19/07/2011 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Gavin Esler.

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Tonight, the buck stops here, with two of the most powerful men in the


world, James and Rupert Murdoch, they kept telling MPs they simply


didn't know what was really going on in the organisation they run.


Nobody in your UK company brought this fact to your attention. No.


you think that might be because they thought you might think


nothing of it? No. We will pass judgment with the help of a Tory MP


from the committee, and two former News of the World reporters. She


revealed who head hunted Andy Coulson into Government in the


first place. It was George Osborne the Chancellor's idea that when


Andy Coulson left the News of the World they should start discussions


with him. More on the puzzle of which police chief said what to


Downing Street official, as the scandal appears to move nearer to


Number Ten. Home Office Minister, Damian Green


is here. Are we getting close to Watergate


moment, we will ask Earl Spencer, who complained of the press


hounding his sister, Princess Diana, Will Self and the Watergate


investigator, Carl Bernstein. Good evening, it was billed as the


day when the mother of parliaments would finally get to grips with the


mother of all scandals. Instead of the what do they know and when did


they know it from Watergate, today's hearings were about what


James and Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks claimed they did not


know in the organisation they run. Was this a display of openness, or


is there a cover-up, if the Murdochs haven't a clue who ordered


We start with a committee in London's parliament...Rupert


Murdoch has probably done more to change the look and feel of TV news


than anyone. His channels often push the boundaries. News of the


World is under the microscope today, we will be talking about it a lot.


Today, though, a more uncomfortable position at the other end of the


lens, in the glare of the beast, he helped create.


Rupert Murdoch has arrived at British parliament. Snappers chased


Rupert Murdoch as he left his home. Once inside parliament, the


snappers were left behind, but in front of him, and his son, two


hours of questioning. First of all I would like to say just how sorry


I am, and how sorry we are. Murdoch junior began by saying


sorry, but as he developed his theme of contrition, and


explanation, watch for his father's hands on his arm. I would just like


to say, one sentence, this is the most humble day of my life.


This was not the media tyrant that some of today's billing had


promised, he was more faltering and forgetful than fierce and forensic.


Were you informed about the findings by hur son Mr Murdoch or


by Rebekah Brooks? I forget, but I expect it was my


son, I was in daily contact with them both. As his wife sat directly


behind him, nudges him to tell him to stop banging the table, Rupert


Murdoch explains that many of the details of who knew what and when


were below his pay grade. This is not an excuse, maybe it is an


explanation, my laxity, the News of the World is less than 1% of our


company, I employ 5 3,000 people around the world, who are proud and


great and ethical and distinguished people, professionals in their life,


and perhaps I'm spread watching and appointing people whom I trust to


run those divisions. One thing that we did have


confirmed today was that after the News of the World's royal editor,


Clive Goodman, and the private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, went


to prison for phone hacking, News of the World continued to write


checks towards the pair's legal fees. James Murdoch told the


committee today he didn't know who authorised the payments. I can tell


you I was as surprised as you are to find that some of those


arrangements had been made. Murdoch senior I seem to be getting


further with you, for which I'm grateful, would it have been Les


Hinton? Would he have agreed, would he have had to sign that? It could


have been. It could have been, would have been or could have been?


It could have been. Who else could it have been? The chief legal


officer. We got a glimpse today of what it's like to be Rupert Murdoch,


Prime Ministers are desperate to see him, and desperate that we


don't see him. Why did you enter the back door at Number Ten when


you visited the Prime Minister following the last general


election? Because I was asked to. You were asked to go in the back


door of Number Ten? Yes. Why would that be? To avoid photographers in


the front, I don't know, I just did what I was told. It's strange that


given heads of state manage to go in the front door. Yes. Yet you


have to go in the back door. Yes. I was invited within days to have a


cup of tea to be thanked for the support by Mr Cameron. No other


conversation took place. It lasted minutes. That was the one you went


in through the back door. Yes. I had been asked also by Mr Brown,


many times. Through the back door. Yes.


And remember Gordon Brown's roaring speech in the Commons saying how he


went to war with Rupert Murdoch. Well, that's not quite the version


we got today. Did any senior politicians that you are in contact


with, or you were in contact with during that period of time, raise


this as an issue with that, raise concerns about phone hacking.


Absolutely not, the politician I met most was Mr Brown when


Chancellor of the Exchequer, his wife and my wife struck up quite a


friendship, and our children played together on many occasions. And I'm


very sorry that I'm no longer, I felt he had great values, which I


shared with him, and I'm sorry that we have come apart, and I hope one


day we will be able to put it together again. The confidentiality


clause. As the last MP began questioning the Murdochs, there was


an attack on Rupert Murdoch, by a member of the public, it would have


been worse, had Mr Murdoch's wife not been so quick to his defence. A


man was led away in handcuffs, the committee resumed, Mr Murdoch


without his splattered jacket, it finished with a prepared statement.


