Today's chapter of the Leveson Inquiry has proven that it's not just papers that Rupert Murdoch likes to start "wars" with (we knew that), but what we didn't know was that even British Prime Ministers aren't immune from picking fights our favorite media warmonger. No, it's not that Prime Minister--Murdoch denied influencing Margaret Thatcher this morning, and we still are waiting to hear if Murdoch will say anything to implicate David Cameron. The Prime Minister in question is Gordon Brown.
Since Murdoch's testimony is ongoing, the best place to follow the news is on Twitter. The BBC's Business Editor Robert Peston quotes Murdoch and Brown's early romance: "Murdoch: 'My personal relations with Mr Brown were always warm'. He regrets breakdown of his friendship with Brown, hopes can be repaired." Of course, that all changed, according to Sky News' Mark White (Sky News, of course is a News International company), who has the turning point: "Rupert Murdoch now onto his relationship with former PM Gordon Brown. They had a good relationship until Sun turned against him."
Peston clarifies that turning point further: "Murdoch says Brown told him Sept 09 Sun endorsement of Tories was declaration of war on government & gov would now declare war on News Corp." And this is when it gets ugly, per the BBC's Ross Hawkins: "Murdoch quotes Brown: 'Your company has declared war on my govt and we have no alternative but to make war on your company.... Murdoch accuses Brown of knowingly misleading Commons, saying Sun hacked into medical records when he knew how story about his son emerged.'"
"Murdoch says Brown was "not in a balanced state of mind," The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh noted. Adding the made-for-Hollywood courtroom drama of the inquiry, the session broke with a bit of foreshadowing, according to The New York Times' Ravi Somaiya:
Break for lunch. Enormous thunderclap outside.— Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya) April 25, 2012