Because this scandal needed more drama, someone assaulted Rupert Murdoch with a “pie” made out of shaving cream as he (and his son) spoke today before a Parliamentary committee today. Word from CNN is the assailant called Rupert a “greedy billionaire” before the hurling started. The hearing has since resumed with Rebekah Brooks speaking now and Rupert unharmed.
If you didn’t know it before, now it’s now abundantly clear that there’s palpable anger out there against News Corp. Before the hearing even began, The Wall Street Journal wrote, “At stake is both the reputation of a global empire—which has 51,000 employees and annual revenue of $32 billion—and the level of support that the Murdoch family, particularly Rupert and his son James, will have among investors.”
The Telegraph writes that James Murdoch came off better than Rupert, perhaps by design. We’re sure there’s more slicing and dicing of their appearances to come.
Rupert Murdoch was allowed to submit a statement before the start of the hearing, which you can read in full here. Of course the first question you have to ask yourself is,”How much of that is Rupert and how much came from one of the many publicists working on this situation?”
In another twist on the PR front, one member of Parliament, Dana Collins, made the following statement pre-pie throwing: “I’d like to make a short declaration of my own which I previously declared to the committee which is to say that my wife is an employee of a company called Edelman which has been engaged by News Corporation. She’s never worked on this account, and has no access to the information relating to it. I just wanted to share this with you before asking you any questions.”
Separately, Robert Dilenschneider made news for his comments, which tried to deflect the issue away from the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal and towards hacking in general. When asked by The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple Blog whether he can see why people would criticize him for his comments, he said, “I can, after hearing the transcript — yes.”
Which isn’t to say that hacking isn’t a problem. News Corp. can actually add another bout of hacking at the hands of LulzSec to its mountain of problems. It just isn’t the main problem causing the scandal.