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15 July 2011

Rebekah Brooks - clever or not?

In her first statement on the phone-hacking - actually an email to staff - Rebekah Brooks said:
I hope that you all realise it is inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations.
Various commentators jumped on this, saying that of course she didn't sanction the allegations. The allegations (made by others) are that she sanctioned the alleged actions. There's a difference. What she said is nonsense, but it isn't a denial of that.

And in her resignation letter today, there's another odd turn of phrase:
Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted.
This has been interpreted (eg by the Guardian, here) as implying that she had previously offered to resign. It doesn't say so though. It would have been easy to be clear, if that was the case. Instead she uses a civil-service impersonal formulation. Her resignation has indeed "been a subject of discussion", but nothing here confirms that it's been a subject of discussion between her and Rupert Murdoch.

Is this deliberate or careless? One of the striking features of News International's response to the allegations has been their unwillingness to face direct questions. No press conference, no media interviews - only occasional written statements. Perhaps they are concerned that Brooks might repeat the error she made in admitting to the commons committee that the NotW had paid police officers.

So they restrict themselves to short written documents, which are presumably legally and managerially checked. Which must mean that any meaningless or vague sentence is deliberately meaningless or vague.

I don't know exactly where this leaves us. It's not surprising that NI should avoid saying anything clear that might be prejudicial but I'm not sure the media are quite grasping that they're playing a cunning game, with aims that aren't yet clear.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Coould the game end with Murdoch sueing Britain and claiming so much compensation that as a compromise for the country not going bust he is installed as monarch?