Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Learning from the Pros

As preparation for an upcoming game, NFL players routinely study films of plays that have worked for other teams. To continue with a sports metaphor, Rupert Murdoch has apparently taken a page from the NFL playbook. I have it on good authority that Murdoch stayed up late Monday night watching film and video clips of Catholic bishops appearing before critics to answer for the sexual transgressions of people under their supervision. These guys are the ones to watch if you’re in Rupert Murdoch’s position. The Catholic Church has, literally, written the book on accountability avoidance. Their formula is in three parts. One part, “My integrity is not to be questioned,” and one part, “I’m deeply sorry, and I apologize to anyone who was offended,” and one part, “I’m utterly shocked that something like this could have taken place on my watch.” Actually, the bishops do the last part a little differently. Instead of “on my watch,” the official Catholic phraseology uses, “I’m utterly shocked that something like this could have taken place within my flock.”

When a priest is being promoted to bishop, he is flown to Rome for a crash course on how to answer for sexual transgression “within the flock.” The three part formula is teachable, and its success is repeatable. It works every time. And if the formula can work against allegations of sexual molestations occurring by the tens of thousands, then it’s a piece of cake to apply that same formula to something as simple as hacking the e-mails of somebody who’s already dead. No big deal. Right?

Murdoch is as safe in his job as a Catholic bishop, and that’s pretty darn safe. But if I’m wrong about this, he has other options. Murdoch can take it on the lam, going incognito by plastering on thick facial makeup and long false eyelashes, and then passing himself off as Tammy Faye Baker.

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