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News International: a trainwreck « Previous | |Next »
July 16, 2011

Rupert Murdoch has been insisting that News International had made only "minor mistakes" in handling the phone hacking crisis, that the company has handled the crisis "extremely well in every possible way ", and that the MP's in the British Parliament were telling total lies with their allegations of corrupt practices at his newspapers in the UK.

Who believes Murdoch these days? He's endeavouring to contain the story. However, his senior executives are either resigning or are being ditched in order to save News Corp from the fallout. In the US the FBI has launched an investigation into accusations that News of the World journalists asked a former New York police officer for the phone records of relatives of 9/11 victims.


News International have handled the crisis, now swirling around the feet of News Corp, badly; and in not taking it seriously, their systematic lies have failed to limit the fallout from the corruption and criminal activity. This is an organisation that has now been found working with known criminals, bribing police, carrying out “industrial scale” criminal activity, and making payments to silence the victims. Contrition is now the order of the day in order to get a grip on a crisis.

As a consequence, the realities of a captured state and a crumbling democratic facade are being exposed. The situation is less a ‘regulatory capture’ and more a state capture. Murdoch wielded raw power and the political class of Britain bowed to it and then went down on its knees. They were then routinely humiliated by the bully boys and girls nurtured in the corporate culture of News International.

Will Murdoch be able to rebuild his power as the banks did after the global financial crisis?

In Australia the media and the carbon tax have become intertwined because the way the right wing media--News Ltd's newspapers and the radio shock jocks--- have been dishonest and engaged in fearmongering over the carbon tax. The spotlight needs to be placed on the media's role in the carbon tax debate and it needs to be made to be accountable for the mass deceptions it routinely practices.

The trainwreck of News International is an opportunity to reconsider the structure and regulation of the media in Australia since the degree of concentration of the print media in Australia by News Ltd is too high. It is necessary to design a structure of regulation of the media market that preserves freedom for the media, while curbing abuse, including the concentrations of unaccountable power.

News Ltd will continue to resist the push for greater accountability by thundering on about a free press being one of the pillars of the west; and that it is best to leave the question of ownership to the market and that of content to the rights of expression, subject only to the law on libel and on the intrusion into private life. The press must be free and the the role of the state should be very narrowly circumscribed.

News Ltd wants the freedom to use its power to intimidate, abuse and humiliate without any checks and balances on its power.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:20 AM | | Comments (19)


So the cops there are "bent", if they are mucking in with Murdoch they'll be mucking in with other powerful and wealthy interests, in some probability it must be widespread to some degree..
I still wonder at who the eventual winner might be out of all of this and if a role was played in Murdoch's current mishap from that quarter.

Murdoch's brand is tarnished. He's damaged goods. Still the political class--apart from Bob Brown---are reluctant to speak out . They are still intimidated by News Ltd's thuggish behaviour.

News Ltd is dominant in Australia anbd it uses its power to intimade the political class and to attack on the ABC (the enemy) in Australia. These attacks are becoming ever more strident.

Thus Piers Ackerman writes:

The future of the politically-driven ABC, the audio-visual arm of the extreme Green Left, needs to be reviewed. It has abused its charter. It does not contribute to a sense of national identity, inform or entertain as its charter decrees.
It is divisive. It hectors those who do not conform to its political views, it does not fully inform its audience of issues of national interest and it is entertaining only to the dwindling handful of inner-urban activists it caters to.

The ABC is so blatantly biased it may as well call itself the Greens Left Channel; Leftism is a poison etc etc

Ackerman, like Alan Jones on Sydney radio, has adopted a role of conservative media provocateur; a role in which they turn up the volume to full, deploy the rhetoric of hysteria, and urge their audience to maintain the anger and rage.

"deploy the rhetoric of hysteria"

it's very noticeable around the carbon tax. Alan Jones is saying that Gillard's policy is so economically reckless that it is treason and is calling for the guillotine to be bought back.

This clearly is the incitement of hysteria. The inference? It is time to take up arms against the carbon tax.

It is time for the media to be held accountable for the dishonesty and fearmongering over the carbon tax.

"and in not taking it seriously"
And there it is. They thought it was all in a box, apparently, that it would all blow over, as usual. That's what I was expecting too.

And against the backdrop of the Murdoch fiasco, Ackerman and Bolt decide it's a good time to incite violence against their enemies.

The downside of being an anglophone nation...

