Rupert Murdoch is still the leader of News Corp but his 80 plus years did not prepare him for the assault on his reputation and his dignity which he suffered during his interrogation by the Parliamentary committee.
He knew he had to say sorry which he did dutifully, but not apologetically. He was not about to take the blame, but he was happy to express horror at what had happened in his name. In fact due to his confused state of mind, the TV pundits were almost reduced to sympathy for the aged megalomaniac, particularly when he was assaulted by shaving cream pie propelled by a protester.
Unlike James Murdoch who skilfully followed the corporate line provided by silk tied corporate lawyers, Rupert had the arrogance of a demagogue to answer just as he pleased, even when if meant contradicting himself.
A carefully contrived tricky question concerned whether or not these senior executives were responsible for what happened, and whether or not they knew what was going on or whether or not they should have known what was going on, and whether or not they were deliberately uniformed. Each executive was asked in turn how often they spoke with the editors of the News of The World.
Rupert Murdoch felt that he should distance himself from day by day hacking and explained that The News Of The world was less than one percent of his world wide interests and that he spoke very infrequently and never interfered with editorial content. When pressed he distanced himself by acknowledging that he spoke just once a month to the editor. However, earlier when discussing how hard he worked, he said he spoke with Rebecca Brooks and James Murdoch every day.
Rebekah Brooks later confirmed that Rupert spoke with her at least every other day. And that James occupied the adjoining office to her.
The last time News International executives appeared before the same Parliamentary Committee, they were all found to be guilty of “Collective Amnesia.” When that was put to him, Rupert Murdoch seemed to think it was a joke and confirmed that he was unaware of the conclusions made by the committee at the earlier hearing.
He said he was unaware of the phone hacking, and the hush money payoffs, and the legal support for the imprisoned phone hackers. He knew nothing.
James Murdoch was also unaware. Rebekah Brooks also unaware. They all knew nothing that would possibly incriminate them, and when they were asked about those that were responsible, that they could not discuss the matter, since some faced criminal prosecution.
At least they were all made aware of the shaving cream pie.
At the end of the day the man in handcuffs was not a hacking newspaper man, but the man who propelled the shaving cream pie. When asked why he had done it, he said he faced criminal charges and could not comment.