars.
Murdoch, who is the CEO and Chairman of News of the World, testified that there was indeed a cover up in the hacking scandal, but he doesn’t know nothing about no hacking. Rupert claims he was “misinformed and shielded.” Way to lead.
Citing “one or two very strong characters” on the paper, Murdoch played the victim of dominating personalities who ran the paper illegally behind his back. He then claimed he had relied too much on the police, “Perhaps we relied too much on the conclusions of the police.”
Murdoch continued, “I do blame one or two people for that, who perhaps I shouldn’t name, because for all I know they may be arrested yet, but there is no question in my mind maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victim to and I regret.”
Yes, that’s the problem. Weak and powerless as only “the man who owns the news” internationally can be, Murdoch was overtaken by strong individuals in his employ and then foolishly relied upon the police. Clearly Murdoch is hoping to play the kindly grandfather part here, evoking sympathies with clarion calls of helplessness.
Speaking of being helpless, many of his victims might be able to articulate how that feels a bit better than Mr. Murdoch who has benefited and profited from the illegal hackings. Additionally, even though those strong individuals Murdoch blames for the hackings and cover up do not run the parent company News Corp, other enterprises under the umbrella of the News Corp. are currently under investigation by the FBI, Department of Justice and SEC in the United States.
Murdoch testified today that PM Brown had declared “war” on News of the World out of political anger after Murdoch endorsed the Tories. This is yet another version of “I didn’t do it, and this is all political nonsense.” Perhaps what he meant to say was that PM Brown had declared a war on illegal activities, but then, that would be admitting that hacking into people’s phones and publishing their private information deserved attention from the authorities, and we all know it’s best to pretend you are the victim of your “enemies.” (Shades of Nixon here.)
Mr. Murdoch has gone from the “one bad apple” claim in 2009 to the new and improved Murdoch media mogul as victim. In case you had any doubts as to his political affiliation was, now you can be sure.
Here are the symptoms: Harshly and violently hurts innocent people like the parents of a deceased child and when busted claims to be a victim. Whines a lot. Pretends to know nothing about billion-dollar corporation he runs but has no problem collecting the money from said profits. Conducts operations with same “ethics” in various countries, while throwing others beneath him under the bus. Smartly saves the one closest to him to protect self but the rest are fair game. There is always a scapegoat. Continues to cry “poor me” without ever showing any real remorse or regret for the fallout of his choices.
If I didn’t think there were more coming, I’d say this is Rupert Murdoch’s Blood Libel moment of self-pity gone a tad too far, but I fear he isn’t done with us yet. I also wouldn’t put it past him to hire someone to throw a pie in his face so he could be the televised victim of Al Pieda evildoers who are out to get him (nothing tells a story like a visual). Oh, wait… Nah.
It’s not as if Murdoch’s media savvy or has a keen mind for creating a narrative. He only owns 60 billion worth of media assets around the globe. He’s obviously a naïve, guileless ingénue; a victim of the liberal media.
Murdoch’s staunch denials of ever having asked British PM Tony Blair for a favor were as crude as his now defunct paper, “I never asked Mr. Blair for anything, nor did I receive any favor.”
As the former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating said of Murdoch, things are not without subtle finesse in News Corp land, “You can do a deal with him without ever saying a deal is done.” Mr. Murdoch’s media holdings are also facing scrutiny in Australia as well as the US.
While claiming impotence and cluelessness, Rupert admitted that he directs the editorial bent at The Sun and politicians can find out how he feels just by reading it. Oh, so subtle! It’s like he’s a KGB spy.
In my secret Murdoch decoder, I’m getting, “Read my political wish list in my paper that is run by people I’ll claim are stronger and smarter than me one day when they need to take the fall for my business tactics while I deny sending policy directives to politicians in return for granting them good press, which I wouldn’t have the authority to do since I barely run this place. Oh, but I run everything! And by the way, unions are bad!”
I hope you are ready to pass the hat for poor Murdoch. He’s almost as big of a victim as Nixon/Palin et al. That bus must be getting crowded.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.