What James and Rupert Murdoch Don’t Know


For much of the hacking-scandal hearings in British Parliament yesterday, it seemed like the most common words out of James and Rupert Murdoch’s mouths were I don’t know. Whether it was strategic dissembling, a hint of age-addled memory, or the simple byproduct of running such a massive media company, it was still a little surprising how frequently the Murdochs didn’t know the answer to the MPs’ questions. We went through a transcript to see just how many things the pair “didn’t know.”

1) Whether the individuals who gave the committee evidence in 2009 knew at that time what had been going on. —James
2) Who News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck was. —Rupert

3) That a judge had made clear that News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck had set out to blackmail two of the women involved in the case. —Rupert
4) Why the employees of his U.K. company wouldn’t bring the charge of blackmail, which can result in a fourteen-year prison sentence, to his attention. —Rupert
5) Who charged his executives of having collective amnesia, or that the charge was made. —Rupert
6) The date he knew for sure that to blame the hacking on “one rogue reporter” [Clive Goodman] was dishonest. —Rupert
7) If he’s ever met former NotW Irish-edition editor Alex Marunchak. —Rupert
8) Why he entered through the back door at No. 10 when he visited the Prime Minister following the last general election. —Rupert
9) Whether someone at the News of the World or Mr. Mulcaire took it on himself to hack 9/11 victims. —Rupert
10) The exact date he came back to work for the company. —James
11) If it’s possible to transfer cash or some other form of remuneration to people who do not invoice him or who are not employees of News Corp.’s subsidiaries. —James
12) If other forms of remuneration can be used in his company apart from cash and bank transfers, such as travelers checks, vouchers, and other things that can be redeemed for cash. —James
13) If he overpaid publicist Max Clifford. —James
14) Exactly how much he paid Professional Footballers’ Association CEO Gordon Taylor in a hacking settlement. —James [It was £700,000.]
15) Whether there was even a contract with Max Clifford, which Rupert said was canceled by NotW editor Andy Coulson. —James
16) What was in Max Clifford’s contract. —Rupert
17) Whether the NotW’s managing editor of 22 years, Stuart Kuttner, had resigned or was fired. —James [He resigned.]
18) What he meant when he told reporters his priority was Rebekah Brooks. —Rupert
19) The details of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire’s civil actions. —James
20) Why only Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Ian Edmondson, Clive Goodman, Neil Wallis, and Jules Stenson had been named in a letter from Lawrence Abramson, then senior partner of law firm Harbottle & Lewis, stating that nothing had come to light that contradicted that it had been a lone, rogue reporter working with Glenn Mulcaire. —James
21) The employment status of former News International HR director Daniel Cloke. —James
22) Whether NotW editor Colin Myler or News International legal manager Tom Crone was aware of particular evidence [of wrongdoing] in the hands of law firm Harbottle & Lewis. —James
23) The financial circumstances of Damian Collins or any other MP on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. —Rupert
24) What is going to happen in the future [regarding ongoing police investigations]. —James
25) If anyone is intentionally misleading him and the company. —James
26) Exactly how many millions it would take to require a settlement authorization from the full board of News Corp. —James
27) What’s in the Mulcaire diaries. —Rupert
28) How big a group it was that was involved with criminality. —Rupert
29) Whether the cash payments that were made by the News Corporation companies to informants for stories were registered with the appropriate tax authorities. —Rupert
30) Why his company hasn’t disclosed internal e-mails that may aid the appeal of Tommy Sheridan, the former Scottish Parliament member who is currently in prison. —James
31) Whether any News Corporation company is the subject of an investigation by the Financial Services Authority. —James
32) Whether the settlements were paid by News International, by News Corp. or by News Group Newspapers. —James
33) Which law firm advised Tom Crone and Colin Myler to settle the Gordon Taylor hacking claim. —James
34) Why Tom Crone was asked to leave News Group Newspapers after 26 years of service. —James
35) If News International paid Clive Goodman’s legal fees for his trial in 2007, or who signed off those payments. —James
36) If it’s true that Jude Law’s phone was hacked on U.S. soil. —James
37) Why Rebekah Brooks, when speaking to staff to announce the closure of News of the World, said that in a year’s time they might understand why the paper had to close, or what the significance of the particular period of time is. —James
38) Whether his son or Rebekah Brooks informed him of the Harbottle & Lewis findings at News International. —Rupert