MPs fail to land any blows on Murdochs
UK MPs failed to land any significant blows on Rupert Murdoch or his son James during a three-hour parliamentary grilling last night.
The most dramatic moment of the House of Commons media committee special hearing came two hours in when a man wielding a shaving foam pie on a paper plate, sitting two rows back, launched at Rupert Murdoch.
Reports of the incident vary, but a Bloomberg reporter in the room claimed that the main pushed the foam into Mr Murdoch’s face. Moments before the attack, the man appeared to identify himself on Twitter as Jonnie Marbles, a comedian and member of the activist group UK Uncut.
Slow-motion video posted on The Guardian’s website shows Mr Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng, leaping to protect her husband. Ms Deng reportedly struck Mr Marbles (the incident occured just of the camera's frame).
Frozen to his seat
The New York Times was quick to pit Murdoch versus Murdoch in its assessment of the action:
"Even as James Murdoch (38) seemed frozen to his seat, shock written across his face at the sight of the intruder, Mrs. Murdoch (42) leaped quickly to her feet from her chair just behind her husband, swung her arm in a great arch and punched the protester." the paper reported.
ABOVE: Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng (in pink, left) James Murdoch (centre) and others leap from their chairs as the News Corp. chief executive is attacked by a foam pie weilding assailant.
Humbled, shocked, but not to blame
Rupert Murdoch told MPs the special committee hearing was “the most humbling day of my life.”
But through the three-hour session, both Murdochs denied any knowledge of phone hacking or police bribery.
James Murdoch – News Corp’s third-in-command – apologised to victims and said the phone hacking was inexcusable, but denied any blame.
Similarly, Rupert Murdoch told MPs, "I was absolutely shocked, appalled and ashamed when I heard about the Milly Dowler case two weeks ago.”
But the News Corp chief executive added that he ran a global business of 53,000 people and the paper was "just 1%" of this.
He was not ultimately responsible for what went on at the News of the World, Mr Murdoch said.
Asked who was responsible, he said: "The people I trusted to run it and maybe the people they trusted".
According to UK media reports, Rupert Murdoch was not eloquent. His testimony was often vague, sometimes sharp-tongued, and punctuated by long pauses as he claimed to be unaware of several major elements of the News of the World scandal. But he made no concessions, and his inquisitors were able to extract any fresh revelations.
Rumourmill - News Corp board considered dumping Murdoch
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that News Corp was considering dumping Rupert Murdoch as chief executive and replacing him with COO Chase Carey if he did not perform at the parliamentary hearing.
But the News Corp boss survived unscathed.
The company is not out of the woods yet. Former News of the World editor and News International boss Rebekah Brooks is still before the committee.
But in midday trading, News Corp shares (NAS: NWS) had rebounded strongly and were up 6.69%.