The Rupert Murdoch on the witness stand for day two of his evidence to the Leveson inquiry was less impressive than the Murdoch of day one.
After his halting testimony to a House of Commons last July, he was refreshingly on form on Wednesday – coming out punching with a display of crisp, sharp replies, even if quite a few were implausible (as I discussed in my column).
Matthew Engel summarised his performance nicely in the FT:
Ga-ga? Rupert? Eyes bright, sharp as a tack – and in control of the situation. “I hope I’m like that at 81,” said a young man in the public gallery. Normally a barrister on his feet cuts an intimidatory figure when cross-examining a seated witness. This time Mr Jay looked like a supplicant backing away from the boss’s desk.
But Mr Murdoch sounded slower and more tired on Thursday, hesitating longer over his replies and sometimes rambling. His reply to a question about his suggestions for media regulation went on a long time and had various digressions.