I would like all the victims of phone hacking to know how


completely and deeply sorry I am. Apologising cannot take back what


has happened, still, I want them to know the depth of my regret for the


horrible invasion noose their lives. I fully understand their ire, I


intend to work tirelessly to merit their forgiveness. The next witness


was Rebekah Brooks, until last week the chief executive of News


International, and editor of the News of the World, at the time when


Milly Dowler's phone was hacked. She told the committee she had no


knowledge of what happened. seems incredible that you as the


editor were so unaware with fundamental issues to do with the


investigation. In some ways I think the opposite, I don't know anyone


in their right mind who would authorise, know, sanction, approve


of, anyone listening to the voicemails of Milly Dowler in those


circumstances. I just don't know anyone who would think it was a


right and proper thing to do at this time, or at any time, and I


know we know a lot more now, but that's all I can tell you.


And what of her supposedly cosy relationship with David Cameron, no,


she said, she had never been horse riding with the Prime Minister.


truth is that he is a neighbour, a friend, but I deem the relationship


to be wholly appropriate, and at no time have I ever had any


conversation with the Prime Minister that you in the room would


disapprove of. A dramatic day has wrapped up in


testimony in the News of the World phone hacking scandal. In the end


after all that detail and questioning, it all comes down to


one question, do you believe the Murdoch account? Absolutely shocked,


appalled and ashamed when I heard. Or not.


I'm joined now by the former News of the World Glenn Mulcaire, the


News of the World former politic - Mr McMullen, and one of the members


of the committee who questioned the Murdochs today, Louise Mensch.


First of all, were you frustrated that a lot of the answers to the


questions were, "I have no knowledge of that", "I don't know


what was going on there"? thrust of my questions at the end


of the session, after the pie- throwing incident, was to ask the


Murdochs if they didn't know, why didn't they know. That was the


overarching question that came out of the session. They were clear


they didn't know, they hadn't been informed, it seemed strange to me


as I asked them, that Mr Murdoch senior had not been informed about


such serious wrongdoing at one of his papers. It seemed Tobruk a


failure of corporate governance at - to be a failure of corporate


governance at News Corp. Was it a failure of governance or did you


believe them? I challenged the Murdochs earlier on Newsnight that


it would do them good to come before the committee and answer


questions in depth, I found their answers mostly convincing w a


couple of exceptions. The idea was floated to us that they wouldn't


have noticed News of the World because it is such a tiny part of


their media operation, that didn't seem credible t may be small in


monetary terms, but as we have seen it is huge in reputational terms.


That didn't strike me as credible. You put directly to Rupert Murdoch


if he took responsibility for this, he said, no, do you accept that?


put it to him that he ultimately is the head of the global company, and


this happened on his watch, and if other people have considered their


positions and resigned, would he consider his position and resign,


that was a question that had to be asked of him. And his answer was


that he had been too far above it to notice it, he delegated it down,


and he could fix the problem. I did challenge the Murdochs, both Rupert


and James Murdoch to institute massive review in their newsrooms


and properties around the world and they said they would do so. He also


said it was down to people that he trusted, and People Like Us they


trusted, who are these people, you didn't drill down into that? This


is the subject of a judicial and police investigation, when the


questions were crafted from committees, we had the speaker from


the hoims, and others from the House of Commons posed to Mrs


Brooks, we had on a number of questions, not on too many, James


Murdoch would say he couldn't answer it because of the police


investigation, we were advised by counsel that we couldn't press


further because of the police investigation. Did you broadly


believe what you heard today? from Rupert, but not from anybody


else. I was disappointed, possibly with the exception of yourself,


with the quality of the question, they let them get away with, well,


just a lot of nonsense, from I thought Rebekah Brooks. Like what?


I was disappointed by James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, they are still


blaming us, they are still blaming the reporters. We did these things


for them, we went to the nth degree to get a story. The culture under


Rebekah Brooks was you will do anything to get that story. I


remember she said to me, I like McMullan, because he would turn


over his own grandmother. That was the idea, that was the ethos, you


will, where the biggest English language newspaper in the world,


and we will remain that by having the best and most ruthless and


dedicated reporters. So when they kept saying things like it is


people they trusted, maybe people they trusted? He meant Rebekah


Brooks probably. What did you think of it? I must take Paul on here, I


have worked in executive roles in a number of newspaper, and I have got


that pressure. I have had that steely look from the editor on a


Thursday morning, what have we got, what we will put on page one, or


two, three, four, five, six and seven, this list is rubbish, what


will we do it. I don't go out and break the law, we try to get it by


proper endeavour and old fashioned journalism, that is what we do.


What we saw today, if Paul is saying here that he has been told


by Rebekah Brooks to hack a phone, you know, say it. It was a bit more


subtle, certainly, as we know, there were two whistle-blowers in


this, one is now dead, amazingly and tragically, I was the other one,


so it could be worse, I'm still here, but no, it was more coded


language. When there was a big story breaking and it was getting


towards Friday, and you really had to bring it in, Rebekah Brooks


would either use the phrase "you must make it work ". There you are,


use any means possible? Nobody has ever said that to me. They say


there is a story you have to make a story by getting the facts, going


out and meeting contacts. From the horse's mouth on the answer phone.


