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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Murdoch's ideology « Previous | |Next »
July 7, 2011

The News of the World phone hacking scandal is being interpreted as one of the great scandals in modern British media history. It is scandal involving criminality, incompetence, misjudgment , deception and depravity coupled to systematic blustering denial and ruthless attack. That's the Murdoch way.

BrownDGotcha.jpg Dave Brown

This raises questions about the role of the Murdoch media in a liberal democracy beyond that of the yellow of the British tabloid press given its media dominance, commercial and political power. As is well known, News Ltd uses its media power in the UK, the USA and Australia to defend, protect and fight for, and advance the conservative side of politics. It is unquestioningly accepted that a condition of success in British politics is to cosy up to and then please the world's most powerful media empire.

The politics of Murdoch's media is usually done in a black and white way that reduces political issues to a cartoon level, and in this the broadsheet, such as The Australian, is basically no different to the tabloids in Sydney and Melbourne.

Consider this commentary by Bernard Salt the demographer on the negativism around the issue of economic growth and development. Salt, who is well known for his articles in The Australian defending ‘Big Australia’, says:

All too often it seems that any form of urban growth is to be objected to or blocked, as is any form of property development. The reason being that to allow either is now popularly viewed as being tantamount to defiling the planet...And not only that, but the role and motive of property developers, let alone of a "shyster adviser" to the property industry, can only be to line their own pockets....It is therefore up to the citizenry, organised by often politically motivated propagandists, to block, stymie, and/or divert any form of property development. Don't you people get it? No development. At all. Anywhere. That's the only way we can avert environmental calamity and put the self-interested developers back in their box.

Salt stands for fact, reason and logic coupled to processes of the modern planning system against this irrationality of the anti-growth forces and the way that they use unfair and unreasonable tactics to block and stymie development projects.

Although there is anti-growth narrative--eg., the traditional anti-immigration, anti-globalization, and anti-growth greens who articulate a neo-Malthusianism-- that is not where the debates are about urban development. These are centred around placing limits to suburban development, infilling the older suburbs around public transport and restoring vibrancy and people to the inner city. The issues is how can development ensure the sustainability and liveability.b

What underpins Salt's ideology and that of the Australian and Murdoch is the Julian Simon/Matt Ridley techno-economic optimism + free markets that sees no limits to economic growth. This is a reduction of development, which involves sustainability and liveability (of the urban form), to economic growth or increased GDP. For the latter markets and technological innovation---without wise government bureaucrats guiding technological innovation---create prosperity.

Except that The Australian is opposed to technological innovation in renewable energy and opposed to using the market to address greenhouse gas emissions through an emissions trading scheme.

The arrogant bully boy corporate culture of News Corp, with its tendency to deny and lie about the criminality, corruption, moral wrongness and civil liability of its journalistic practices at the News of the World would suggest that the overseas broadcasting contract should not be granted to Sky TV, which is run by and one-third owned by Murdoch interests. The part-Murdoch-owned Sky is trying to wrest the contract to run the Australia Network from the ABC.

It would be a great image for Australia if Murdoch gained the contract to run the Australia Network. This is a corporate culture that has been found to be characterized by criminality, incompetence, misjudgement and deception. There ought to be a ''fit and proper person'' test included in the Australia Network tender.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:17 AM | | Comments (14)


Murdoch: green policies will steal your freedom and bankrupt the economy. The future of human freedom, economic progress, and science itself depends on the outcome of the fight over climate change. The green charade must be exposed.

Murdoch is the most aggressive malignancy in the body politic these past three decades. Democracy needs to be protected by ensuring that malignancy stops growing.

Yes, there should be a law that says people can only leak information that is nice.

"News of the World" is finished.
Last edition this weekend.

It seems Rupert and James hope that sacrificing the newspaper may calm the waters of criticism and allow the fuss to die down whilst they expand their TV ownership, Sky whatever.
Its an attempt to quarantine the rot from spreading to the parent company.

The toxic News of the World has been News Internationals most profitable title for many years. They had little choice--they would have lost readers and advertisers.

