However, intelligent observers will have noted that both Murdoch Senior and his son, James, were exposed to one of the most pathetic and ineffectual cross-examinations by any self-selecting panel of mental midgets ever chosen from the British House of Commons.
Both father and son had no trouble avoiding any awkward questions by pleading the "Sergeant Shultz defense'. For those not familiar with such legalese, this refers to a character in the popular American TV series, "Hogan's Heros', of over 40 years ago. The bumbling but good-hearted German N.C.O. was famous for his line "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!" which helped him avoid being ever being blamed for allowing things to deteriorate under his command to a state complete and utter chaos.
Most questions from the panel were addressed to James Murdoch as it was soon painfully obvious that his father was as almost as much removed from the current reality of goings on in the enquiry room in London as he was from the everyday management of New Corps International. At times the senior Murdoch appeared to loose the thread of questioning and it was almost possible to see the thought-cogs slipping and jamming in his brain.
By contrast, the younger Murdoch was much more smooth and articulate; even if he was repeatedly complementing his inquisitors with a patronizing "that's a very good question'. Despite this irritating verbal tic, he consistently failed to give any real answers.
You can't blame either man for their smoke & mirror obfuscations. Clearly their legal team had briefed them to deny all responsibility. They just ran the companies, took the profits, and delegated all responsibility to managers who were often friends, family, and acquaintances.
The enquiry panel totally failed to land a single punch as they proved themselves to be inept, inarticulate, long-winded, and quite possibly in awe of the two men before them.
This is simply because the panel inquiry is a whitewash. It should only marginally be about the sins of phone hacking, police bribery, and management incompetence. The real story which will never be examined is the relationship between the Murdochs, their companies, and our political leaders.
The important questions, perhaps the ONLY questions that should have be asked were :-
- In the past 25 years, how often, when, and where, did you meet with various British Prime Ministers, Chancellors of the Exchequer and other members of the Cabinet, and Members of Parliament?
- Who initiated these meetings, who set the agendas, what was the purpose of these meetings, what was discussed, were any minutes ever taken? If not why not?