Rupert Murdoch Reminds ABC’s Kofman of Ebenezer Scrooge Instead of Shakespearean Tragedy
On Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, after anchor Dan Harris recounted that News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch met and apologized to the family of the 13-year-old murder victim whose phone messages were hacked by a News of the World reporter, correspondent Jeffrey Kofman commented that Murdoch reminded him of Ebenezer Scrooge approaching Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, rather than a character from a Shakespearean tragedy. Kofman:
You know, I was trying to figure out what analogy works here - is this Shakespearean, his fall? But, actually, it reminds me of A Christmas Carol when Ebenezer Scrooge comes and approaches Tiny Tim and tries to atone for his past sins.
A Shakespearean tragedy notably involves characters who have both admirable and flawed qualities, while the Scrooge character was unsympathetic throughout nearly all of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Below is a complete transcript of Kofman’s report from the Saturday, July 16, Good Morning America on ABC:
DAN HARRIS: And now to the humbling of a billionaire media mogul. Rupert Murdoch, a man who is not used to groveling, is on an apology tour this morning trying to contain the damage from that massive phone hacking scandal. This contrition mission started yesterday when Murdoch personally asked forgiveness from the family of a 13-year-old murder victim named Milly Dowler whose cell phone messages were hacked into and even erased by one of his reporters.
RUPERT MURDOCH, NEWS CORPORATION: No, I’m not going to say anything more about it. I’m the founder of the company. I was appalled when I found out it happened. I apologize and I have nothing further to say.
HARRIS: But Murdoch does have something further to say. He is continuing his apologies this morning saying sorry now to all of Britain. ABC’s Jeffrey Kofman is in London this morning with the story. Jeffrey, what is he saying and where?
JEFFREY KOFMAN: Well, take a look. This is his own Times of London: "We are sorry." This is in all of the national newspapers here. As you could say quite appropriately it's a contrition mission. You know, I was trying to figure out what analogy works here - is this Shakespearean, his fall? But, actually, it reminds me of A Christmas Carol when Ebenezer Scrooge comes and approaches Tiny Tim and tries to atone for his past sins.
HARRIS: This situation is likely to get worse from Murdoch before it gets better. Tuesday he’s going to be dragged before the British parliament. How bad is that likely to be for him?
KOFMAN: I think that the entire world on cable TV will be watching. This is going to be quite the spectacle. He did not want to go - in fact, he said he wouldn't go and then realized that was yet another public relations fiasco. He and his son James and Rebekah Brooks - his shamed lieutenant - will all appear before parliament, and I think you're going to see the modern-day version of a public flogging. It’s going to be ugly. And his son James himself is really not out of hot water yet. His son James could face some serious charges in this.
HARRIS: Indeed. And here in the U.S., we're watching this as a human drama unfolding involving a very powerful man, but over in the U.K., it's been called the British Watergate. Why is that?
KOFMAN: This is huge. You just cannot underestimate or shall I say overestimate the importance of this because the people of Britain have discovered something they didn't know, that for the last 30 years Murdoch through the power of these papers - and he owns four of the major papers, 40 percent of the circulation in this country - has been bullying politicians of all parties to follow his political line. And if you didn't, he destroyed you in his papers, and now they're discovering that, and now he has been brought to his knees.