Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

The Battle Leap of the Tiger Wife

Wendy Murdoch defending her husband Rupert Murdoch during the News Corp hearings on July 17, 2011.

Will the foam pie incident change everything?

More than anything Rupert Murdoch or his son James said before the Parliamentary panel on Tuesday, it may be the attack on Murdoch—and his wife literally leaping to his defense—that changes public opinion about the scandal that has led to the closing of The News of the World and the resignations of top News Corpofficials.

A man who had sat through the long, and often boring, testimony approached the 80-year-old Murdoch toward the end of the hearing, swore at him, and attempted to strike him with a pie plate filled with foam.

“You naughty billionaire,” the attacker supposedly said.

Everyone nearby jumped to their feet in a flash. But Murdoch’s wife Wendi leapt over others between her and her husband’s attacker, returning the attack with her own slap. She reportedly then picked up the plate and tried to strike the attacker. Then, as others grappled with the attacker, she moved back to see to her husband.

It was all over in less than a minute. But those moments most likely swayed the sympathies for a few viewers toward the Murdochs.

Almost instantly, people were referring to her as “Tiger Wife,” a play on the title of Amy Chua’s book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," which argues for the superiority of Chinese-style parenting over soft, Western parenting.

I know I felt nothing but admiration for the love between Wendi and Rupert. They aren’t ultra-wealthy media moguls. They certainly aren’t the evil-doers that many of their enemies have portrayed. They are a couple with a fierce loyalty between them. And Wendi, well, who wouldn’t want someone with those instincts on your side?

Murdoch came into the hearing looking to many like a potential villain. And now he leaves beside a wife who looks positively heroic.

You’d have to have a hard place where your heart should be not to be cheering for the Murdochs a bit right now.


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