Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who also served as British Prime Minister David Cameron's communications director, is giving testimony in the Leveson Inquiry, where he's very good at avoiding substantive answers.
Coulson, who resigned from News of the World in 2007 after a reporter was arrested for phone hacking, wouldn't even say whether he talked circulation figures with his boss, Rupert Murdoch, let alone the paper's political stance and its relationships with politicians. Coulson said he reluctantly met with some politicians while working for News International, and Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were nice enough to call him with condolences when he left the News, but really all Coulson wants to do is talk about sports. The Guardian is live-blogging the testimony, which includes this fun back-and-forth:
Rupert Murdoch used to call Coulson on a Saturday night when he was editor of the News of the World, but on "irregular occasions".
Coulson says cannot recall any conversations with Murdoch about the content of the News of the World, aside from the sports pages.
Sport was crucial to the commercial success of the News of the World, says Coulson.
Jay notes that Coulson keeps bringing his answers on to neutral topics, such as sport.
Did he ask about circulation figures? "He may well have done," says Coulson.
It's absurd to think the owner of the paper wouldn't have asked about circulation figures, which throws the rest of Coulson's testimony into question, such as his insistence that his newspaper connections had no bearing on his getting hired as Cameron's communications director. "I don't remember it being a specific conversation ... may well have been a conversation I worked on The News of the World. I'm sure the conversation would have touched on my previous employers in some way," he said. Now can we please talk about the sports pages?