Thursday, April 26, 2012

After The James Murdoch Storm Came the Calm (Well Sort of)

Rupert Murdoch's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry today was either a bit of damp squib, or Rupert Murdoch is playing "mind games", if it is the latter then I hope Leveson does not allow him to get away with it.

Murdoch appears slighted when he spoke of a telephone conversation with Gordon Brown, where Brown apparently "attacked him" for announcing that the Sun was switching allegiance to the Tories, Murdoch narrated this conversation word for word, even told of the low tone that conversation took place in, a bit odd really when in the next breath he said that he couldn't remember when that telephone conversation took place, whether it was on the day of  Brown's speech to the Labour party conference, or when it actually was. Murdoch seems to suffer from a strange form senile dementia that only seems to affect him when he is giving his evidence under oath.
Mr Murdoch claimed the then PM said: 
"Well, your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative but to make war on your company."
But Mr Brown said that Mr Murdoch's claim about him "declaring war" on News Corporation was "wholly wrong" and called on the media mogul to retract his "serious allegation".
The News Corp boss told the inquiry the ex-PM was not in a "balanced state of mind" when he made the call.
But Mr Brown said he had not phoned, met with or written to the News Corp chief over the Sun's decision to switch support back to the Conservatives.
He added that he hoped "Mr Murdoch will have the good grace to correct his account," when he resumes giving evidence to the inquiry on Thursday.

Now the truth about what brown really said and when he said it, which proves that Rupert Murdoch is lying:

When Brown heard about his taped phone call, he was not angry with the mother, but he was very angry with The Sun. Rupert Murdoch personally intervened to try and repair relations between the government and News International and told Brown in a phone call on 22 November that he thought the paper was 'wrong to publish the Janes story'. The tone of the conversation between the two was described as 'warm'. Brown said: 'Rupert you know I respect you and hold you in the highest regard. You know that I have never criticised you personally, and I have never let my people criticise you personally, but your people in London are making a great mistake. You've got to sort them out'. 'I hear you' replied the media mogul 'and I want to apologise.' Those who observed the two men together were often struck by their similarities: 'they were both outsiders, both from a long line of Scottish Presbyterian stock, they valued hard work, they both operated on the basis of knowing more than others, and they both had a phenomenal drive to win' says one. On the call they disagreed only on Brown's claim that The Sun's campaign was 'undermining our mission in Afghanistan'. The atmosphere of the conversation then began to deteriorate when Murdoch pleaded with the Prime Minister three times to speak to Rebekah Brooks, who was also on the line. 'I have no interest in speaking to the woman who is persecuting me' said Brown stubbornly. After more pressure from Murdoch he finally conceded. During a very tense conversation Brown raged: 'How dare you do this to me!' A breathless Brooks tried to deny she had anything 'to do with the headline' and claimed that she had been on holiday when the decision to run the story was taken. 'I know you're lying to me' Brown yelled and slammed the phone down. It would be the last time the two spoke. The New Statesman

If Rupert Murdoch is capable of making things like this up knowing that they will cause a furore, knowing they will cause harm and distress and if he is capable displaying convenient bouts of  "amnesia" then his credibility as a witness must come under serious scrutiny by Leveson and Murdoch shows that he does not respect this country, or our laws or the Leveson inquiry, but most of it shows quite clearly that he cannot be trusted to tell the truth and give a true account of what has been happening within his company.

Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah had every good reason to feel aggrieved with Rupert Murdoch, let's not forget that in October 2006, Rebekah Brooks the then editor of the Sun telephoned Gordon and Sarah brown and informed them that they had obtained their son's medical records and were going to publish them.

Rupert Murdoch has spoken of the regret he feels that the friendship he had with the Browns broke down, well with friends like that who needs enemies?

For all Murdoch's bluff and bluster, he is still just a nasty unpleasant man who uses people for his own ends and Leveson should be aware of this when questioning resumes. Leveson also needs to question Murdoch further about this mysterious phone conversation which Gordon Brown completely denies ever took place, if he doesn't, then this could be the subject of yet another legal battle. Perhaps Murdoch's memory is playing him up again and he has "forgotten" that at the time of this alleged phone call that Mr Brown was said to have made, Brown was still PM and I would think that phone records can easily be checked!

Even now there could be more skulduggery going on behind the scenes, even now at this late stage Murdoch could be promised BSkyB, after all at 81 he's getting on a bit and who would question his sudden convenient lapses of memory and concentration each time he is asked a particularly difficult question? To try and have us believe that he never discussed Andy Coulson with David Cameron is just astonishing, especially when you consider how "fond" Murdoch is of Rebekah Brooks and their exceptionally close relationship and at the time Brooks was almost joined at the hip to Andy Coulson.

Murdoch's claim that he never discussed the BSkyB bid with David Cameron is another eyebrow raiser. His son James Murdoch makes no secret of the fact that he wanted BSkyB badly, Murdoch makes no secret of the fact that James and Brooks persuaded him to to switch support back to the Tories. Strangely this all happened around the time that:
Jeremy Hunt spent five days in the US, holding meetings with News Corporation when Rupert and James Murdoch were first deciding whether to bid for Sky, official documents reveal.Almost immediately after Hunt's trip, James Murdoch visited David Cameron in London, and privately told him that News Corp had agreed to switch its support to the Tories in the upcoming election. Hunt then became culture secretary in the victorious Tory government.Hunt's officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport declined to comment on what Hunt had been doing at News Corp's headquarters in August 2009, a visit disclosed in the register of members' interests later that year. The Guardian
Rupert Murdoch needs to be questioned in far more detail than he has been to date and if his memory is that unreliable then officials in the Leveson Inquiry must be given all relevant information and records.

I thought Rupert Murdoch had more balls than the cowardly performance he put on in Leveson yesterday, he knows all about David Cameron and George Osborne and if he was really sorry for what his papers did he would disclose that information and he should remember, this is his chance, if he doesn't disclose, it will find him out, the truth will come out, I would have thought the last year or so would have taught him this at least, if nothing else!

Why should we believe a single thing Rupert or James Murdoch have said or will say in the future?

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