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

the hacks defend the Murdochs « Previous | |Next »
July 19, 2011

Here we have an editorial in the Wall Street Journal in the US defending Murdoch re the phone hacking scandal in the UK, which News International tried to contain. This crisis, which raises fundamental questions about the culture of collusion between politicians, the police and the press and reveals a deep malaise in British life about those opposed to democracy, is dismissed by the WST editorial as the political mob wanting to regulate how journalists gather the news.

In Australia, News Ltd is also wheeling out a defence of the News of the World's behaviour with Brendan O'Neill's Elite few spearhead the anti-Murdoch campaign over phone-hacking scandal in todays Australian.


It's a pathetic defence as it doesn't address the issue of the unaccountability of the trashy hack journalism practiced by some of the Murdoch tabloid titles or some of their journalists breaking the law:

what we are witnessing in Britain is a media coup led by a tiny gaggle of illiberal liberals...These self-interested crusaders may pose as warriors against alleged criminality in the tabloid press, but their true target is the culture of the tabloid press, the age-old arts of muckraking and sabre-rattling, which they consider vulgar and offensive. Under the guise of ending illegal phone-hacking, they're really pursuing a culture war against what they view as the ugly, mass, populist media.

O'Neil, who is the editor of Spiked, says it's some celebs and politicians getting revenge on Murdoch and this intolerant cultural tide will result in the end of press freedom. There is no mention of the Murdoch's running something close to a protection racket in the UK.

ONeil's defence of Murdoch is a both a de facto defence of News Ltd having 70 per cent Australian newspaper market share and Murdoch's tabloids being above the law. Its a defence of the abuse of press freedom. It is corporate power posing as a defence of press freedom.

This is corporate power whose business as usual practices to make profits includes criminal acts by journalists and editors; interception of communications; payments to policemen; theft of medical data; hacking; illegal copying; maybe lying in court and parliament; theft and intimidation and threat.

Murdoch has too much power in Australia. Thomas Clarke says that Australia’s cross-media ownership regulation simply is not working to achieve the principles of media access, freedom and diversity that it is supposed to protect.

We need media reform in Australia, yet the best that Paul Keating could do on Lateline was call for tougher privacy laws and confirm the blindingly obvious that News Ltd was currently at war with the Gillard Government. Yet there is the News Corp managed Foxtel endeavouring to take over Austar for $2.7 billion thereby creating an Australian pay-TV monopoly---the ACCC is currently looking over the takeover.

What's more News Ltd ought to be broken up. Or the newspapers sold off. It is too dominant. The real battle that Murdoch must win is in the USA and News Corp may sell of the newspapers in the US and Australia to protect the centre of the Murdoch empire in the US.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:54 PM | | Comments (10)


OH FFS! Who is going to swallow this tripe about News International being the defenceless vicitim????

You'd think that some of the MP's would be saying something about how News Ltd systematically abuses its power over Australian democracy and the police. Not a peep about the problem of press unaccountability or the press as a feral beast--eg., the Daily Telegraph's partisan campaign that the carbon tax will send the country broke.

The MP's know about "impact journalism" in which truth and balance had become secondary to the desire for (untruthful) stories to boost sales and be taken up by other media outlets.

Are the MP's staying silent because of fear about being bashed up by the schoolyard bully?

"You'd think that some of the MP's would be saying something about how News Ltd systematically abuses its power over Australian democracy and the police. "

Government ministers at present have a fear and loathing of the News Limited stable. They believe News, through its aggressive reporting of the BER scheme and the National Broadband Network (in The Australian) and the tabloids' campaign for a fresh election, is trying to destroy the Gillard Government.

And they are dead right. There is a "feral" News Limited scare campaign against carbon pricing---these reforms will slash jobs, destroy communities, ruin the economy--- and the Greens. It's not just anti-Labor bias--it is a scare campaign based on untruths:--lies, distortions and misrepresentations.

The Australian is quite spiteful and petty when it is criticized.

Re Mars, of course no one beleives them.
They're looking for a coathanger to hook back the keys to the kingdom they've lost; first try, the red smear.
Re Sue's comment concerning their vindictivness, that's the impression I got watching Riley and Gillard the other day, when cornered, she turned on him and the assembled press, with a firm injunction to
"stop writing crap"

Shaving cream pie in the face. What a classic! That just sums up news. Could only of been topped by Murdoch's wife pulling out a sword and doing the restaurant scene from Kill Bill.

Funny the committee thing with pie-kill.
At first you laughed, until you realised it could have a bod with caustic soda or a gun or bomb.
Cameron has been made an ass of and Murdoch had another narrow squeak, with procedings shut down for a while, when Murdoch looked tired and fazed..
Speaking of squeak, most people will know by now that Wendy Deng has acheived instant permanent heroine status, in her redoubable defence of her man !!

I watched it the questioning of the police by the House of Commons Committee and the questioning of the Murdochs. I gave up--my internet connection failed--- before the pie incident.

Tom Watson was the best MP--his questioning was informed, forensic and on target. Paul Farrelly was the only MP got good information when he asked the father and son if News International had been continuing to pay the legal bills of Glenn Mulcaire in any way. Mulcaire had hacked the phone of the family of Milly Dowler. So much for the sincerity of News International's apology to the family.

The template of the Murdoch's and Brooks was the same: We weren't involved, weren't there, didn't know, nobody told us, thank you. Secondly, there was no failure of governance because the News of the World was simply too insignificant to warrant their attention. However, they were the best people to clean the stables out.

Peter Costello comes out against a media inquiry in THe Age. He argues his case on bias. He never mentions that Murdoch owns 70% of the print media in Australia and avoids the issue of power and media dominance.

another defence offered by journalists is that there is pressure on them to lower their standards because of competition from the blogosphere.

That neatly evades the tabloid practices of phone activity, paying the police, political campaigning and writing fiction dressed up as fact.

Another defence in The Australian in response to the push for greater privacy protection is that put forward by Cassandra Wilkinson. The deflection is that its not the media that's invading our privacy, it's the government. This refers to the trend to regulate recreation, speech and consumption even further and the government could improve privacy rights simply by keeping its own nose out of other people's business.

Wilkinson makes no mention of the tabloid media's practices at all. They are innocent.