Any screeching, right-wing lunacy published in the US or UK can dribble onto our screens and papers entirely unfiltered or unedited. How often do we see newspaper articles repeated verbatim, and TV "news" stories complete with foreign voice-overs? Unprocessed talking points and hysteria by the ton!

And don't the local tories just love it! Witness the slide of the coalition (and it's supporters) into Tea Party territory.

But it beats watching Al Jazeera, eh? I mean... you can't trust them folks!

Lyn says:
they thought it was all in a box, apparently, that it would all blow over, as usual. That's what I was expecting too."

This is is a powerful wealthy family-run organisation that can, and has, effectively bought up politicians and police officers; and issuing instructions via their editorial columns to the nation's politicians, demanding they act on this or do that. Rebecca Brooks was more or less a part of the Conservative team. It was almost a shadow government, with a ruthless, brutal, coldblooded and shameless manner of doing business.

The crisis is a rupture to the established order in the UK ; a rupture in which three decades of fear amongst the political class has melted away. Will the bully boys be able to regroup? How long before the fear returns?

If News International still has the dirt on everyone, Murdoch has made a lot of enemies.

Annon, Rupert's dirt isn't worth the same weight any more. It would be pretty hard to trump victimising the family of a murdered girl.

The focus will stay on Rupert while there's still a chance one of his employees did something even more dastardly.

Clearly, Murdoch has lost control. The cover-up has been breached,even though he still thinks that he can control the crisis.

Murdoch and his inner circle are now looking for the time when the scandal is deprived of the new blood of fresh disclosures. And they are doubtless hoping that, when this happens, they can then go back on the attack against their accusers—charging them with unfair competition, muckraking, and any unethical actions they can dream up.

Murdoch is likely to fight to the bitter end with the belief that he can make even more money when this crisis passes.

Our democratic political system requires Murdoch to be gone, along with the cronies he has encouraged to pollute our politics.

Murdoch's 70% control of the print media in Australia is too high and undemocratic. News Ltd opposes any inquiry into the media or into journalistic accountability to reassure the public. They have too much power and they abuse it.

News Ltd should be broken up. Which politician will argue for that?

Will the Murdochs be moved out of News Corp by the other shareholders?

Paul Harris in The Guardian says that News Corp is not run like many normal companies.

Instead it has a dual share structure whereby its stock is split into two classes: 'A' shares that carry with them voting powers and 'B' shares that do not. This structure, with Murdoch and his family owning the biggest stakes in the 'A' shares, allows Murdoch to run the firm tightly without actually owning the majority of it.

The increasingly unnerved shareholders – who have seen the value of their investments lose hundreds of millions of dollars over the week – must think that such a structure is no longer a good idea.

Sorry, can't resist.

"I think we've handled the crisis extremely well" -reminds me of:
"The events at Fukushima illustrate how safe nuclear reactors really are."

[Sorry, can't source this precisely but it is a common claim among nuke apologists.]

Lyn says:
"The focus will stay on Rupert while there's still a chance one of his employees did something even more dastardly."

The focus is also shifting to Scotland Yard as information emerges that the police agency and News International became so intertwined that they wound up sharing the goal of containing the investigation into the phone hacking.

There are allegations that some officers were paid for confidential information by reporters at The News of the World

And now anyone who's socialised with a Murdoch or News International journo in the past 10 years is in the pooh. Murdoch is contagious, like a kind of Rupert plague.

The News International bullies have lost their ability to intimidate.

News Corp is about competition and destroying their enemy.Thus Rebecca Brooks comment that the affair would not be over until Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was "on his knees begging for mercy"

That looks wildly out of touch now that Brooks badly handled the crisis has resigned and been arrested; Les Hinton's head is on a plate; and that the Murdochs (Rupert and James) have been summoned to appear before a select committee at Parliament to answer some questions.

Murdoch is only sorry that he got caught out.

Fox News interpretation of the hacking scandal at News of the World.

They treat hacking as a problem and scandal but imply that the News of the World is a victim of the hacking problem, rather than as a perpetrator.

Bob Dilenschneider, a PR consultant, says how hacking is a big problem. It's happened at the Pentagon. It's happened at Citibank. It's happened at the News of the World.

Wow. Citibank and the Pentagon were the hackees -- the objects of hacking, by criminals or spies. Murdoch's News of the World was the hacker -- the perpetrator.

That's how they are managing a PR disaster that is tarnishing News Corp's corporate image.

My, my, my... oh, dear...

It's not hard to imagine the powerful and bent using the "victim" card to muddy the waters... standard procedure really.

And it WILL work to some degree.