Below is the transcript of The National Memo’s live-blogging of News Corp testimony delivered before Parliament on July 19, 2011. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corp; his son, James Murdoch; and Rebekah Brooks, a top lieutenant who resigned from her post last week, spoke before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
Matt Taylor: Sorry for the late start folks; Murdoch and son have been testifying for a few minutes now.
Avi Zenilman: This is a live-blog of the British Parliament’s interrogation of Rupert Murdoch.
Matt Taylor: Murdoch and son play the humble card, deeply apologetic.
Matt Taylor: Rupert says he was “clearly” lied to about phone hacking by subordinates.
Matt Taylor: He plays the corporate titan card; I have 53,000 employees, can’t be bothered to keep tabs on everything.
Matt Taylor: The younger Murdoch wants to testify in favor of his father but Parliament wants to hear from the elder Murdoch.
Matt Taylor: Being questioned now about trading favors for political endorsements, which Murdoch has been found essentially guilty of in the past.
Matt Taylor: MP’s are incredulous at the extent to which James has apparently shielded Rupert from the goings-on with the scandal for years.
Matt Taylor: Murdoch gets most upset when asked whether 9/11 victims have been hacked; doesn’t seem to realize Brits being hacked is just as big a deal when in front of the British Parliament.
Matt Taylor: “We have apologized profusely and unreservedly” says James.
Matt Taylor: “We are a company that takes transparency very seriously’ says the younger Murdoch. Nice.
Matt Taylor: Decision to close The News of the World was because Rupert Murdoch was “ashamed,” no commercial reasons, he says.
Matt Taylor: Lots of pleas of ignorance; the strategy here seems to be to bury the MPs in corporate language about transparency, audits, and compartmentalization of responsibility.
Matt Taylor: Every employee at News Corps receives an ethical code of conduct, they say. There are “workshops” conducted around the world to keep things clean.
JCONASON: James M: Need to rethink “codes of conduct.” Five decades late but hey! As he says “it’s a good thing.” Besides, they’re being “pro-active.” [via Twitter]
Avi Zenilman: Once again — welcome readers! This is National Memo’s live-blog of the Murdoch hearings, currently happening on a television near you. To join in the conversation via twitter, add the hashtag #murdochnm and your comments will go up!
Matt Taylor: Recap: Rupert Murdoch began hearing by calling this “the most humble day of my life.”
Matt Taylor: MP Sanders asks about “willful blindness,” knowledge you could and should have had but chose not to have; compares News Corps to Enron. James Murdoch gets testy, ducks.
Matt Taylor: Now being quizzed about what kind of media prep they did; first time testifying like this for both Murdochs (somehow).
Matt Taylor: Rupert says he’s “not really in touch” with his editors at his various newspapers, The Wall Street Journal excepted.
Avi Zenilman: That’s actually not true (that he’s “not in touch” with everyone except for The Journal). I worked at The Daily until March of this year, and he was famously in touch with the stories we published.
Matt Taylor: Intense grilling about who made payments and when as relates to the initial phone hacking incidents, and how the Murdochs could possibly not have authorized them.
Matt Taylor: To be clear: these are payments to the journalists jailed in previous years for phone hacking.
Matt Taylor: Rupert Murdoch says he still trusts Rebekah Brooks.
Matt Taylor: MP says News of the World was “offered up” as an alternative to try to save Rebekah Brooks’ job at News Corps; what about all the lost jobs?
Avi Zenilman: Matt, describe a little for people at work who can’t watch TV how the Murdochs are responding–what’s the tone of their interrogation, how is their body language different? What kind of vibe are they giving off?
Matt Taylor: James promises to try to “find reemployment” for laid off workers.
Matt Taylor: The Murdochs’ body language has been relatively confident, if also humble and a bit stiff; they have mostly been very careful to remain polite and helpful, but the younger Murdoch nearly lost it when News Corp was compared to Enron.
Matt Taylor: “I don’t want to be legalistic and I’m not a lawyer,” offers up James.
Avi Zenilman: He says he doesn’t want to be “legalistic” right before he go on a long legalistic shpiel.
Matt Taylor: James keeps insisting he can’t go into details in order to avoid usurping police investigation. Good move, lecturing MPs on law and order.
Matt Taylor: Younger Murdoch admits to reading incriminating emails; Rupert dodges again via reference to “police inquiries.”
Matt Taylor: Asked if it was “remotely possible” editors knew about phone hacking, Rupert Murdoch says he doesn’t know but that Les Hilton appointed News of the World’s last editor to find our “what the hell” was going on.
Avi Zenilman: James Murdoch to parliament: “I understand completely your frustration!”
Matt Taylor: Rupert Murdoch insists he wasn’t “kept in dark”–his son says there’s a difference between being kept in dark and delegating responsibility.
Matt Taylor: MP asks about nepotism; does Rupert regret elevating his son, perhaps beyond his ability?
Matt Taylor: most open and clear society in world is Sinagpore, Rupert says
It’s the “cleanest” because everyone makes lots of money, or something.
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Copyright 2011 The National Memo