Murdoch Hearing A Yawn -- Especially For Murdoch
Questioning of Rupert Murdoch and his son James by a Parliamentary committee was interrupted today (Tuesday) when a man in the public gallery advanced toward the elder Murdoch with a plate full of shaving cream, apparently attempting to humiliate him with a theatrical pie-in-the-face stunt. Seeing the man approaching her husband, Wendi Murdoch shot up from her chair and attacked the would-be assailant, who ended up with most of the shaving cream on his own face. (A little of it ended up on Rupert Murdoch's right shoulder; he removed his jacket for the remainder of the hearing.) The man, not immediaately identified, was quickly placed in handcuffs by police. The entire disturbance, which lasted a matter of seconds was repeated numerous times on the BBC and showed James Murdoch reacting with shock as the incident took place. The hearing resumed after a ten-minute break. It all amounted to the only lively occurrence in the hours-long proceeding, with James Murdoch fielding mostly softball questions concerning the telephone hacking scandal that has damaged News Corp and particularly its British news division, News International. (One person posted this observation on the BBC website "I'm watching the Murdoch 'grilling' by MPs. ... More like a gentle poaching if you ask me!") The 80-year-old media mogul appeared to fumble for words often, answer several questions with one- or two-word replies, and at times appeared to be dozing off while his son was speaking. "He did appear quite an old man," one BBC reporter remarked. In a closing statement, he seemed to make a 180-degree turn from his comments last week when he remarked that the hacking case had been handled "extremely well in every way possible" by his organization and that only "minor mistakes" had been made. Murdoch said today that people who were working for him had "betrayed" him and that his News of the World tabloid "went against everything I stand for -- and my son, too."