American members of Congress grandstand and score political points. On Tuesday, their UK counterparts were reserved and purposeful
"You said it always as though, we have paid the police in the past, the implication being, as does all tabloid newspapers," Conservative Member of Parliament Louise Mensch said at one point on Tuesday, her voice calm and measured, her eyes focused intently on Rebekah Brooks, the deposed, arrested former editor of the now-defunct newspaper News of the World. "To your general knowledge, were payments to police widespread across Fleet Street, or limited to one or two titles?"
Brooks, unrattled and straightforward, answered, "I've never paid a police officer myself. I've never sanctioned paying a police officer," later telling Mensch that she's not able to comment much on other newspapers, but would do her best to disclose all she could, legal bindings permitting, about how things went horribly awry at Rupert Murdoch's former property.
This was the kind of transactional, businesslike interaction we saw at Tuesday's hearing of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, where Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and Brooks all testified, despite a brief interruption involving "shave cream." It was noticeably not how things work when members of the U.S. Congress are involved.