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‘This is the most humble day of my career’: 5 key moments from Murdoch’s first hour of testimony

The room where the Murdochs are currently testifying looks more like a place you'd hold a school board meeting rather than a parliamentary committee hearing.  

Murdoch is very low energy and seems to not have a firm grasp of all the information being discussed. He takes long pauses before answering questions. As far as visuals go, Murdoch has had his head slumped down at times when he is not testifying -- looking as tired as he has said he feels.

According to the Guardian, the News Corp. strategy that seems to be emerging is to have James "talk as much as possible and keep the interventions of Rupert Murdoch to a minimum. The role of James Murdoch is to ‘translate' his father's curt responses into comprehensive replies."

But for the most part committee members have directed their questions to the senior Murdoch and not his son, who has been eager to answer. In fact, Rupert frequently has looked toward James, saying it's more appropriate that he answers.

But, on more than one occasion, MPs have said, "If we can just return to your father..."

A few key statements Rupert Murdoch has made so far:

On the reason he decided to shut down the News of the World:

"We had broken our trust with our readers."

Was it a "commercial" decision to shut down the paper?

"Far from [it]."

Is he [Rupert] responsible for "this whole fiasco?"

"No."

When asked who is, he replied:

"The people I trusted to run it and maybe the people they trusted. I worked with Mr. Hinton [Les Hinton, the former News International exec and Dow Jones chief who resigned last week] for 52 years and I would trust him with my life."

Did this scandal cross the ocean to the United States?

"I cannot believe it happened by anyone in America."

A moment of levity: One MP asked why the prime minister had Murdoch come in to 10 Downing Street through the back door, since even world leaders enter through the front.

"I was asked, I just did what I was told."

Murdoch said he was also asked to go through the back door by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The audience laughed.

 

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Who’s in the audience at Rupert Murdoch’s hearing today?

There are only 40 seats in the audience of the committee hearing room where Murdoch is testifying. And the Guardian reporter staking out the scene had this interesting observation this morning:

Harry Evans, the former editor of [the] Times when Murdoch bought it, is second in line [to get in], having flown in from New York yesterday.

Evans, who is married to Tina Brown, was the legendary editor of the Times of London until Murdoch bought the paper in 1981 and forced him out. His 1984 autobiography, Good Times, Bad Times, was a "corrosive attack on Rupert Murdoch," according to the Independent.

He wrote in the book, "I knew that Murdoch issued promises as prudently as the Weimar Republic issued Marks."

And he's called Murdoch elitist, anti-democratic, and ruthless in business.

So, one suspects he's not there to cheer Rupert on.