The media's attention on Rupert Murdoch and the British hacking scandal hit a new low Thursday.
Filling in for MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Michael Smerconish finished "Hardball" with a segment floating the conspiracy theory that Rupert Murdoch staged Tuesday's Parliamentary pie throwing incident to distract everyone's attention from his testimony (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Allow me to share a lingering thought about what happened in the U.K. with the Tuesday testimony of Rupert and James Murdoch. I’m a bit of a cynic. I’m not a conspiracy guy. I think Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone. I abhor those who float that notion that 9/11 was an inside job. And I lamented the closing of a chapter today in our space program because I know man has walked on the moon.
Having said this, I’m having some doubts about the heroic efforts of Rupert Murdoch’s wife to thwart the pie thrower. Now think about it. The whole hearing concerned media manipulation. Parliamentarians were gathered to learn what the Murdochs knew about the hacking and when they knew it. And the testimony didn’t go so well. Both Rupert and James Murdoch may have apologized repeatedly, but steadfastly refused to take the blame.
But the story making the most news? It’s the pie and the woman who stopped its delivery. Instead of questions about the veracity of the Murdochs’ testimony, there’s endless chatter about how a man with a checkered shirt approached Murdoch with a foam pie to slam into his face only to have Murdoch’s spry wife lunge toward the attacker and thwart his attempt to harm her husband. I keep seeing headlines like, “Crouching Tiger, Flying Murdoch,” and what’s the accompanying narrative? "Don’t mess with Wendi Deng, Murdoch’s 43-year-old, Chinese-born wife."
So, what should have been a post mortem analysis of the testimony of two media moguls has now been obscured by laudatory coverage of Mrs. Murdoch. And what do we know of the pie thrower? Well, his name is Jonnie Marbles. Jonnie Marbles? I may have lost mine, but come on. This activist and comedian whose real name is Jonathan May-Bowles was somehow able to evade the security of Parliament with his pie and then get within inches of Murdoch?
Let me remind you that News of the World once set up Formula One President Max Mosley with prostitutes on their payroll leading to that unforgettable headline, “F1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy With Five Hookers.” What’s a foam pie compared to five prostitutes with cameras in their bras?
So now the attention is all on the pie and especially on Murdoch’s half his age wife Wendi Deng. I’m calling it PieGate. I’m wondering what did Wendi Deng know and when did she know it?
So, Murdoch concocted a plan where he would be humiliated by getting a pie thrown in his face while testifying before Parliament hoping this would distract everyone from what was said during the proceeding.
And this is what MSNBC feels is suitable substitute for what Matthews does five days a week.
I guess the joke's on them because they're right.