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LONDON: Rupert Murdoch has blamed his underlings for keeping him in the dark about the fact the News of The World was a tabloid newspaper, and said he thought the publication was a high-quality current-affairs broadsheet instead.

In his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, the head of News Corporation insisted staff at the newspaper had hidden from him the true nature of the Sunday red-top by pretending it was a weekly news magazine along the lines of Time and Newsweek, which concentrated on business, science, current affairs and international events instead of a low-brow crock of shit full of title-tattle, lies, salacious celebrity gossip and tits.

Australian-born Rupert Murdoch, 81, grilled about what he knew of the scandalous practices at the newspaper such as illegal phone hacking, said he was shocked to learn senior staff at the newspaper had been covering up the true nature of their journalistic practices:

How was I supposed to know what they were doing? I delegated responsibility to other people precisely so I could hide behind them and pretend I didn’t know what was going on when the shit hits the fan. That’s what employees are for.

When asked why a newspaper which was supposed to have high-quality current affairs articles would have pictures of topless women on its pages instead, he explained:

I was told they were part of the medical section and I had no reason to think my staff would be lying to me.

Mr Murdoch also denied it would have been easy to realise what kind of publication his staff were producing simply by looking at the front pages of the News of The World, which were invariably plastered with headlines about which England footballer’s turn it was to be exposed for shagging someone they shouldn’t have been shagging:

I don’t know who John Terry is. Is he a politician?

Investigations into the scandal have focused on what Mr Murdoch and his son James Murdoch knew about illegal practices such as the illegal phone hacking, especially when they agreed to a large payout to settle a legal claim.

But both Murdochs have consistently maintained that the paper’s management failed to alert them to the fact that they were producing dumb crap on an industrial scale or to the extent of the dumb crapness they were producing.

Asked if he read the weekly News of the World, Mr Murdoch said:

Are you joking? Read one of my own publications? I’ve got much better things to do. You’ll be suggesting I get my information about what’s happening in the world from Fox News or the Sun next. Don’t be ridiculous.

Mr Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch also defended his own lack of knowledge about journalistic practices at the publications he was head of, by saying he didn’t know anything at all about anything:

Obviously as someone who got my job purely because of who my father is, I’m pretty ignorant about most things. As everyone knows, being head of an international organisation such as News International basically means doing as little as possible for as much money as possible and that’s something I’m very good at.

James Murdoch became chairman of News International in 2007 when he took on the wider job of running Rupert’s News Corporation in Asia and Europe into the ground. He has since moved on to his father’s US divisions, where it is hoped he will manage to bankrupt those as well.

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