It never crossed my mind, those thrown out of work because of


things people like you have done, and be smerpblged the name of a


good paper. You - You work in the lobby, it is a different world.


have been a news reporter as well. It is different pressures than the


world he has been in? I have been a news editor, running a team. Let me


bring in Tina Brown, you are an editor, one of the questions where


they did seem to get traction today was following the money. What we


did find out was the legal fees of Mulcaire and Goodman were part paid


by News International, do you think this should be followed up, because


somebody somewhere must have signed off the cash somewhere? One of the


most humorous things I found was neither of them had any knowledge


of who it was that directed these cheques to be signed. Which just


didn't seem credible to me. It is the most evil-smelling aspect of


this case that smulsmul, the hackers continued to have their -


Mulcaire, the hackers, continued to have their legal fees paid, after


doing something they claimed to be so abhorrent. It was Mulcaire


hacking into the phone of Milly Dowler. On the one hand they are


saying it is abhorrent, but on the other hand they are paying his


legal fees still, that seemed to be the most rich area of obvious


weakness in their case. What about the general principle of I didn't


know, didn't ask, I wasn't told, it was a small part of my business?


is odd to me, obviously Rupert is right he has an enormous company.


15 2,000. I do think he used to be far more involved in the British


papers than today, in the past very much involved, now, he's far more


engrossed in the American aspect of his company, it is where he lives


and socialises, it is where his wife is involved, and his biggest


business interests are, at the same time, he does remain very


interested in stories, it is the fun part, in a sense, of his life.


When he, I think Philip Davies said, what do you say when you call the


News of the World editor, he said yes he called him on Saturday night


and I would ask what's doing, have you a good story for tomorrow. The


truth is the next question he would normally ask is how did you get it.


Because Rupert is actually interested in the process of


journalism. To me it doesn't ring true that he would was - that he


was such a disinterested Monarch. He's interested in stories, how


they are got, who they are doing over, and what is the method, he's


interested in that kind of stuff, that surprised me. One further


thought, in terms of how this will go down on Wall Street, how this


will go down in confidence in his kblt to steer the Murdoch empire in


the future, what do you make of that? It is all down to the foreign,


the Corruption Act, the foreign practices Corruption Act that is


the thing in play. If anyone can show that the News of the World


hacked into an American citizen on American soil, they were very


slippery on the 9/11 question, did anyone hack into the 9/11 victim, I


didn't think James was as solid in his answer as I would have thought


he would be, that would be a big problem if proven. I think Rupert


will hang on to his company, not sure what will happen to James. In


this story the shoes keep dropping, something incredible could happen


tomorrow. As shore shoe here, everybody seems to agree - another


shoe here, everybody seems to think Rupert has news in his veins, it is


inconceivable he would not ask questions? A lot of newspapers is


delegating. I don't report to my editor where I get my stories from,


the editor wouldn't talk up to him on how he's managing the paper, it


just difs him the broad brush stuff. - Gives him the broad brush stuff.


Rupert Murdoch was the only one that defended journalism, saying it


made society better. I thought he would say sometimes it is justified


to hack into a corrupt MP's phone, and just talking to the common man,


I always ask the taxi driver on the way in, he said it was outrageous


that our boys are being sent home in body bags from Afghanistan and


we still have politicians with their trousers round their ankles,


you should carry on hacking into their phones. I take it you don't


agree? I don't think the public expect a policeman to be bribed. I


don't think anyone thinks the law should be broken on account of


these, most of the time, pretty frivolous hackings. Just to mention,


were you kind of disappointed you didn't get to the bottom of it?


got all the answers we were going to get given there is a judicial


inquiry, and in the case of Rebekah Brooks an on going active police


investigation. I think we exposed what needed to be exposed, the on


going payments of legal fees to Glenn Mulcaire and asked the


questions people wanted to hear, have you hacked the 9/11 phones,


have you considered resigning, these questions were put directly


to the owners of News Corp. That, I think, was extremely important.


What interested me was the way Mr Murdoch said "we have a free


society", he was referring, although he's technically an


American, he was referring to Britain, when he contrasted us to


the United States, he said we are society in contrast to the American


society, of which he is a citizen. So I think he take as lively


interest, it may be one of the reasons he agreed to testify to


parliament today. As usual with this story, it was


multidimensional, beyond the Murdochs and the former News of the


World editor, Rebekah Brooks, we also heard from Sir John Stevens,


on what was probably his last day as chief of the Metropolitan Police.


Another strand to the web of relationships between the former


News of the World journalists and people in power, the Conservative


Party confirmed that the PR adviser to Sir Paul, Neil Wallis, was on


informal advisor to David Cameron's chief, Andy Coulson, before the


last election. We unpick the police We heard today from three key


police witnesses, commissioner Sir John Stevens who resigned at the


weekend. Dick Fedorcio head of the media department, and Assistant


Commissioner, John Yates, who resigned yesterday. All three are


being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints


Commisssion. Making sense of the tens of thousands of words of


evidence made today, requires an understanding of the kind of


hypothesis being pursued by MPs. It runs something like this, News of


the World journalists were paying corrupt police officers for


information, and their bosses at News of the World knew all about it


and helped cover it up. Police officers themselves were in awe of


their relationships with News of the World executives and this


coloured their judgment and led them to pull their punches on the


investigation, effectively letting the Murdoch empire off the hook.


