The sound quality of the secret recording of Rupert Murdoch speaking privately to Sun journalists arrested as part of Operation Elveden, is predictably poor. The effect, unless you’re looking at a written transcript at the same time, is to reduce what’s said to a series of key words; explosive consonants and metallic vowels surfacing above the low murmurings of an elderly monarch.
Music of a concrete kind.
The way he says it, Absolutely (meaning: my unqualified sympathy for your unfortunate position) cuts through like a serrated edge; gleams like aluminium. I’m just as annoyed sounds similar to the rhythm in Ravel’s Bolero. You guys is Rupert’s crash cymbal. For example: you guys were thrown out of bed in police raids; whereas when police question people from the BBC, they’re asked to come in softly softly for a cup of tea at four o’clock. Tss tut-tut-tss tut-tut-tss: you guys.
Sometimes he will Slap papers or Boom his fist down on the table. On the One, Funkadelic’s George Clinton would have said. Then the words that follow perform an offbeat role: Boom, the left-wing get-even crowd of George Brown; Slap, what they’re doing (in revenge for 38 years of the Sun).
Rupert Murdoch talks about News Corp having been close to panic: over-reacting to police and media pressure; setting up the infamous Management and Standards Committee, i.e. Internal Affairs. The people’s he talking to on the tape – you guys – seem to have been volunteered; sent in as a kind of suicide squad, and Rupert the newspaperman makes out that within the company only the lawyers were really responsible for sacrificing these other newspapermen. Whether or not this is true, from the rhythms and cadences of his speech it is clearly what the Old King needs to believe.