Embattled media impresario Rupert Murdoch folded like an accordion today and blamed others for the phone-hacking scandal that's doing a major number on his empire.
Speaking before an enraged British Parliament, Murdoch said he is not ultimately responsible for 'this fiasco'. Ha! Sound familiar?
Richard Nixon said he wasn't to blame for Watergate. Jeff Skilling pointed the finger at Andy Fastow for Enron's demise. And, Dennis Koslowski said his solid gold wastebasket, shower rods and bacchanalian parties on the Greek Islands were just part of the perks he deserved as Tyco's CEO.
Harry S. Truman must be spinning in his grave. Our nation's 33rd president, Truman was noted for assuming ultimate responsibility for his administration's successes and failures. In fact, instead of having a name plate on his desk, Truman's featured a sign that read, 'The buck stops here.'
Sadly, the buck never seems to stop anywhere with anyone anymore. From Anthony Weiner and Casey Anthony to Roger Clemens and Rupert Murdoch, we've become a society of finger pointers and blame duckers. We not only blame others for our mistakes but, in many cases, are allowed to literally get away with murder (well, at least, in Casey's case).
Murdoch's comments come as no surprise to me. And, like Joe Nocera of the Times, I'm delighted by the rich irony in seeing a scandal monger such as Murdoch caught up in the midst of scandal.
Murdoch may not pay for his years of abusive leadership and right-wing fanaticism, but his image and reputation will be forever tarnished by the News of the World scandal. And, for me at least, that's punishment enough. In fact, it might just be enough poetic justice to put a smile on old Harry's face if he were alive today.