Murdoch Jr and Sr and Reb Brooks made their appearances in Parliament yesterday. Far from being the necktie party that many expected, the Murdoch's have come out of this with a soaraway share price and some sympathy for a kindly old man who got pied.
Lets examine some of the ridiculous ideas which have emerged from the not very penetrating questioning.
1. THE OWNER OF ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL MEDIA COMAPANIES IN THE WORLD IS DODDERY 0LD MAN WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND HIM.
This man is paid £7 million dollars a year. He is not a figurehead president for life who is paid a retainer. He is CEO and manages the company day to day. He could not retain his position if he did not have the confidence of shareholders.
He has been regularly received in Downing Street by this and a string of previous Prime Ministers.
2. MONEY JUST DISAPPEARS OUT OF THE DOOR AT NEWS INTERNATIONAL AND NOBODY KNOWS WHAT IT IS BEING PAID FOR.
We got the impression from R Brooks that journalists can simply pay anyone (by cash or some other means not yet specified) bungs for information and the Editor does not know what sort of people are being paid or what they are being paid for.
This is a highly successful company with profits in the billions. If there was really such financial lax governance it would have been cleaned out in a few days.
3. NOBODY IN NEWS INTERNATIONAL TELLS THEIR MANAGERS ABOUT SERIOUS MAL-PRACTICE THAT COULD UNDERMINE THE WHOLE COMPANY.
Rupert murdoch said that News of the World is a tiny part of his whole company as if this is a valid reason why he did not get to know about the hacking.
In a properly run company no hazard or incidence of unsafe practice from a loose carpet to a dodgy smoke detector is too small to ignore. As the recent incidents have proven, illegal and bad practice in any part of your company can get you into serious trouble. This is why in any modern public or private organisation people at all levels report anything they have serious concerns about to their superiors.
The idea that Rupert Murdoch was having phone conversations with editors and nobody thought that it was worth mentioning cases of phone hacking beggars belief.
UNDER STRICT U.S. LAW EXECUTIVES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CORRUPTION IN OTHER COUNTRIES BY THEIR EMPLOYEES(and can go to jail for it)EVEN IF THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF IT.
This is strict law is there to ensure the highest standards of ethics and governance are present in all parts of a company. No responsible corporation can afford to ignore this law or fail to seriously address any suggestion that they may be guilty of wrongdoing. Ignorance is no defence. The idea that News Corp executives have no scrutinised every detail of this case beggars belief. THEY ARE NOT AMATUERS!!!
4. SENIOR MANAGEMENT WERE NOT AWARE THAT THEY ARE PAYING THE LEGAL EXPENSES OF A CONVICTED FELLON AND ARE NOT SURE WHETHER THEY HAVE A LEGAL OBLIGATION TO DO SO.
No comment necessary.
5.NEWS INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTARILY PAID OUT OF COURT SETTLEMENTS TO VICTIMS OF PHONE HACKING MANY TIMES THAT WHICH A COURT WOULD HAVE PAID.
In his evidence Murdoch Jr said that this was partly because if the matter had gone to court then they would have had to have paid several thousands of pounds in addition to the any pay out for the costs of the victims' solicitors. The Select Committee seemed to have accepted this. However, the whole point is that the victims did not have several hundreds of thousands of pounds legal fees because News International settled out of court. They are asking us to believe that they gave people money willingly for damages they did not sustain. We are being told that this was not hush money but rather, was a case of generosity or ignorance about what level of damages was reasonable.
6. NEWS CORP DID NOT THINK IT WAS PRUDENT TO CARRY OUT A COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION AFTER SOME EVIENCE OF PHONE HACKING WAS UNCOVERED.
James Murdoch said in his evidence that they did not carry out further investigation of phone hacking because they were assured by solicitors and by the Police that there was no need to investigate further.
This is plain ridiculous. It is not up to the Police or external solicitors to tell people that there are problems in their own company. Murdoch Senior made a number of references to external governance on ethics. Boards can only advise on issues that are brought to their atttention and Police only investigate after an offence has happened and it has come to their attention. The responsibility for what went on in this company is with the Managers.
7. EDITORS DO NOT CHECK WHERE INFORMATION HAS COME FROM OR WHETHER IT'S AQUISITION IS LEGAL.
Anyone who has ever had any contact with the media will know that this is nonsense. Even the most trivial story on a local rag is checked for legality.
8. THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT OF NEWS CORP ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED (DESPITE BEING PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR FOR THEIR EXECUTIVE POSITIONS)AND THEY DON'T KNOW WHO IS ACTUALLY RESPONSIBLE.
Prepare for the revelation that it was the office cat wot did it.
The media attention has now refocussed on David Cameron. Much as I dislike Cameron's Govt, I don't think he has done anything that is worse than the previous 4 Prime Ministers in relation currying favour with the Murdoch media empire. In fact he has actually shown a willingness to split with the past and introduce transparency and acccountability. And this is of course this is why he will have to go- to make way for the next corporate appointee puppet.
Look at the Dow Jones. Shares in News Corp have rallied today. The invisible hand of the market understands what is happening. This would not be the case if shareholders really thought that the company was run by people who were senile or incompetent. Murdoch stock is up and Cameron stock is down and the credibility of our Police force and our Parliament have been shattered.
Sounds like good business.