11:55 A.M. EST – HEARINGS SUSPENDED FOR 10 MINUTES… as someone seems to have lunged at Rupert Murdoch, though it’s not clear what happened. The Guardian reports Murdoch’s wife Wendy seemed to slap him away before man in checked shirt could reach her husband. Johnny Marbles tweeted his “attack.” Pictures of failed pie attack.
5.01pm: Jane Martinson reports from the hearing: “He was sitting four rows back, calmly walked up with a plate of shaving foam – smacked it in Rupert’s face – Wendi intervened.”
4.57pm: The suspect looks like he has a substance like white paint on his face.
My colleague Jackie Ashley tells Twitter: “Wendi [Murdoch's wife] can throw quite a punch.”
4.56pm: The BBC says the young man has been handcuffed. Sky showed the footage again – it seemed to be an attack from Rupert Murdoch’s left.
4.55pm: A young man in a checked shirt has been detained by police.
4.54pm: Someone has just tried to attack Rupert Murdoch. His wife Wendi seemed to slap the person.
More updates (original column) below…
“This is the most humble day of my life.” – Rupert Murdoch
The hearings begin with Rupert Murdoch & his son James Murdoch asking to make opening statement, but were denied. Guardian has statement of Rupert Murdoch:
Mr. Chairman. Select Committee Members:
With your permission, I would like to read a short statement.
My son and I have come here with great respect for all of you, for Parliament and for the people of Britain whom you represent.
This is the most humble day of my career.
After all that has happened, I know we need to be here today.
Before going further, James and I would like to say how sorry we are for what has happened – especially with regard to listening to the voicemail of victims of crime.
My company has 52,000 employees. I have led it for 57 years and I have made my share of mistakes. I have lived in many countries, employed thousands of honest and hardworking journalists, owned nearly 200 newspapers and followed countless stories about people and families around the world.
At no time do I remember being as sickened as when I heard what the Dowler family had to endure – nor do I recall being as angry as when I was told that the News of the World could have compounded their distress. I want to thank the Dowlers for graciously giving me the opportunity to apologise in person.
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 invasions into their lives.
I fully understand their ire. And I intend to work tirelessly to merit their forgiveness.
I understand our responsibility to cooperate with today’s session as well as with future inquiries. We will respond to your questions to the best of our ability and follow up if we are not capable of answering anything today. Please remember that some facts and information are still being uncovered.
We now know that things went badly wrong at the News of the World. For a newspaper that held others to account, it failed when it came to itself. The behaviour that occurred went against everything that I stand for. It not only betrayed our readers and me, but also the many thousands of magnificent professionals in our other divisions around the world.
So, let me be clear in saying: invading people’s privacy by listening to their voicemail is wrong. Paying police officers for information is wrong. They are inconsistent with our codes of conduct and neither has any place, in any part of the company I run.
But saying sorry is not enough. Things must be put right. No excuses. This is why News International is cooperating fully with the police whose job it is to see that justice is done. It is our duty not to prejudice the outcome of the legal process. I am sure the committee will understand this.
I wish we had managed to see and fully solve these problems earlier. When two men were sent to prison in 2007, I thought this matter had been settled. The police ended their investigations and I was told that News International conducted an internal review. I am confident that when James later rejoined News Corporation he thought the case was closed too. These are subjects you will no doubt wish to explore today.
This country has given me, our companies and our employees many opportunities. I am grateful for them. I hope our contribution to Britain will one day also be recognised.
Above all, I hope that, through the process that is beginning with your questions today, we will come to understand the wrongs of the past, prevent them from happening again and, in the years ahead, restore the nation’s trust in our company and in all British journalism.
I am committed to doing everything in my power to make this happen.
Thank you. We are happy to answer your questions.
Submitted statement instead. Clearing room of noisy reporters or people, hard to tell which, came next. Testimony is being heard by the Committee for Culture, Media and Sport.
