By John Ballard
Blogger/journalist Adloyada posted a fascinating description of the Murdochs. Her post is longer, but this part strikes me as worth noting.
Reading the online reports and the tweets after we got turned out of the hearing, they don't really convey how very poorly Rupert Murdoch performed. Long, long pauses almost every time he was asked a question. Sometimes had no idea what to say. More than once I had the strong impression he'd forgotten the sentence he'd started saying. Banging the table as he spoke was weirdly out of synch with the relatively anodyne things he was saying. He often said he didn't remember, and I didn't get the impression from his tone of voice that he was covering up. I remembered his television interview clip last week when they asked him what his priority was now he'd arrived in England to sort the News International mess. "This one", he said, putting his arm round Rebekah Brooks' shoulders. It seems to me quite likely that he couldn't remember her name at that moment. James Murdoch repeatedly butted in to try to answer for him, but was batted away by the Committee members.
If I were a News Corp shareholder (a laughable concept, but still..) I'd be calling for Rupert Murdoch to have to undergo a brain scan and in depth neurological report. Seriously. I've been around dementia and mental impairment sufferers long enough to recognise the very early stages of permanent cognitive decline when I see them. I'm gobsmacked to think of him playing such a key role in a global corporation. Tellingly, he did mention that his underlings often tell him he's talking rubbish when he tries to give them ideas.
And James Murdoch? He came across like a typical organizational suit, full of the usual obfuscation and evasiveness I'm regularly encountering in my current dealings with NHS PCT bureaucrats. Paul Waugh tweeted one of his prize lines of organizational gobbledygook:
There are thresholds of materiality where something has to be moved upstream.
This was one of the few times when Rupert outstripped his son, in this case by translating the verbiage into plain English:
Anything seen as a crisis comes to me.
So this pair are supposed to be the Evil Empire, controlling the politicians and institutions of the UK? On the basis of this performance, utterly laughable. One of the few worthwhile and revealing answers from Murdoch Senior was when he responded to a rolling dramatic question about how come he'd entered 10 Downing Street via the back door when he visited Cameron after the election: "Because I was asked to. I did what I was told." And in passing he managed to list the many times he'd visited Blair and Brown and talked about Brown's and his kids playing together. And pointed out that it was people like Blair, Brown and Cameron who travelled across continents to see him at their request, not his.
It seems power and influence often moves generationally. These instances came to mind as I drove to my assignment this morning...
- Ghadaffi -- Moamar to Saif and others
- Mubarak -- Hosni to Gamal
- al-Assad -- Hafez to Assad
- Kim Il Sung to kim Jong Il, then Kim Jong Un
I'm sure there are more. And the U.S. is in no position to be judgmental with our own political landscape covered by family dynasties from both parties going back to the start of the republic. Same goes for musicians and other entertainers. This could be a parlor game.