That's the can conspiracy theory, but to what extent did evidence


heard today support those ideas? Much of the controversy today


concerns the Met's relationship with this man, Neil Wallis, former


News of the World deputy editor. After leaving News of the World, Mr


Wallis set up a freelance PR business, and was taken on by the


Metropolitan Police as an advisor, he was paid �1,000 a day for 24


days work, by the Department of Public affairs, or the DPA, over to


the commissioner. Mr Lisence Luis was never employed to be my


personal a- Mr Wallis was never employed to be my personal


assistant or give personal advice to me. He was employed to provide


advice to the head of the DPA, you will see later on, through that he


would give me occasional advice. A very part-time minor role.


Wallis was also advising the luxury Champneys Health Spa, the


commissioner accepted thousands of pounds of free hospitality there


while recuperating from an operation, he says it has been


declared but not registered yet. When I heard Mr Wallis was


connected with Champneys, that was a difficult story, it was


unfortunate for me, I had no knowledge previously. That,


together with everything else, I thought this will be a significant


story, it will continue. committee member found it


incredible that no-one had told the commissioner that Mr Wallis was


also working for Champneys? only way we would know that is if


Mr Wallis had declared it to someone. I had no way of knowing he


was connected to Champneys. With 45 press officers already in the Met,


why did they need an ex-hack from News of the World to help them any


way. Who recommended Mr Wallis to you, you say you had a


recommendation before you took him on? I was trying to think, in mid-


August I discovered that he was now working independently. Was it


someone from the News of the World, or News International? I honestly


can't recall who said it. You can't recall, despite the scrutiny on


this matter, and despite having given it careful consideration, you


can't recall who suggested that you hire Mr Wallis, was it Rebekah


Brooks? Certainly not. You needed an extra consultant, were you


consulted before he was appointed. I was, just let me say, with the


benefit of what we know now, I'm happy to put on the record, I


regret the contract, clearly, it is embarrassing. You knew Mr Yates was


a personal friend of Mr Wallis. But you still relied on Mr Yates to


give you the all-clear to employ Mr Wallis? I accept the integrity of


Mr Yates, he's a senior officer in the organisation. What about your


integrity as someone who needs to show due diligence in signing off


this contract. John Yates said he only sought personal assurances and


denied this amounted to the kind of detailed checks the committee said


the head of media had suggested. think that slightly overegging the


pudding. To put it mildly. I did what I considered, and it wasn't


due diligence in the due diligence sense. I sought assurances off Mr


Wallis, before the contract was let, to the effect. I have a note, I can


read from it if you like. Is there anything in the matters that Nick


Davies is still chasing and reporting on, that could at any


stage embarrass you Mr Wallis, the commissioner and the head of the


Metropolitan Police, I received catagoric assurances that was the


case. The most dramatic moment was when John Yates revealed he had


offered to brief the Prime Minister on hacking but was told not to go


ahead by an official? The official was the Chief-of-Staff.


The Government released a statement tonight confirming that the cabinet


secretary had seen the exchange of e-mails and believed that the


Chief-of-Staff acted entirely properly, so the verdict from today,


well the grand conspiracy theory is certainly not proven, but there was


evidence which revealed some highly questionable judgment calls made by


some of the most senior officers in the police. And ultimately, that's


why they had to go. I'm joined by Newsnight's political


editor, Michael Cirk, what did we learn today? After goodness knows


how many hours of testimony on two different committees, not a huge


amount. It was high and memorable drama. A huge day for the select


committee, the stand out image is that of a two - of the two Murdochs,


and Rupert Murdoch came across as faltering and forgetful, he was the


absent-minded grandfather in the corner. James performed, in the


circumstances, rather well, I think this is probably, symbolising the


shift of shower within that organisation. It was also


interesting that they relied very little on their lawyers and the


fact that there was Anam going police investigation. David Cameron


is - There was an on going police investigation. David Cameron will


be in the Commons tomorrow, what does he need to do to get a grip on


it? It is a big day, he's flying back from Africa, he has to make


three speeches tomorrow. First of all he's doing a statement to the


Commons, in that statement he will be giving some of the names on the


judicial inquiry, and some of the more details of the remit of the


inquiry. He's then got to make a speech opening the debate, and then


making a speech to the 1922 Committee, who are a bit annoyed


that he seems to have snubbed them over the last few days. He has been


busily doing drafts of the speech on the plane back from Nigeria.


Interestingly, also, on the plane back from Nigeria, Mr Cameron's


aides were drawing attention to the evidence from Rebekah Brooks in her


testimony today, that it wasn't her idea that Andy Coulson should go


and work in Downing Street, but it was George Osborne's idea.


Interesting that David Cameron's aide should draw attention to that.


