It’s Murdoch week at the Leveson inquiry — hours of viewing pleasure for snarky dart throwers as first James Murdoch and then his father Rupert (Wednesday at 10 a.m. London time), take center stage at the hearings on “the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians.”
Lord Justice Leveson was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to head the inquiry after last summer’s revelations of phone hacking led to News Corp.’s closure of News of the World, more allegations, and Parliamentary hearings that raised serious questions about interactions between the press and the government.
Since then, Scotland Yard has made numerous arrests, including Rebekah Brooks, the former News International head who was second only to James Murdoch in the company’s UK hierarchy — but the Murdochs have remained largely unscathed in terms of legal action. Not so on the economic side: News Corp. had to quit its bid for full ownership of BSkyB and James Murdoch has resigned from numerous boards, including his chairmanship of the satellite operator.
Cameron’s behavior — and his own cabinet, particularly Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt — became a centerpiece of Tuesday’s hearing as the inquiry drilled into the controversial bid for BSkyB and struck oil. It was one of the most stunning behind-the-scenes views of government influence the UK has seen.
Quite the stage for Rupert Murdoch’s appearance.
Here’s a Storify to bring you up to speed:
[View the story "James Murdoch faces the Leveson Inquiry (but will he remember it?)" on Storify]
James Murdoch faces the Leveson Inquiry (but will he remember it?)
James Murdoch kicked off Murdoch week at the Leveson Inquiry Tuesday — and managed to put someone else’s behavior in the spotlight,
Storified by Staci D Kramer · Wed, Apr 25 2012 01:13:26
Here’s how The Guardian called it (parent company GNM is a minority shareholder in GigaOM) :
In the most dramatic day of hearings at Leveson yet, the inquiry was shown emails written by James Murdoch’s chief lobbyist, Frédéric Michel, written the day before Hunt was due to make a market-sensitive statement to parliament, which appeared to indicate that he was minded to approve the bid in negotiation with News Corp. The statement came just a couple of days after the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was forced to resign as communications chief at No 10 amid mounting hacking allegations.
The Telegraph went full flaps down:
At Sky News, part of BSkyB, Hunt was more the story than former BSkyB chairman James Murdoch …
Leveson: Labour Calls For Culture Sec To QuitLabour has called for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign following claims he backed News Corporation’s bid to take over BSkyB and le…
But he got some attention for admitting he talked to Cameron about BSkB at a party.
Murdoch Had ‘Tiny’ Chat With PM About BSkyBJames Murdoch has said for the first time that he and David Cameron spoke about News Corporation’s proposed takeover of BSkyB. The former…
The inquiry released 161 pages of Michel’s e-mails
with James Murdoch as the BSkyB deal progressed, including numerous instances of Hunt apparently providing advice or information when he was supposed to be remote. The live streaming, the posting of evidence
in sharable form, the quick turnaround of transcripts — her’s Murdoch Jr in the morning
) and the archived
) — all are hallmarks of a modern hearing. Leveson has everything except someone monitoring the back channel and asking questions the viewers want to hear.
It also has some mannerisms that drove Murdoch watcher Michael Wolff crazy:
#leveson Pompous sons-of-bitches when they philosophize rather than interrogateMichael Wolff
How did James Murdoch emerge from the day?
Possibly still OK legally, but his reputation as an efficient executive — what was left of it after the earlier hearings and a admission/claim that he didn’t read his own email — was shot to pieces. Anyone playing a drinking game with “don’t recall” pr “don’t remember” (24 combined in the morning alone) as the trigger for shots would have been under the table well before lunch.
“Call me naive”
James Murdoch Admits Discussing News Corp.-BSkyB Regulatory Deal with David Cameron"Call me naïve," James Murdoch said to Robert Jay, the head lawyer for the U.K.’s Leveson Inquiry, which spent six hours questioning Murd…
A sampling of reaction from the dart throwers:
BREAKING: James Murdoch already has no recollection of appearing at #leveson later todaySir Robin Bogg
If James Murdoch was asked if Rupert Murdoch was his father im sure he would say ‘I dont recall seeing a birth certificate’ #levesonAndy Colclough
If one thing has become clear throughout this whole process is that James is nowhere near as clever or savvy as his father. #levesonMel@ArtisanCupcakeCo
What UK newsstands look like this morning
Guess which front page fails to lead on Leveson? | Left Foot ForwardMedia Integrity > Published by , April 25th 2012 at 12:07 am There’s only one story everyone’s talking about, right? A Cabinet minister u…