For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is under fire from all directions.
At the last count these included: phone hacking at the News of the World, seeking to suborn plurality in the British media by buying the 61 per cent of pay-TV operator BSkyB it doesn’t currently own, cosying up to British PM David Cameron over Asda turkey legs at Rebekah Brooks’ house at Christmas and employing Richard Keys and Andy Gray on Sky Sports who are in the soup for making disobliging remarks about a female football linesperson.
A tape from notorious whistle-blower Wikileaks has come into our hands which purports to be an account of a discussion between Rupert Murdoch and his UK executives at British operating company News International. Rupert is on his way to Davos, the annual confab between business and political leaders.
RM (Rupert Murdoch): Who’s Richard Keys?
News International (executive not specified, could be CEO Rebekah Brooks or newly-appointed PR man Simon Greenberg, sound quality’s not good): A very important football presenter m’lud.
RM: A football presenter? Not an expert then, not a footballer?
NI: No sir.
RM: Fire him then.
NI: Good, good. Very positive sir. Now what do we do about the phone hacking? Andy Coulson’s resigned, as you know, but it’s getting a bit expensive paying off all these other people who say their phones were tapped.
RM: Fire all the journalists!
NI: Does that mean me too sir?
RM: I see what you mean. Didn’t I read today that the Daily Mirror might have been doing this too?
NI: Possibly sir.
RM: Didn’t Piers Morgan used to be editor of the Mirror after learning his trade with us?
NI: Yes sir.
RM: Well go after him then, the bastard’s working for CNN.
NI: Yes sir, but that doesn’t get us off the hook. Also your son James signed off the cheques to keep witnesses quiet, er settle cases out of court.
RM: Fire him too.
NI: Right sir. Everybody’s saying the BSkyB deal is a stitch-up between me and David Cameron. What do I do?
(Enter former racehorse trainer and aspiring novelist Charlie Brooks)
CB: I say sir, that’s a bit strong. Where’s the vino?
RM: Do we have a plan? I must be off to Davos to meet some really important people.
CB: Well I’ve been thinking about this (cries of shhhh..). You remember that funny little advertising chap we met at Ascot? Sirrell or something. Well he went to Davos and married one of the gals there, Swiss number or something. Why don’t you go and do that? Sure Wendy won’t mind too much. Kill the telly story stone head, what?
At this point there is the sounding of breaking glass, or could it be furniture? Tape whirrs to a close.