He specifically referenced slain 13-year-old Milly Dowler. News of The World staff allegedly hacked into her cell phone in 2002, even erasing some of the voicemail messages they accessed. “At no time do I remember being as sickened as when I heard what the Dowler family had to endure,” Murdoch testified in a statement released to the public. “I would like all the victims of phone hacking to know how completely and deeply sorry I am ... Apologizing cannot take back what has happened. Still, I want them to know the depth of my regret for the horrible invasions into their lives.”
If Murdoch’s toneless and rehearsed apologies weren’t enough, Karl Rove has inexplicably assembled a “GOP apology task force” to tell the rest of the world “sorry” on Murdoch’s behalf.
Rove and Murdoch
Between 2009 and 2010, News Corp. donated $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association, a political committee that works to defeat Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $75 million to defeat Democratic congressional and Senate candidates during past elections.
Crossroads GPS, a political group backed by Karl Rove, also ran millions of dollars in ads attacking Democratic Senate and House candidates. As a 501(c)(4) organization, Crossroads GPS was allowed to amass unlimited donations from corporations, and was not required to disclose its contributors. Insiders claim that Rove accepted a substantial sum of money from Murdoch’s News Corporation to help push neo-conservative politicians into office. Moreover, during the Bush administration’s eight years in power, Fox News, another News Corp. holding, was instrumental in working with Rove to spread GOP-friendly propaganda.
“Rove would not have been able to accomplish as much as he did for Republicans between 2000 and 2008 if not for the help of Fox News,” said Ferrel Michaels, a political pundit based in Maryland. “Now it appears as though he’s returning the favor.”
Apology Task Force Players
Having been placed in a potentially compromising position, Republican Party leaders appealed to Karl Rove for guidance on how to gloss over the Murdoch scandal when it inevitably makes its way to U.S. shores.
“The 2012 elections are right around the corner, and we need Fox News more than ever,” one Republican Representative said.
Rove’s solution to form a public relations task force made up of stalwart GOP apologists, while unorthodox, is now considered the best approach for mitigating the potential damage that could beleaguer the GOP in the next presidential race. One of the key members already chosen is Joe Barton.
In June 2010, Texas Representative Joe Barton’s strange apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the government imposed fines to repay damages caused by the Deep Horizon oil spill sparked a great deal of controversy. Even after seven days and several subsequent apologies for apologies, Barton’s ill-fated gaffe continued to sour public opinion. But conservative talk show host Joe Scarborough pointed out that Barton’s comments were not simply the misconstrued, off-the-cuff sentiments of a former oil company executive, but the precise recitation of prepared remarks.
“Joe Barton’s alacrity in following orders without question and his willingness to apologize for a corporation’s dangerous irresponsibility make him a perfect member of this team,” Rove said.
Internal communications between former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and former Vice President Dick Cheney also revealed that Rove had asked Cheney to enlist the help of well-known apologist Harry Whittington, the Texas attorney Cheney gunned down in a “hunting accident” in 2006. Whittington famously apologized to Cheney, the man who pumped him full of buckshot. Upon his release from the hospital, Whittington told reporters, “My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with.”
“The ease with which Whittington assumed blame for causing his shooter any inconvenience makes him the perfect apologist,” Rove said.
And Whittington, it seems, has a long history of apologizing for Republicans. As a member of the Texas Office of Patient Protection Executive Committee, he apologized for lack of compliance with federal health laws. As a member of the Texas Department of Corrections, he apologized for the state’s unconstitutional treatment of prisoners. In that same role, he also offered apologies for executing mentally retarded people.
“Whittington’s a stand up guy,” Cheney said in an interview. “He’ll say sorry for any atrocity we can cook up.”
Rove also announced that Barton and Whittington will soon embark on a speaking tour of the United States where they will apologize to Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Rebekah Brooks, Joe Scarborough, Tony Hayward, Deep Horizon’s dead, Arizona, Jesus, Scotland Yard’s disgraced officials, neighbors who may have witnessed Sean Hoare’s unexplained death, families of 9/11 victims whose relatives also had their phones hacked by News Corp., General Stanley McChrystal, the Catholic Church, the sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Church, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Wall Street, General Motors, a coterie of unemployed private investigators, and, inexplicably, a janitor in Wapping.
Insiders also expect the team to offer a belated apology to Bernard Madoff on behalf of all the lawyers who ruined his empire and, thus, the foundation of American free market capitalism.
Asked if he would assume personal responsibility for overseeing the apology task force, Rove replied, “Oh heavens, no. I’m simply not qualified and have very little experience with apologies. There’s really only one person in America, in my opinion, who has a backbone so elastic and unrivaled expertise in this area: Scooter Libby. Mr. Cheney couldn’t agree more.”
(c) 2011. All stories are works of satire and parody.