Good morning one and all. Tired. Oh so tired. Stayed up last night to watch the inquiry into the News of the World phone hacking scandal and it was, umm, weird viewing to say the least. Like watching somebody sit a test you knew they were going to fail. Anyhow, catch up on the gist of it here:
It was a night of high drama and awkward scenes as both Rupert and James Murdoch appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport select committee of Parliament. Yup, awkward. James appeared like a school boy who had made a grave error, apologising repeatedly and in myriad ways. “What happened at the News of the World was wrong,” he said. Mr Murdoch senior said it was ‘the most humble day of my life’. But neither accepted ultimate responsibility.
Mr Murdoch senior said he had been betrayed by people he trusted. When asked if it were a financial decision to close the News of the World, he answered: “Far from it.” But his tone wavered considerably between what were obviously his scripted lines (I am sorry, this is a humble day) when he spoke spontaneously about the BSkyB bid and why it was abandoned. He spoke of many critics: “They caught us with dirty hands and built an hysteria around it.” Otherwise the inquiry was punctuated with a lot of ‘I do not knows’ and ‘I do not recalls’ and ‘not to my knowledge’. As if to round of a highly bizarre evening, comedian Johnnie Marbles lunged at Rupert Murdoch with a plate of shaving cream, screaming ‘you naughty billionaire’.
Rupert’s wife Wendi Deng leapt to protect him before falling over. As he was led away under arrest, Mr Marbles said: “As Mr Murdoch himself said, I’m afraid I cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation.” Rebekah Brooks was also questioned, again rescinding statements she made before parliament in 2003 that police had been paid for information in the past. Instead, she said, ‘in my experience, the information we get from police has always been free’. She said she was not, when she was editor of News of the World, responsible for payments that might have been made to private investigators or phone hackers but that was the remit of the managing editor.
Of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the fact her phone was hacked, Ms Brooks said: “The idea that Milly Dowler’s phone was accessed by someone being paid for by the News of the World, or worse being authorised by someone at the News of the World, is as abhorrent to me as it is to everyone else.” Here is a video of the pie incident. Wendi Deng is in the pink jacket:
An independent review of the BBC’s news coverage in Britain has found it was not biased. But the review also found where there was a widely held scientific consensus on issues such as Genetically Modified crops, vaccinations and climate change, the BBC should not give airtime to ‘critics of the scientific consensus’. Should we do the same here?
The former leader of South Africa, once jailed during his fight against apartheid, turned 93 this week. In what has become known as Mandela Day, July 18 became a day for good. The United Nations recognises it as a global call to volunteer for a good cause for 67 minutes – one minute for each year Mandela spent active in politics.
This. Is. Beautiful. And it’s quite the send-off for astronauts aboard NASA’s last shuttle mission, on Atlantis. The shuttle has now undocked from the International Space Station on its way back to Earth for the last time. Sadface.
Turns out pictures of boobs being bandied about among minors can land a young person in jail. For up to 10 years. The Australian Communications and Media Authority is asking teachers to remind students of the implications because it says not enough know. The images of minors are considered child pornography and anybody in possession of sexted images could be held to account. Just sayin’.
You might remember Rebecca Black as that YouTube sensation who came from nowhere with the song ‘Friday’ which was one of the most universally panned songs in music history. It was a video clip made by one of those production companies where parents hand over a few grand so their kid can sing for a bit and look professional. You can listen to it here Well, whatever you think of the song (I personally think it’s kind of catchy and cannot get it out of my head) it launched her career. This is her second song, for all those doubters …