But but I think David Cameron's biggest problem at the moment is he


hasn't a huge amount of support from his party at the moment,


either from backbenchers or members of the cabinet. How many have come


out backing them. Boris Johnson today came out more strongly. The


whips have been doing quite an operation tonight to try to


persuade people to talk in tomorrow's debate. It is a struggle


because a lot of MPs have gone on their holidays already. What is the


significance between the e-mails between Ed Llewellyn and ACC John


Yates? That is a potential problem for David Cameron. The Downing


Street line is this shows our integrity, we didn't want to be


briefed by John Yates, we didn't want to be accused of interfering


in the police operation. On the other hand, Yvette Cooper,ed shadow


Home Secretary, says this is deeply troubling, this is the second


incidence of Ed Llewellyn blocking information from being passed to


David Cameron about this affair. But Ed Llewellyn was backed by Andy


Hayman, the permanent secretary in Number Ten, and tonight he's backed


by the cabinet secretary, Gus O'Donnell. Just on that point, why


is it important to keep the Prime Minister in ignorance? It is not


keeping him in ignorance, it is making sure that nothing


inappropriate happens. That he doesn't know things? Ed Llewellyn


had to make a judgment koul, there was a police operation going on,


John Yates said do you want me to discuss the language, if there is a


police investigation going on, politicians shouldn't be involved


in can he tail. Ed Llewellyn had a judgment call to make and he got it


absolutely right. Excuse me, why is it then that the Chief-of-Staff to


the Prime Minister writes in such coded terms, "on the other matters


that have caught your attention, assuming we are thinking of the


same thing, don't tell the Prime Minister" what's that all about?


That is what John Yates said. In fact, you cut what the actually, if


you read the full e-mail, John Yates was coming in to brief the


Prime Minister about a very, very important skurtd issue, that was


the main point. He then said do you want me to talk about these other


things. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, why did they talk like that?


Llewellyn said no, it wouldn't aib proper rate. Why is it in code?


They both knew what they were talking about. Assuming we are


thinking of the same thing, it was a code, nudge and a wink, they felt


there was something wrong here, it fails the Prime Minister's own


smell test? No it doesn't. What it does is Ed Llewellyn making it


clear that to have a conversation with a police officer about the


details or nuances as John Yates put it, of an operational matter,


it would not be appropriate for politicians to get involved. That


was one of the basic principles, that when a police investigation is


going on the police should control it. It is not plausible? As someone


arrested in my time, it is a distinction that politicians


shouldn't interfere in police investigations. Is Has that changed


your view being arrested and exonerated? I'm not an uncritical


admirer of those who used to run the Met. One of the more serious


thing, other than the media, which is in serious crisis is making sure


we get the Met back on an even keel. That is really important for all of


us. Do you think it was appropriate for Neil Wallis to advise Andy


Coulson, while Mr Coulson worked for David Cameron? I don't know


what an informal advisor is, I know the Conservative Party didn't pay


money to Mr Wallis, didn't employ him, didn't have him on a contract,


or a consultant. So if he phoned Coulson up, he phoned Andy Coulson


up, nobody else senior in the campaign had any knowledge that Mr


Wallis was involved at all. It is a symptom, isn't it, of the cosy


relationships that were going on by two people who fell under


suspicious, and both of whom have been arrested? But what it doesn't


prove is anything about the Conservative Party, the


Conservative Party didn't have Mr Wallis. It talk about the judgment


of people talking the judgments recorded in the Metropolitan Police,


that Wallis was an appropriate person to employ, and Andy Coulson


was an appropriate person to employ. There is a difference that


obviously the Metropolitan Police are investigating Mr Wallis,


therefore, it was clearly inappropriate to have him on the


payroll, where Andy Coulson's case is completely different. He gave


the Prime Minister assurances he did nothing wrong, he repeated them


in court and to a select committee. It is not unreasonable for the


Prime Minister to believe those assurances. It was George Osborne's


idea and a great idea? That is known for some time. Andy Coulson


did a great job in his time as press officer. And George Osborne


deserves all the credit for the God thaing that Coulson has done?


Coulson did a good job working for David Cameron. We will find out,


and there is a police investigation going on, what happened over phone


hacking. Who else's phone has been hacked, has the Prime Minister's


phone been hacked? I don't know, all this was happening years ago,


and the previous Government did nothing about it. What is happening


now is we have not only got a police investigation, but a judge-


led inquiry into the way newspapers operate. As they sieve through the


numbers you must figure that out? I'm a politician I don't get


involved in individual police operations, this is the very strong


principle, if the police are conducting a criminal investigation,


they should do that properly on their own. They should not be


interfered with at every stage by politicians, that is the basic


correct decision that Ed Llewellyn took. Thank you very much.


Now the event itself, the sight of two of the most powerful men in the


world, and one of the most powerful women, answering questions about


the world's most powerful media empire was not something we would


see in Britain often. As a piece of theatre, it might have reminded


people of the Watergate scandal and even the Lewinsky affair. We


analyse the impact of what we saw Summer, festivals, show time, the


smell of the grease paint and the roar of the burgers, think about it.


