A camera-mobbed Rupert Murdoch walked into yesterday morning’s hearing a Bond villain, an evil overlord, an all-seeing eye. He walked out of it a pied, deflated, piteous figurehead, with the committee apologizing to him, comforting him, and praising his “guts and leadership.” The Murdochs’ theme wasn’t denial, nor was it really apology. It was innocence through ignorance, victory through stupidity. While Rupert languished, his son James dodged.
Two weeks ago, Britain was a nation lost, permanently ill at ease, with a mutant, hybrid government and an air of meekness and gloom. There wasn’t anything to distract us, to feel particularly ashamed or proud of—everything was just a bit depressing. Nine out of ten news stories were about Kate Middleton’s hats (too Canadian?) or clavicles (too pointy?). In Europe, we would have just looked insensitive if we had complained about our dull, entrenched problems, given the exuberant sleaziness in Italy and chaos in Greece.
[Guest post by Gabriel Debenedetti] This morning’s News Corp parliamentary hearing in London boasted more than its fair share of explosive moments, from the absurd to the slightly frightening. As Rupert Murdoch appeared old and occasionally hard-of-hearing, his son James seemed both shrewd and uncompromising. Up next was the reviled Rebekah Brooks, who came across as fatigued and unsympathetic. With the hearings fresh in our minds, TNR brings you the top ten moments from the proceedings: 10.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] The country of my birth is parodying itself. We’ve spun around the roundabout of funny and turned off directly into sad. The News of the World’s Pandora’s box is daily spilling out even fresher hells, so embarrassing in their corporate-journo-politico complicity that one could almost forgive Rupert Murdoch for burning a million emails worth of evidence — well, almost. Today, we learn that NOTW tried to hack Gordon Brown, Prince Charles, and 9/11 victims. Then they tried to buy the Queen’s phone number. In times like these, England rarely turns to the clergy.
And just like that, the News of the World is gone. Never mind that Rupert Murdoch’s racy tabloid was the best-selling and most profitable weekly in Britain, with a circulation of some 2.6 million.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] Rupert Murdoch just drove the final nail into his News of the World coffin, shoving it unceremoniously out to sea like a recently deceased Al Qaeda boss. Its editor Rebekah Brooks gets to keep her post as chief executive of all News International while its reporters mill around outside of the building, levying vague threats. It’s fair to say good riddance, and rejoice that a newspaper that hacked 4,000 and bribed £100,000 will soon be moldering in the trash heap. But the fall of News of the World isn’t all good news.
--Shutdown Minnesota government fires the people who could tell them how shutdown they are --Stiff upper lip: David Cameron celebrated Christmas season and went horse-riding with embattled tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks. --Elizabeth Samet untangles Joseph Heller --David Leonhardt on the business lobby's faux-roundtable on the deficit --And Jim Sleeper probably isn't a fan of twitter townhalls