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Video: Apologetic Murdochs denied knowledge of hacking

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    >>> is an american citizen , the head of a media empire that is well known and widely watched here, the current scandal involving his company is mostly unraveling in great britain where he's already shut down one newspaper. where we know people's cell phones were hacked and where today, murdoch and his son and former employee faced members of parliament in a hearing. both murdochs tried to stay above the fray and then the fray came to them in the form of a guy with a cream pie aimed right at the face of the patriarch. it was that kind of day. it's been that kind of scandal. we begin our reporting here tonight with nbc's stephanie gosk in london , stephanie , good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening. brian. the police were armed with machine guns outside the front doors of parliament today, a good indication it was not going to be business as usual . many here in london said today that this was one of the most important days in parliament's history. the murdoch 's made a business out of covering the story. today, they were the story. the man who runs the second largest media company in the world side-by-side with his son, in front of members of parliament . po apologetic.

    >> this has been the most humble day of my life. i would like to say as well, how sorry i am and how sorry we are to, particularly the victims of illegal voice mail interceptions and to their families.

    >> reporter: from the beginning, james took the lead.

    >> i think my son can perhaps answer that in more detail. i think that's a question for james .

    >> reporter: at times jumping in to help when his 80-year-old father searched or stumbled for answers. but it was rupert murdoch 's wife who stepped in at the most critical moment. throwing a right hook to protect over husband from a surprise pie attack. the protester, an amateur comedian that calls himself johnny marbles was arrested and led away by police. for most of the question about phone hacking at "news of the world" the committee focused on who knew what and when. both of the murdochs repeatedly denied prior knowledge and never assumed responsibility.

    >> i don't know.

    >> i have no knowledge.

    >> that's the first i've heard of that.

    >> i don't have direct knowledge of that.

    >> i can't answer. i don't know.

    >> reporter: at one point, murdoch claimed his company is too billing for him to know the details of -- too big to know the details of each business.

    >> "news of the world" say small percent of our company and i'm spread watching and appointing people in my trust.

    >> reporter: james defended executives rebekah brooks who resigned last friday. both led british newspaper's arm.

    >> there's no evidence that i'm aware of that brooks or mr. hinton or any of those executives, had knowledge of that. nonetheless, those resignations have been accepted.

    >> reporter: later in the day, brooks faced questions by herself from the same panel. she was arrested on sunday over allegations of phone hacking and payments to police for information. she, too, denies any knowledge of wrongdoing.

    >> i have never paid a policeman.

    >> reporter: but for the murdochs today's questioning was about salvaging news corp.'s reputation, a business rupert brought up with one paper.

    >> i was brought up by a father who was not rich but a great journalist. before he died, it was a small paper.

    >> reporter: james hopes to one day lead the family business but first he'll have to repair the damage sustained over two weeks of an ever-widening scandal.

    >> it's our determination to put things right. make sure these things don't happen again.

    >> reporter: rumors were floated that the head of news corp. might use today to announce his own resignation. just rumors.

    >> have you considered resigning?

    >> no.

    >> why not?

    >> because i feel that people i trusted have let me down. i'm the best person to clean this up.

    >> reporter: and there may be more tough questions to come. british prime minister david cameron has called for a judicial inquiry that could summon both rupert and james murdoch for questioning. and some u.s. lawmakers are calling for their own hearing, another opportunity to question the media mogul on capitol hill , brian.

    >> stephanie gosk starting off our reporting with the wild day in london , thanks.

Data: Who's who in the UK phone hacking scandal

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