James Murdoch, the News International CEO and News Corp. scion who has been identified by an overwhelming array of documentary and testimonial evidence as having been made abundantly aware that the company he runs engaged in widespread and routine criminal conduct by repeatedly hacking into celebrity's voicemails, told Parliament this morning that he didn't know anything about widespread hacking and all the people who say he did are liars.
Leveling his eerie dead eyes at members of Parliament's Committee on Culture, Media, and Sport like some sort of meticulous serial killer sparring with hapless detectives, Murdoch repeatedly and coolly denied knowing about the true extent of the rot inside News of the World before last year, when the Guardian began blowing the lid off the story. Before that, he says, he thought the mess was limited to one "rogue" reporter, Clive Goodman, and private eye Glenn Mulcaire.
But what about former NOTW editor Colin Myler, who says he told Murdoch that hacking extended beyond Goodman and Mulcaire back in 2008? He's a liar.
OK, but what about former News International legal manager Tom Crone, who corroborates Myler's claim? He's a liar, too.
OK, but what about this 2008 memo from your lawyer stating that there was "a culture of illegal information access used at [News International's newspapers] in order to produce stories for publication." Never saw it.
OK, but what about Myler's handwritten notes from a 2008 meeting with you—after Goodman and Mulcaire pleaded guilty and Goodman was fired—stating that you wanted to "get rid of [wrongdoers]-cut out cancer." He's a liar.
And so on.
From the Times:
[Murdoch] accused Colin Myler and Tom Crone — two former executives of News International, the British media subsidiary of News Corporation — of giving the committee "inconsistent" testimony about the extent of his knowledge. The two men had said they provided Mr. Murdoch with evidence in 2008 that phone hacking was more widespread at one of the company's newspapers, The News of the World, than he has publicly acknowledged.
"Certainly in the evidence they gave to you in 2011 in regard to my own knowledge, I believe it was inconsistent and not right, and I dispute it vigorously," Mr. Murdoch said. "I believe their testimony was misleading, and I dispute it."
At one point, a committee member, Tom Watson, compared the Murdoch media empire to a mafia family bound together by a vow of silence - omertà.
Mr. Murdoch responded with a pained expression. "Mr. Watson. Please. I don't think that's appropriate," he said.
"You must be the first Mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise," Mr. Watson snapped back.
Aside from Murdoch's singleminded and reptilian commitment to his transparently false story, other highlights from the testimony included his refusal to rule out shutting down the Sun if it turns out to have been as deeply implicated in hacking as the NOTW and his sincere apology and claim if ignorance regarding revelations that NOTW reporters had hired private investigators to tail the lawyers of the people whose phones they had illegally hacked.