But if you are a Newsnight viewer, and let as say you are, hanging


about in the chillout tent, to catch some of the original line-up


of the Inpiral Carpets, doesn't cut it. The season had little to match


the prospect of Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks appearing before the


committee. In the long hot summer we are having, today's


parliamentary session promised to be like a rock festival. Like a


parliamentary session cranked up to But did the line-up live up to all


the hype, how did it shape up as an event what did it tell us, if


anything b the state of our institutions? First question, did


it cut it as drama? Rupert Murdoch is a bit like King Lear, he has


hived off his kingdom to other people, and is rather surprised by


how that has turned out. The tension between James Murdoch and


Elizabeth Murdoch is one of the stories, another is the sense in


which Rebekah Brooks is a kind of surrogate daughter for Murdoch, you


have the three children, like in King Lear, and the slightly


unexpected fishering that comes about as a result of that.


claimed in the Wall Street Journal that Harbottle & Lewis had made a


major mistake, can I ask what mistake you were referring to?


of the things about courtroom drama is there is always an unexpected


hero, a quiet man, in this incidence it was Tom Watson. One of


the other features was the long pauses, pauses in theeure tend to


be associated with Chekhov, and Harold Pointer, these pauses were


self-indulgent and even beyond that point. Extraordinary we wills of


silence. We spoke to a lawyer that worked for Robert Maxwell's sons


who faced MPs in the 1990s, what moment stood out for him today?


me the most electrifying moment would be James trying to explain


why the company was paying Mulcaire's legal fees, and having


to wriggle on the situation that clearly it has been paying his fees


up until recently, and trying to find some rational for justifying


it and failing miserably in that way. I do know that certain legal


fees were paid for Mr Mulcaire by the company and I was as surprised


and shocked to learn that as you are. That was the one moment when


he was really down, other than that they didn't land any real punches


on him. Was Rupert Murdoch's appearance calculated to garner


sympathy. Mr Blair visited you half way around the world. He what?


visited you half way around the world. Before the 1997 election?


That was something Mr Cameron or Campbell arranged. It would be a


strategy to go to Rupert Murdoch, the most powerful mogul in the


world, and say we think you should come across as a shambling, falters,


semi-deaf old geezer? I think the idea of portraying him as a


Simpson-like Mr Burns character, would be a job too far.


wouldn't like to sell that to him? I certainly wouldn't walk into the


room and say hi, I have great strategy here, we will send you in


like some dithering old fool and fumbling around the crisis is.


is just the way he is, perhaps then? If this has shown us one


thing, it has shone a light on to the McKiss Mo of that - machismo of


this organisation, that isn't as forceful as you would have thought


it was. The shares rose today, for many days, and recently, the News


Corp shares have suffered a discount, because people felt that


Rupert Murdoch was past his best. If he left, then the shares could


rise even further. As with every festival there is the


sobering feeling that the party is over, but the cleaning may take a


while yet. Joining us now from New York is


Carl Bernstein who with Bob Woodward broke the story of


Watergate. The former chairman of the BBC and ITV, Will Self, writer,


and TV producer Daisy Goodwin, who also writes for the Times, first


Earl Spencer, the brother of Princess Diana, and giving his


first interview on the phone hacking scandal. You had some hopes


on press reform going back a long time, any hope today? I had no high


hopes today, I thought they would be briefed well enough to get


through the questions from, frankly, hampered inquisitors, because they


are dealing against the backdrop of a legal inquiry and other things.


