Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Phrases I've Learned from 'Hackgate'

I think everyone was expecting that the grilling of Murdoch and Murdoch by the Select Committee yesterday would be entertaining, though likely not in the way it actually played out. I had hoped the MPs asking the questions would be tough on the Murdochs, considering the shit their organisation's antics have pushed everyone into, but alas, cowardice and butt-sucking seemed to be the order of the day (except for Tom Watson, who was brilliant). But despite the total lack of progress in sorting out this "hackgate" scandal I did learn some things. Like what to say and do if someone is blaming you for something. So I give you my list of responses to uncomfortable questions, accusations of lying or being responsible for the biggest infringement of private people's lives in living memory. These are guaranteed to get your accusers off your back (not a guarantee).

"Shut up son, I'll handle this... What was the question?"

Top phrases and responses when being asked, well, anything you don't want to admit to:

"I'm not aware."

"I don't remember."

"I dont' recall."

"In hindsight..."

"I have no knowledge of that."

"I am deeply regretful... but not responsible."

"Pardon me, what was the question?" (Repeatedly makes this work even better.)

Deafness apparently runs in families.

"I was not involved in that."

"I'll get back to you on that." (My personal favourite - and James Murdoch's too)

"I... I... I... I don't know.... I don't..."

"I cannot speak for them."

*Interrupt whatever the questioner is saying with a sentence and then stop, look at them quizzically and ask* "Sorry, may I continue?"

"I don't know who is responsible for that but it wasn't me."

"That's a good question, a really important question" - and then proceed to not answer the question.

"I can't say anything due to the police inquiry into that."

Or, if you want to keep it quick and in the style of Rupert Murdoch; "No"

Also slam the table a lot for emphasis and distraction.

And if all else fails waffle until you see their eyes glaze over and time runs out for any more questions. Or wait until someone throws a foam pie in your face.

Sorry, I had to get this in here. It still makes me giggle.


  1. Aaah, but what else were we expecting? James Murdoch is full of waffle and management BS, so he can protract an answer whilst saying naught; the elder can claim infirmity and draw out his speech. There is little to tie them to, and jurisdiction is hard to enforce. Brooks was more evasive and clearly will be tossed to the wolves to save the finances of NI; and the face of others who ought to be feeling the heat more.

    Whilst politicians seek to misdirect through affected umbrage at phone hacking of victims, the real story lies within the influence exerted within and across more influential bodies (namely, the government and the constabulary) but the outcome may merely pave the way for more policies aimed at curtailing the (justifiable) activities of proper investigative journalism, rather than meeting out justice to those who are truly to blame.

  2. Eactly what I fear will come of this too Mike, that genuine investigative journalism will be curtailed and prevented - so that things like MPs expenses, abuse of power and this very NI scandal cannot be revealed in the future legally. Hopefully it won't come to that but I don't put it past politicians to try to subvert this for their own agenda.

  3. ...and clearly I need to breathe more when I come back from the pub late at night and comment on your blog! You need big lungs for that last paragraph :-)

    In real response, I do think the world is slightly different now, and MPs (et al) are only just grasping the significance of Twitter and the like. Whilst Giggs was able to gag the press, he was unable to gag the internet. I think the smart journalist will be able to use such outlets to effectively work with their justifiable crusades; whilst the demographic of Twitter+ will (one hopes) prevent it from merely descending into 'gossip-land'. Time, of course, will reveal all.

  4. I don't know much about this but the phrases sound like "plausible deniability"

    Interesting quote in that article regarding the Iran Contra Affair:

    "In his testimony to the congressional committee studying the Iran-Contra affair, Vice Admiral John Poindexter stated: "I made a deliberate decision not to ask the President, so that I could insulate him from the decision and provide some future deniability for the President if it ever leaked out."

  5. Ha! Pikers! You Brits think you can outshine us in the "corruption and bullshit" department? Well, you may be ahead for the moment. But just you wait till our big "debt ceiling" deadline of August 2!

    We shall reclaim the lead! Victory is mine!