James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive, apologizes again.
Then he was interrupted by his father, Rupert Murdoch, who touched his arm and offered the quote shown at the top of this post.
The questions and testimony continues… The Lede is liveblogging the testimony…
Rupert Murdoch states he didn’t know he was being lied to. Murdoch obviously shaken, says “NOTW is less than 1% of our company.. I employ 56,000 people around the world… and I’m spread watching and appointing people that I trust…”
James Murdoch tries twice to interrupt Tom Watson’s questioning of his father, saying he can offer details, but Mr. Watson says he’ll come to him after he finishes, because it’s Rupert Murdoch who’s in charge of corporate governance.
“Nope.” That’s Mr. Murdoch’s one-word response about payments to Taylor. James says his father became aware after the “settlement” of “civil claim.”
At what point did you find out that “criminality was endemic” at NOTW? Mr. Murdoch objects to word “endemic,” saying it is prejudicial. Then says he was “shocked, appalled and ashamed…”
“You’re not really saying ‘amnesia,’ you’re saying lie,” Rupert Murdoch offers.
James Murdoch interrupts again to rescue his father from the line of questioning. Watson refuses again. Continues… James interrupts, trying again to answer what his father obviously cannot or will not.
Why did you risk the jobs of 200 people… ? RupertM states these people are being employed by other segments of his empire.
Watson: Did you close the paper down because of criminality? “We were ashamed… We had broken our trust with our readers…”
Keith Olbermann points out what is very obvious, which is that Rupert Murdoch has a script of patterned apologies he is using.
“What happened at News of the World was wrong,” James Murdoch continues. “We have admitted liability…”
Do you accept you are responsible for this whole fiasco? “No,” is Rupert Murdoch’s one word answer. Mr. Murdoch continued, saying he relied on people he employed and trusted.
I found this observation from BBC’s Nick Robinson poignant, while revealing how small Rupert Murdoch appears today.
It is hard to equate the man sitting a few feet away from me with the global media mogul feared by political leaders throughout my adult lifetime.
James Murdoch: No “no immediate plans” to start new Sunday paper.
Are you familiar with the term “willful blindness”? James Murdoch asks for an explanation. Then Mr. Sanders invokes Enron. “I’m not aware of that particular phrase,” says James. RMurdoch adds that he’s familiar with the phrase and denies it applies.
“To say that we are hands off is wrong,” RMurdoch states. “News of the World, perhaps, I lost site of…” Murdoch continues, saying he works 10-12 hours a day and once again saying NOTW was “so small.”
James Murdoch also admits settlement was for illegal phone hacking by News of the World employees.
Later in the testimony James Murdoch delivered Rumsfeldesque known knowns & unknown unknowables on alleged criminality. Classic Murdoch moment of obfuscation and incomprehensible elite media idiocy.
AFTER FAILED PIE ATTACK… allegedly made by Jonnie Marbles, a comedian…
Tide turns for a time… MP now apologizing to Murdochs, including wife Wendy, one using word “guts” to describe her willingness to be present during questioning. Rupert Murdoch now jacketless.
Have you considered resigning? Murdoch, “No.” Why not? People I hired let me down, they should pay. I’m the best person to clean this up.
“Mr. Murdoch, your wife has a very good left hook.”
Rupert Murdoch allowed to read closing statement. “… In all that’s happened, we needed to be here today. … “ “Sickened” by what the Dowler Fowler had to endure and grateful he was able to apologize in person. Will “work tirelessly to earn their forgiveness.” Murdoch says while trying to hold others to account, they failed on themselves. Paying off police and listening to people’s voicemail is “wrong,” “no excuses,” saying your sorry “isn’t enough.” When people went to prison in 2007, Murdoch thought it was over, as did his son. “I hope our contributions to Britain will one day be recognized.”
Committee thanks the Murdochs, apologizes for the comedic pie event.
Rebekah Brooks testifies next.