Not many punches were landed, I don't think any great progress was


made. Did you feel at least it was a big moment, did you feel things


were changing? I hope so, I'm an optimist, and I think if they don't


change on the back of what has been happening in the last few weeks, so


we get a more accountable and summonsable press, and one not


capable of being accused of corruption and criminal acts, non-


when we are. What has been, over the years, the affect on you and


your family? Pretty massive, I'm not here to whinge at all. I have


chose to live abroad with my young children to get away from tabloid


intrusion, this is much more a case not about people like myself who


can move abroad, it is about people who may be rolled over by the press


unexpectedly in their lives. It is a Titanic force. I have the means


to take any action I want against newspapers or other media outlet


that is overstep the mark. I hope what comes out of this is not just


News International, but other groups resorting to the same


methods, which I know they have been. It is not just them, you are


sure about that? I'm sure there are other newspaper groups waiting for


the spotlight to move to them. I know that without a doubt. So so


the fact is we may be looking at the Murdochs being put before an


inquisition today, but my hope is that we can purge the whole system,


not control the press in way they can't do the responsible job of


proper journalism, such as the journalism which has unearthed what


is going on and brought us to this stage in this process, but which


can make the press accountable for their actions and less likely to


overstep the mark. But did you feel, when you were watching this today,


did you feel any sympathy at all for Rupert Murdoch? I always feel


sorry for man well past his prime, and who is obviously struggling at


times. I had to keep reminding myself this is a man who has


actually taken large swathes of the British media down a certain root


and has not, as a result, and done things that are not great. What do


you think of the implication for David Cameron on this, it touches


him in various ways too? I know very little about this, the


political side. But I imagine anyone who is touched by these


implications in a meaningful way will have a lot to answer for. What


is very exciting for me, as somebody sitting on the sidelines


and there has been been as an occasional tabloid punch bag. What


is exciting for me is everything gets it now. There has been a


guilty little secret among politicians and newspaper providers


and a lot of celebrities and others, that this goes on. Phone hacking


and worse, a purlioning of medical records and so on. It is only now


that it has become a major issues, because of the terrible hacking


into a dead girl's phone, Milly Dowler. These have taken it into a


different areana that, I hope we will all have a better press in ten


years time. How important is in moment for the British and Murdoch


organisation? I think this is a huge event in the history of the


west, particularly the English speaking world. What we saw today


is really evidence of the sad tale of what has happened to modern


Great Britain, and how one man has been able to capture the political


system, the media and the cops of a great nation, over a generation or


two. It is appalling. The one thing that the Earl is right about is


certainly that people are now on to what this is about, which is a


semi-criminal pre, at the bottom of, the sewer level, - press, at the


pot tomorrow, the sewer level of journalism. As opposed to decent


institutions in the British and American press. We are talking


about the sewer, and the terrible thing about this, is the British


public has lapped it up. Just as much as the American public has


lapped up this kind of tabloid journalism, perhaps not as extreme.


Other journalists have stood by and said this is perfectly fine, we


will understand, wink and laugh at it, then you realise this is a


terrible business and a whole country has been polluted by the


people that we saw up there today. Do you think, as it has been called


on Twitter, "hackgate", same as Watergate, is it really a moment of


change like that? For almost 40 years, I have winced every time the


Murdoch press has particularly appended a "gate" to anything else.


A few days ago I wrote a piece for the newspaper saying Murdoch's


Watergate speculation. Such as what are the similarities? First of all,


it is about the corruption an institution, just as Nixon


corrupted his White House, his administration, Murdoch has


corrupted the press under his watch, the low end of his empire. Now we


are looking for a smoking gun, just as we were in Watergate, we don't


need a smoking gun to know what kind of aura existed at News of the


World, and other publications. Also I think there is something that


this is not just about Murdoch's papers, as Murdoch went deeper into


the gutter, in terms of the lowest descending common denominator in


journalism, with his publications, others followed suit, just as they


did in this country, when the New York Post started to go down.


Let me put it to Will Self, do you see this as a Watergate moment, a


huge moment of change because it is so awful? I would like to believe


it is some kind of moment in change that way. I would certainly agree


with Carl, what this represents is a kind of corruption of the British


political system, and I thought one of the most telling things that


Murdoch said today was when he leaned over to the MPs facing him


and said Singapore, as far as he was concerned was the most open


society in the world, because every MP was on a million dollars. That


got a laugh from the assembled MPs. What I saw there was the arch


apostle of envy in our culture, that is the culture that Murdoch


has introduced. Everything flows from a more devisive society, and a


more envious culture. Even when Yates and Stephenson of the yard


were up there giving evidence to the home affairs committee, that


was about envy too. You have been involved in the big


media organisations, the Press Complaints Commission, do you share


any of this optimisim that Earl Spencer and Will Self was talking


about there? I think we have to remember the hard cases


investigated go back a few years, any journalist today knows that if


they start hacking or trying to get stories by criminal means they will


go to jail. The law of the land is stronger than any regulator can


possibly be. That alone is pretty salry. I didn't mean - All salutery.


I didn't mean to say I'm optimistic about where this is going and it is


going to reform politics in the English speaking world or


journalism in the English speaking world, I wish I had that optimisim.


David, as a big moment, did you think, some people tuning in today


in the hope of seeing some kind of hanging didn't they? This is the


story that keeps on giving, they did not get the hanging but they


did get the custard pie. That was an extraordinary moment. It


delivered wonderfully in TV terms, as a TV producer, I thought the


relationship between Rupert and James was fascinating, Wendi behind.


Rupert's pauses were extraordinary, Pointeresque. There was a moment


when he said, when Rupert Murdoch stuck up for investigative


journalism, I thought it was a wonderful irony, it is


investigative journalism on the part of Nick Davies and the


Guardian ended up with him sitting in front of the select committee.


Do you feel any sympathy for Rupert Murdoch today? As a woman and


person, yes I did. I have not met him, I have written for the Sunday


Times, I don't know if I can say I feel sympathy for him. I thought at


the beginning he looked confused, and he looked extremely


uncomfortable, I thought might be. I thought there was a moment where


I was watching it with a group of people in my office, and the


pendulum was swinging towards him. It is a very unusual experience for


Rupert Murdoch and the sire of the family to be accountable in that


public fashion. This is not a scenario Rupert Murdoch would be


used to. He's used to qutable to share holders, he has the votes so


just listens to them. The thing that would have got News Corp


completely out of the woods by now, if they had gripped this from the


beginning, as soon as the phone hacking incident came to light. If


they had called in independent investigators, forensic detectives


from the outside, and saying they know there is one case are there


any more. And they have done everything they can to dripfeed and


avoid the difficult questions. I don't agree, Murdoch's whole career


has been based, he started, his idea was he's a rank outsider and


anti-establishmentarium, he published Christine Keeler's


memoirs. He's the back stoor establishment, nonetheless he's the


establishment. His placeman is beside the Prime Minister's side,


another one beside the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, there


is a degree of solution in this story that is phenomenal, what is


the access here is around the BSkyB deal. In fact, that smelt to high


heaven. There is a Cinergy between that and the hacking issue - - the


synergy between that and the hacking issue.


