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Rupert Murdoch Affair: Shaving Cream Humble Pie?

  • July 20th, 2011
  • Posted by 7thmin

pie-face.jpegInformation became very messy about the “pie attack” incident as Rupert Murdoch neared the end of his testimony at a parliamentary hearing in London, 19.7.11.

wendy-murdoch-resize.jpgHis wife and defender, Wendy Murdoch (portrait) , emerged as heroine of the moment, but the combined efforts of British media and parliamentarians managed to make a right mess of the story.

The would-be assailant was identified as Johnny Marbles, said to be a comedian, but said to be also an aggressive activist, known alternatively as Johnathan May-Bowles (geddit?); whichever name is definitively the actual alias, will emerge.

In genre terms, acting in a slapstick tradition he managed to generate a few moments of farce.

He evidently was trying to give Mr Murdoch pie in the face, just as the famous media mogul was wrapping up testimony on a day he had called the “most humble in his life.”

He had a “pie” on a plate, made of shaving cream, one reporter claiming to have got that fact right by getting some on himself and tasting it; but one or two others speculated that it was an actual cream pie.

Where was the Heath Row don’t-carry-toiletries patrol, that a chap should enter a sensitive session  like that, with shaving cream and a plate?

Thankfully in the muddle Johnny was not “tasered” or shot dead; this was not Dodge City, New York, or Melbourne if it comes to that; but he did end up with a lot of the white stuff all over himself.

What did he call out? Did he go for the independent variable, as reported in later editions? “You are a greedy billionaire!!”; or did the reporter who first quoted him get it right for the radio, with the more batty-comedic: “You are a greedy, silly man!!”

And what did Wendy do? Some say she gave Mr Marbles, or May-Bowles, a “slap”; one of the parliamentarians congratulated her on her “left hook”; a television journalist who’d been nearby said she hit him, with her right. The video replay did look like the right hand going in, nothing much hook about it.

It was an inquiry by a Select Committee of the House of Commons in Westminster Palace, into claims about a key sector of the British media, the London tabloid press, going off the rails, getting into phone tapping and bribing police.

The outcome needs to produce clear information to do with matters of truth and justice, freedom and authority, down to reliable  detail, like whether we are dealing with left or right.

It offered up a piece of slightly hair-raising near-comedy, showing up the British parliament, media, and police and security, in that moment, as not really much good.

See also EUAustralia Online, “Rupert Murdoch’s ‘most humble day'”, 20.7.11.