When a man of 80 making an apology invokes both his mother, who is 102, and his father, who has been dead for 58 years, he is probably entitled to a hearing. Rupert Murdoch is reported to have done just that, head in hands, in his meeting with the Dowlers. You would need a hard heart to be certain now that he is not sorry.
This has implications for the Commons media committee, which meets him on Tuesday and will have to avoid the appearance of monstering a sorry old man. The public respects penitence. It punished Rebekah Brooks for delaying hers for so long, but I suspect it will think Rupert Murdoch, remarkably, has earned himself the right to at least a little politeness.
It is different for James Murdoch, who has more specific and evidence-based questions to answer, questions based in large measure on material gathered by the committee itself. The key passages are from the committee hearing on 21 July 2009, and the questioning of Colin Myler, then editor of the News of the World, and Tom Crone, then legal manager for that paper and the Sun.
Crone explained that when lawyers for Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers’ Association produced two documents appearing to show that at least one and possibly three of the paper’s journalists knew Taylor’s phone had been hacked, both he (Crone) and the paper’s external lawyers immediately agreed they could no longer contest Taylor’s case against the paper for breach of privacy. Tom Watson MP asked the questions.....read more