Harold Evans takes to The Daily Beast to call out Rupert Murdoch on ‘memory loss’

Rupert Murdoch testifies before Parliament last summer. ()
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Rupert Murdoch testified today in London before the Leveson inquiry, the longstanding Parliamentary investigation into British press culture and ethics sparked by the massive phone-hacking scandal that embroiled Murdoch's British newspapers and forced the closure of his tabloid, The News of the World.

Murdoch, it turns out, despite his tendency to be terse (and his comfort with long silences) to be rather a fun witness.

The Guardian, the paper responsible for much of the reporting that made the scandal such big news, has a nice round-up of quotes here.

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Culled from there, below, are some of our favorites:

On his lunch with Baroness Thatcher and her PR Bernard Ingham in 1981 while making a bid for the Times:

"I've never asked a prime minister for anything. I didn't expect any help from her [Thatcher], nor did I ask for any. We have never pushed our commercial interests in our papers."

On his first meeting with David Cameron:

"I was extremely impressed at the kindness and feeling he showed to his children and particularly to his retarded son."

On why he uses the back door of Downing Street for his visits:

"It happens to be a shortcut to my apartment."

On editorial interference:

"I'm a curious person who is interested in the great issues of the day and I'm not good at holding my tongue."

On how to gauge his stance on an issue:

"If you want to judge my thinking, look at the Sun."

On Harold Evans' book, Good Times, Bad Times:

"I've never read the book, sorry."

That last bit didn't sit well with Harold Evans, the former editor in chief of the Times of London, whose book is an examination of what happened to the paper after it was bought by Murdoch, and a rather scathing indictment of News Corp. practices both journalistic and commercial.

And today, Evans took to a column at The Daily Beast (which happens to be the brainchild of his wife, Tina Brown) to further disparage Murdoch, calling Murdoch's testimony "comic and sad." Excerpt:

There is a pattern to the Murdoch sagas. He responds to serious criticism by a biting wisecrack or diversionary personal attack. What is denied most sharply invariably turns out to irrefutably true. As with the hacking saga, so with my charges.

It’s fair to say Good Times, Bad Times was well received, but several commentators suggested I had exaggerated the influence of Margaret Thatcher, and that Murdoch had honored the editorial independence he promised the editors of The Times and The Sunday Times. Charles Moore said the story should have waited until I had died; it was ungentlemanly, he thought, to write so soon of events of which I had knowledge. I am sorry I disappointed him by staying alive.

Read the whole thing here, but more importantly, read about the film that's going to be made out of the book here.

In other news...

Live coverage of Rupert Murdoch at the Leveson Inquiry. [The Guardian]

The Fox News mole has been served with a search warrant. [Poynter]

President Obama: "I read all of the New York Times columnists." [Rolling Stone]

Should the Times "charge for early access to the news?" [GigaOM]

Washington City Paper food editor and New York Observer alum Chris Shott is headed back to New York. [WaPo/AllWeCanEat]

Meredith laid off 80 people this week. [New York Post]