Mrs Murdoch’s vigorous defence and counter-attack on a low-life who was intent on physically assaulting her 80-year-old husband was the highlight of the otherwise unexciting proceedings.
She not only managed to land a blow on the coward but when he dropped the plate he was carrying, she picked it up and, by all reports, was going to whack him with it until he was whisked away by the lax security officials.
Ominously, the description of the loser in question, Jonathan May-Bowles, aged 26-years-old, a pampered yet troubled middle-class wastrel, could easily have described a potential assassin.
Even the London newspaper consumed by envy and malice for their more successful News Corp rivals, the Guardian described her spectacular moves as her “Charlie’s Angel moment.”
Wendi Murdoch humanised the whole grotesque spectacle. This is her family. Touch one, touch all. Even the coldest hearts will have thawed a little. Those who see her husband and the company he built as a force for good and an amazing vehicle for creativity were – like us – first shocked then loudly cheering in the still of night, a small victory for the true believers.
Twitter has been overwhelmed by outpourings of kudos for the feisty lady, from “Crouching Tiger, Slapping Wend” to an as yet unverified claim by Daily Telegraph scribe Joe Hildebrand that the billionaire’s spouse may in fact be a previously unidentified Power Ranger, others suggested ninja, seemingly unaware they hail from Japan not Wendi’s native China and so on. She’ll be the best press the Murdochs get all year.
Wendi Murdoch humanised the whole grotesque spectacle. This is her family. Even the coldest hearts will have thawed a little.
Her reported cry “I got him” could well be the rallying cry the beseiged company needs. They’ve taken the hits in this crisis, unreasonably singled out for inappropriate journalistic practices in the London newspaper market where they were clearly very widespread across every tabloid and other newspapers there. It seems likely that the Mirror – formerly edited by CNN’s Piers Morgan – will come out as the worst offender.
So we see Wendi Murdoch’s spectacular counter-attack as much more than a loving wife standing by her man. It’s a powerful message to all the jackals baying for Murdoch’s blood, even talking up Rupert Murdoch’s death, bizarrely proposing the dismembering of a very profitable, very successful company that you can go only so far.
There is a witch-hunt hysteria to the selective persecution of the Australian-founded News Corporation in England for what were clearly widespread British newspaper practices.
While that is itself no excuse for the inappropriate activities of some of the News of the World’s over-enthusiastic news-gatherers and story-hunters, it is the context in which the situation arose. To ignore it, or pretend it were otherwise, serves no-one and nothing other than those who stand to commercially benefit from News Corporation being in trouble.
Wendi Murdoch has never had a great press. She’s now a symbol of defiance against the Lord of the Flies style mania that has at times appeared likely to engulf News Corp’s British interests. Good for her, it’s in moments of great stress that one’s real character emerges, or so they say.
The hearings themselves uncovered nothing especially interesting other than the obvious that Rupert Murdoch is an American –based CEO of a global media company whose interest in newspapers is more a legacy labour of love than the focus of his daily attention. And his son, James Murdoch, is probably the best witness I’ve seen deal with hostile questioning. He was polite, firm, direct, helpful, candid and clearly on top of practically every detail. Being a good witness in legal proceedings is not a required core competency for company chief executives but being confident, assured, tough and sensible most certainly will equip him very well if he takes over the company some day.
The British MPs who had so much ammunition to fire and sitting-duck targets achieved not much other than prove themselves to be more mediocre than we might have expected. There were no gotcha moments. There was no heat or insight. It was a big fizzer except for when their own lax security allowed a self-described comedian and lapsed UK Labour party member to attack their star witness.
In language the News of the World might have used, it was very much Murdochs 1 Haters 0, a big turnaround after a series of recent drubbings. (Wo)man of the Match: Wendi Murdoch with a last-minute header sealing an unexpected win.