Do you think those who invest or otherwise will be facted today?


think this - affected today? I think this will depend on popular


will. If ordinary people express themselves and say enough of this


kind of journalism, that will get through to the board of the


directors, that will get through to the British political establishment.


I think that's ultimately where it lies. I think one of the things we


ought to look at today, is one of the absolutely incredible things we


heard today is, that whatever conspiracy there was, it probably


goes on because the criminals are still being paid. They are still


receiving money from under a legal agreement in which they are bound


not to talk, and one of them wants to talk, apparently, and cannot.


This is an extraordinary thing. me bring in Earl Spencer again, as


the optimist on the panel, perhaps the only one. Why do you feel that


things are changing now, when they didn't after what you said at


Diana's funeral, that everybody remembers, you made similar points


then, about the hounding by the press? Yes, I think Carl Bernstein


is right there, in his minimal optimisim, you know, it is up to


the public to change. I don't know whether they have the appetite to


change. I think though there is a revulsion which I haven't seen for


14 years against the worst excesses of the tabloids. But actually, the


worst excesses of the tabloids have been some what neutered now. No


politician can provide the figleaf of respect bltd for it to continue.


No mainstream high level politician can be seen supping with the


Murdochs again. The great dilemma here, whilst there is public anti-


pathy towards Rupert Murdoch per se, they still love his products, the


News of the World was the best- selling newspaper this country, and


the Sun the best selling tabloid. Some how the public feel that they


don't like people wielding political influence, when they


haven't got any votes. Do you see, you referred to the


relationship he found interesting between father and son today. Do


you think this is the break-up of the great empire that the dynasty


will be not handed on in the way they thought? It is hard to saying,


every word Rupert said mattered. It seemed to me James Murdoch talked a


lot, I can't really remember what he said. I thought that was quite


an interesting thing. He said I didn't know that. He said often it


is a very good question, I'm glad you asked that. What about Rebekah


Brooks? Again I had sympathy for her. She's a woman under enormous


pressure. I think she has been maybe rightly vilified, but she has


certainly been vilified not just as an editor, but also a woman. If I


see another reference to her hair, which is magnificent, but it is


just hair, I feel there has been too much of that, and there has


been less talk about what she actually did as an editor. Do you


have any sympathy for her? depends if she has been made a fall


guy or whether she's responsible. Right now, I think the jury is open.


I'm withholding sympathy. Did you have any dealings with her? I did,


I had dealings with her when the front page of a Sun was inaccurate


and damaging, she was very helpful and offered no help or redress


whatsoever. That was her speciality. As a company, does News


International or News Corp need the Murdochs? As Carl pointed out, the


institutional sharehold remembers the people who will count on that,


we all know what the fault line is in the states. My impression is


that James, everybody is grasping for the Shakespearian analogy, is


he Cordelia or Reagan? My impression is that Rupert Murdoch


isn't all together happy with the idea of James's success, that is


what Rebekah was about, she was the surrogate in that way. I think you


are going to see the strong arm of corporate governance finally


imposed on News Corp and News International companies. The broad


structures are not compliant with best practice corporate governors.


We have to leave it there, we have run out of time completely.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 54 seconds


That's all from nice night tonight, we will leave you with


extraordinary pictures from a documentary shown on BBC One


earlier, of a scientist trying to get a lava sample from the volcanic


lake in the Great Rift Valley. We are not sure how they got a close-


up shot, but everyone lived to tell Good evening, parts of north-east


England and south-east Scotland will continue to see heavy rain


into the night and the morning. A wet day towards the far South-West.


Elsewhere a largely dry start, brightness here and there, but


plenty of cloud a few showers developing. For the north and


north-east of England, as well as the borders of Scotland, we will


continue with the thundery downpour, risk of flooding. Parts of Greater


Manchester, dry and bright. The south-east and southern counties,


after a reasonably bright start, we will see showers through the day.


Devon and Cornwall will turn dryer, as will parts of South Wales.


Brightness breaking towards the clouds towards western coasts and


across the north. The wind light, getting in the sunshine it will


feel warm. The breeze developing in Northern Ireland will make it


cooler, largely dry with some occasional sunshine. Into Scotland


western areas, dry and bright, more cloud further east, it is the


south-east where we will see the heaviest of the rain. To take us


from Wednesday into Thursday, we will see some heavy showers around,


not a huge amount of change to be honest. Further south a different


picture, we have the cloudy conditions on Wednesday, outbreaks


of rain, Thursday, though, a greater risk of some heavy and


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