Friday, May 11, 2012

Rebekah Brooks at #Leveson - it's all about the readers

Rebekah Brooks' evidence at the Leveson Enquiry was heavily trailed to be a "potentially explosive for Cameron and Blair". In the event, it turned out to be a damp squib.

She was poised, polished and very well prepared. The underlying message throughout her evidence was "it's all about the readers". She made the point on many occasions that The Sun is there to reflect the readers' views, not influence them. It was a clever and effective strategy, and as she relaxed under questioning, she was able to use humour to further deflect any potentially embarrassing questions.

She dealt with all of the issues in the manner of a seasoned politician, so perhaps her time in the company of prime ministers has taught her how to behave. She used a variety of techniques, including "I can't recall that occasion...", "As you would expect..." and "I'm simply here to explain how newspapers work..." It was a very sound tactic, avoiding any specific references that might be used against her or anyone else in future.

What did we learn from all this? Gordon Brown used to get "very angry". David Cameron used to text her "once or twice a week". Tony Blair used to "be at the same events sometimes". Hold the front page! (OK, maybe not).

The only time that Mrs Brooks appeared to be on the back foot was when her text messages and meetings with David Cameron were probed. She revealed that on some occasion, Mr Cameron signed-off texts "LOL". She also agreed that she and Mr Cameron had discussed the allegations of phone-hacking at News International. Frankly, it would be more surprising (to me at any rate) if they hadn't discussed it, since everyone else did.

So we, the public, were little the wiser after Mrs Brooks testimony at Leveson. All we heard was what we already knew.

1 comment:

Ian R McAllister said...

So, in two of the key interviews of Murdoch Lieutenants - Coulson and Brooks - we have learnt absolutely nothing! Should there be an inquiry into the prepapration of witnesses of the Leveson Inquiry? Don't hold your breath, while newspapers editors search for a cute cat story to fill tomorrows headlines...