Its drastic surgery

The News of the World maybe the best selling Sunday newspaper but it doesn't make that much money. The combined Sun and News of the World make £40m a year compared with the £6bn of revenues from BSkyB. The heart of Murdoch's media empire is the US. Fox cable TV channels, 20th Century Fox, Dow Jones which publishes the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post – account for a dominant part of its more than $32bn global annual revenue,

James Murdoch reckons that the future of Murdoch UK based empire is in providing a platform with broadband, broadcast and telephony across Europe. So print is sacrificed for sports based television. I guess that the News of the World will simply rebrand itself by becoming part of a 7 day week tabloid newspaper based on the Sun.

And the Conservatives are going to give Rupert Murdoch total control over the biggest commercial broadcaster as well as 40% of the national press in the context of self-regulation of the press.

The episode does show News International's criminality, incompetence, misjudgment and deception.

It will be interesting to see which way the decision goes on Murdoch's proposed buy out of Bskyb after all this. If it goes ahead, how could Cameron possibly explain that without being seen as having sold his soul to the devil?

Can't see it having much impact here, since most people wouldn't know who owns what, as long as someone's covering sport. But things would be rather different from the Canberra press bubble point of view.

The conservative or right wing tabloid media, whose roots go back to the New Right of the 1970s, harnesses outrage to sell newspapers. Theirs is the market of shock, voyeurism and scandal, but the internet is making it harder for the tabloids to grumble, cackle and bemoan the absurdities of modern liberal life. It's now the internet that pushes the boundaries of going too far.

That means News International and News Ltd have lost its monopoly of control of the means of outrage that it once had in the 1990s.

Murdoch is going to be calling in a lot of favours and deals amongst the British political class to get him out of this mess. Maybe the politicians will be less willing now to sup from Rupert's cup?

Are Murdoch's most brazen powerbroking days looking numbered?

He'll be back doing what he does best: threatening some, buying others, bullying critics to further his media interests.

"It is unquestioningly accepted that a condition of success in British politics is to cosy up to and then please the world's most powerful media empire."

The Murdoch's want Cameron, the British PM, to abolish Ofcom the media regulator; curb the BBC; allow them to buy BSkyB.The Conservatives, by all accounts, were more than willing to bend their knee to the power of the Murdoch media.

Things may change now. Cameron will have to distance himself from the Murdoch's media empire.

Polly Toynbee says what is at stake with Murdoch buying BSkyB:

Already Sky's revenue is bigger than the BBC's: this merger would make far more. Bundling up the Times, Sunday Times and other papers with Sky News behind a paywall with sports and movie rights, puts them beyond serious competition. With this online blend, Murdoch expects to knock most other newspapers and their podcasting out of the market. Expensive shares to buy at first, within just two years huge sums would flow in. Buying up everything worth having, he would cripple the BBC – always under Murdoch press attack.

It would be difficult to roll back if the Conservatives let the deal through.

Gary, It is interesting to observe how some on the right have come out with the line that this episode is some kind of conspiracy to consolidate the alleged monopoly of left-liberal political correctness, and to limit media "diversity".

Poor Rupert as the sacrificial victim.

They are desperate, Even the Conservative Party is asking whether News International remains a "fit and proper" owner of BSkyB. The Cameron Government appears to be looking for a way to block the takeover as the Conservatives do not want to be seen defending Rupert Murdoch in the current climate.

Some of the activities of News International (NI) are criminal and should be prosecuted as crimes. News International has admitted paying police officers and tapping thousands of mobile phones.

That should mean that Rupert Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB ought to be dead in the water. Unidentified NI executives knew as far back as 2007 that criminality at NEWS OF THE WORLD was widespread. In covering it up by saying there was no evidence they were dishonest in their answers to a parliamentary select committee, the police and the Press Complaints Commission when they claimed the phone hacking was the work of one lone rogue reporter when it was far more prevalent.

It took two more years of drip-drip-drip revelations in The Guardian, culminating in the Milly Dowler story, before News International finally admitted its culpability.

The House of Commons should scupper Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB by calling or the bid to be put on ice pending any police investigation into actions at the News of the World.