paper trail

Jul 19, 2011 @ 1:00:00 pm

Rupert Mudoch hangs his head, via MSNBC

It was bring your son to work day in the British Parliament on Tuesday as Rupert and James Murdoch testified in London about the News of the World hacking scandal. Amid rumors that Rupert might be forced to resign as CEO of News International, the eighty-year-old media mogul maintained that he knew nothing of the scope of the misconduct, and gave parliamentarians the ‘bad apple’ excuse, saying that News of the World makes up less than one percent of his 53,000-employee empire. Leaning across his son James, he told the panel, “this is the most humble day of my life." (According to the offical transcript released to the media beforehand, he said "life" instead of "career.") Both Murdochs denied plans to open a new Sunday paper, and refused to say how much former NoTW editors Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton were paid after resigning last Friday. Piers Morgan notes that after falling steadily over the past twelve days, the "News Corp. stock price has risen throughout the hour.” In an unanticipated bit of drama, the hearing was interrupted by a man attacking Murdoch with a pie tin full of shaving cream, prompting Murdoch's wife, Wendi, to attack the attacker. All this caused News International stock prices to jump an additional six percent.

Meanwhile, two top UK police officials have resigned in connection with the scandal as more ties were revealed between News International and Scotland Yard. Prior to Murdoch’s testimony, outgoing Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson denied any impropriety in hiring former News of the World journalist Neil Wallis, who was arrested last week, as a media consultant. His number two, Assistant Commissioner John Yates also stepped down last week; and yesterday, it was revealed that Scotland Yard hired a senior News of the World executive as an interpreter. "It was almost industry standard," said Paul McMullen, former features editor for the News. "A few times, I was put on stories that came from . . . coppers we paid for good information." Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a state visit to Africa early amid scrutiny over his ties to high-level News International officials.

The New York Times’s Lede blog, and the Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow are liveblogging the proceedings.