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

Murdoch's cheek « Previous | |Next »
November 1, 2013

Rupert Murdoch rolls into town to deliver the Lowy Institute lecture in Sydney. It is entitled "The Global Australian". Most of it is pretty run of the mill rhetoric about global capitalism and a global, competitive Australia seen from the perspective of Murdoch's "unique insight and strategic vision".

What caught my eye is the passage where Murdoch talked about the three factors (a toolkit) that he says will make the global Australian even more competitive in the world ahead. These are Australian values, immigration and disruption. On the latter Murdoch says:

One of the few certainties we can have is that the 21st century will be a century of disruption. Australia must be the economy that thrives on disruption. Primarily we will do this through the key drivers of prosperity: trade, technology, and free markets.If we do these things, I promise you this: Australia will do more than prosper. Australia will lead.

Latter in the lecture he expands on this by referencing Joseph Schumpeter idea of the process of "creative destruction" as essential to capitalism and says that the current fashionable word to capture that sense of creative chaos is "disruption". He then gives News Corp and newspaper industry as an example of the status quo being disrupted by the growth of mobile communications.

This is where Murdoch is two faced. His newspapers have furiously defended the status quo against the disruption caused by renewable energy and broadband: defended old Australia against the shift to a low carbon, digital economy that is premised on being smart and clever. Murdoch's newspapers and columnists furiously campaigned for a conservative Abbott Government deeply opposed to this kind of Australia as a disruptive economy; to an Australia that values people and knowledge.

For these conservatives carbon pricing (the carbon tax) was socialism masquerading as environmentalism even though it was an emissions trading scheme, based on free market principles of pricing carbon. In doing so they hark back to the anti-communism of the Cold War. The conservative's conception of Australia's future in a global world is to lead us back to the past. So we have a strange sort of innovation and creativity.

Murdoch is still posing as "Murdoch the populist revolutionary" berating decadent elites. It's him and his guys against The New York Times, the B.B.C., the ABC and the establishment. As expected, there was no mention of the criminal trial at Old Bailey, London, where several former Murdoch employees in his tabloid press are facing charges over the phone-hacking scandal.

The theme of his Lowy lecture should have been "We won". Murdoch's commercial interest is to ensure that consumers are only able to get News Ltd's programmes through an aerial by paying Foxtel upfront first. He'll fight any regulation by the political class that stands in the way of Foxtel's growth into a monopoly.

What then is Murdoch's pound of flesh for supporting Abbott'? It could well be the abolition of anti-siphoning laws restricting the ability of pay-television operator Foxtel to exclusively broadcast first-run premier sports events. It is the restrictions on sport coverage. that stunt the growth of Foxtel.

Murdoch speaks on behalf of a class which has, in effect, seceded from the nation state. It is a class that:

floats free of tax and the usual bonds of citizenship, jetting from one jurisdiction to another as it seeks the most favourable havens for its wealth. It removes itself so thoroughly from the life of the nation that it scarcely uses even the roads. Yet, through privatisation and outsourcing, it is capturing the public services on which the rest of us depend.

This global class demands that the state stop regulating, stop protecting, stop intervening. When this abandonment causes financial crisis, the remaining taxpayers are forced to bail out the authors of the disaster, who then stash their bonuses offshore.

The Climate Change Authority’s recent draft report on caps and targets report says Australia cannot afford to delay climate action, and if it does so, then it risks becoming a “backwater’ in a global economy. Murdoch's opposition to decarbonisation of the economy means that Australia becomes a backwater.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:29 AM | | Comments (9)
Comments

Comments

"berating decadent elites."

Murdoch says that Australia had come a way to moving past the "stuffy narrow-minded elitism" of old, and had thrown off the "faux class war that has been served by contemporary politicians grasping for a theme". Clearly a reference to the previous Labor government.

Murdoch is fighting to defend the last of the old media empires. His newspapers are struggling to retain value in a digital world and show little nous about how to to meet the challenges of shrinking circulations.

The phone hacking scandals in the UK have done enormous damage to the Murdoch brand, and the trials could see trusted lieutenants (Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson) go to jail.

Old Australia consists of corporate campaigns for tax breaks and resource exploitation. It is Quarry Australia.

Old Australia also includes the authoritarian right, which is based around climate change denialism, a strong interest in race issues (especially concerning Muslims), a hatred of public broadcasting, antagonism to the welfare state and a determination to police what they see as the integrity of Western cultural values.

The neocons do love their "creative destruction"

Here's an old quote from Michael Ledeen (former Freedom Scholar with the American Enterprise Institute: "Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace..."

No doubt there will be some collateral damage that goes with the creative destruction. But who cares, right? As long as Ledeen and his mates get "to advance our historic mission" the world will be a better place. Apparently.

Just ask the people of Iraq...

Murdoch's policy is to misrepresents science to appease industrial lobbyists. for the oil, coal and gas sector. His newspapers never question the subsidising of fossil fuel companies by the government.

The kingmaking power of the Murdoch newspaper group in this country is now firmly established.

Murdoch is back in town. The Australian dutifully attacks the ABC. Some things never change.

"What then is Murdoch's pound of flesh for supporting Abbott?"

How about closer ties between Ten and Foxtel? How about allowing Murdoch to buy Ten Network?