The strangest moment of the British parliamentary hearing into the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal today had to be Wendi Murdoch — that's her in pink, above — swinging at a protester (activist Jonathan May Bowles) who hurled a (shaving?) cream pie at her husband Rupert before he was hauled away.
The second strangest moment: CNN host Piers Morgan's virtual testimony on Twitter, where he defended Wendi and then himself, responding (on Twitter and then on-air) to allegations that he was involved in phone-hacking while running the now-shuttered News of the World.
Despite both James and Rupert Murdoch apologizing and disavowing direct knowledge of phone-hacking incidents during the hearings, the court of public opinion that is Twitter wasn't buying it, with the #hackgate and #notw hashtags both in heavy use (with various degrees of skepticism attached) during the proceedings.
Sir Rupert started with, "This is the most humble day of my life," but then told his inquisitors he was not responsible, ultimately, for the scandal that now threatens his entire empire. "The people I trusted and the people they trusted," should take the blame he said. "Perhaps I lost sight…I may have been lax for not asking more."
Asked if he would resign, he said no, as he is "the best person to clean this up." He also read a brief statement.
Murdoch loyalist and former News Corp. executive Rebekah Brooks, who oversaw News of the World before being promoted to CEO of News International, describing the phone hacking in the case of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler as "horrific and abhorrent" during her testimony, but also shirked responsibility, asserting, "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."
Asked if she had been lied to by senior employees at NOTW, Brooks replied, "Unfortunately, because of the criminal procedure, I'm not sure that it's possible to infer guilt until those criminal procedures have taken place."
Another telling comment on the strife rocking the News Corp. media empire these days — in the wake of the trio's testimony today, News Corp.'s independent directors hired their own legal counsel.