Murdoch Hacking Scandal: 'Catalogue of Failures'

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Bank said that even a simple perception that senior management was unaware of any such activity could help keep the issue contained to the United Kingdom, causing American regulators to focus less on hacking.

"I don't think we really learned much today, but that Rupert insists he is both hands on and deeply ignorant of things at his company," Simon Dumenco, media columnist at Advertising Age, said.

The hearing continued after a brief pause, with Rupert Murdoch not wearing his suit jacket and only a handful of spectators allowed in the room. The BBC reported that the alleged attacker was identified as Jonnie Marbles, who calls himself an activist and comedian. Marbles may have self-incriminated himself by tweeting minutes before the attack: It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat

"Mr. Murdoch, your wife has a very good left hook," Tom Watson, member of Parliament, said near the end of the Murdochs' questioning.

Dumenco said the pie, reportedly shaving cream in a tin-foil pan, actually helped the Murdochs' public image.

"My reaction is the pie throwing incident was a total gift to the Murdochs," Dumenco said. "It becomes the visual that everyone focuses on. It steals attention away from essentially empty answers from James in a verbose form, and all–defiant, know-nothing answers from Rupert."

After the committee dismissed the Murdochs, former News of the World editor and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks sat down to answer questions.

The committee told Brooks, who was arrested last week, it would be careful with its probing because she is participating in a criminal investigation. She insisted that she did not know about the extent of the phone hacking.

"We had been told by people at News of the World at the time -- they consistently denied any of these allegations in various internal investigations," she said.

She told the committee she acted "quickly and decisively" in dealing with the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World once she had seen fresh evidence regarding actress Sienna Miller in December 2010.

She also denied reports that she had an overly influential relationship with the current and previous prime ministers.

"I have never been horse riding with the prime minister," she said in response to various news reports about her close relationship with Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron hired a previous News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World who was arrested earlier this month, as communications director in 2007.

Brooks said she "regularly" visited former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at Downing Street around six times a year.

Earlier, Rupert Murdoch told the British Parliament committee that he wasn't responsible for the scandal that has embroiled his media empire.

"Mr. Murdoch, do you accept you are ultimately responsible for this whole fiasco?" asked Jim Sheridan, a member of Parliament.

"No," replied Murdoch, explaining that those he hired and trusted and the people who they hired and trusted were responsible. He mentioned Les Hinton, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, who resigned Friday. Hinton and Murdoch have worked together for 52 years, including while Hinton was chief executive of News International, Murdoch's British newspaper publisher.

"I would trust him with my life," Murdoch said of Hinton.

Faces of the Murdoch Scandal

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