I don’t know Rupert Murdock personally, nor do I know much about him. I do know he has been in the news of late associated in a legal scandal regarding part of his empire called News of the World in England.
My first question to myself was, “Why pick on just him?”
Of course, I distrust the news media as much as politicians, so, given all the examples out there of media bias and their corrupt policies, it’s hard to understand why he is getting so much media attention, until you read Cal Thomas and Andrew Bolt.
“Glee” is not just an American TV show, it is also the emotion many people feel and express toward the trouble Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is having, since they consider Murdoch’s properties a blight on their formerly pristine media landscape.There are two strains running through the phone-hacking scandal that monopolizes much of the media attention in the UK. One is the attitude of the mainstream media types who are frustrated by the success of Murdoch properties, most notably Fox News Channel in America (to which I contribute). They see Murdoch’s troubles with the now shuttered News of the World tabloid as an opportunity to destroy the Murdoch empire, which they have been unable to do by competing with it.
The second strain is legal. After the apparent suicide of a former News of the World reporter and unprecedented resignations of high-ranking officers at Scotland Yard, whose allegedly paid connections with News of the World are at the center of parliamentary and police inquiries, Labour and Tory politicians are positioning themselves for major political advantage.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the Justice Department is looking into allegations that employees of News International, a division of News Corp, hacked, or attempted to hack, into the phones of 9/11 victims. Several Democratic members of Congress and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have called for such an investigation.
The response to this by the British and American mainstream media reeks of hypocrisy. Whatever one thinks of the morality of paying for news stories, the British press, under Labour and Tory governments, have been doing it for years. Fleet Street was built on cash for gossip. American media are slightly more sophisticated in pursuing “exclusive” stories.
There are other forms of “payment” U.S. media make to politicians — mostly liberals — with whom they agree. They repeat the talking points of Democrats or refuse to challenge statements that are factually incorrect. They frequently fawn over people they like and challenge those they don’t like. Call it a political version of an “in-kind” contribution.
People who broke the law by hacking into phones should be punished, but this is more about liberal attempts to destroy Fox News, which liberals hate because it communicates ideas, issues and opinions that were mostly unavailable, or ignored, until the network launched in 1996. Fox News has not been implicated in the British phone hacking, but that won’t stop its enemies from trying to make the connection. MSNBC’s Martin Bashir compared Murdoch to Jack Abramoff and mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. There were similar over-the-top comments by other broadcast “journalists.”
People can debate Fox’s slogan “we report, you decide,” but the liberal mantra might more accurately be stated, “we distort, we decide.”
The faux “virgins” in big media like to portray themselves as “above” the standards and practices of media owned by Murdoch, but past behavior exposes them as two-faced. Examples: In 2003, the New York Times reported that, “Michael Jackson struck a deal with CBS to be paid in effect an additional $1 million for both an entertainment special … and his interview on “60 Minutes” … part of yearlong negotiations.” The news magazine denied paying Jackson for the interview, but an associate of Jackson’s said at the time the deal included the “60 Minutes” appearance.
According to one of Casey Anthony’s attorneys, ABC News paid $200,000 for photos of her dead daughter, Caylee. CBS News got off with a mere $20,000 “licensing fee” paid to Caylee’s grandparents.
When hero passenger Jasper Schuringa helped subdue the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, on a flight to Detroit and later snapped cellphone photos of the suspect being escorted off the plane in wrist restraints, CNN paid Schuringa a “licensing fee” for the images. CBS and ABC reportedly bid for the photos, according to TVNewser.com, ultimately earning Schuringa $18,000.
If tabloids paid British police for information, then that would be a violation of journalistic ethics, if they still exist. American journalists had better look to their own motivations before casting stones at Rupert Murdoch.
Whatever happens in Britain, Fox News will survive and prosper. And that will be a cause for glee to those who dislike reporting that comes from a single ideological worldview.
“Will you resign?” she asked.
After all, see what Murdoch minions did at the News of the World in London?
Yes, so evil is Murdoch considered by the Left, it made sense to this woman that even employees in Australia would resign rather than work for him.
Wow. As if I needed a reminder of how hysterical the Murdoch haters have become, and in orgasmically vengeful ways that threaten you, too.
Here’s the scandal. Several journalists on one tabloid newspaper in the News Corp empire some years ago allegedly hacked phones, paid off police and – in one particularly disgusting case – rummaged through the phone messages of a murdered schoolgirl.
Almost all Murdoch’s 53,000 employees would consider such behaviour vile. He says he’s appalled, and has closed the News of the World.
But, as I tried to tell the BBC, what happened in London seemed more a reflection of British culture than of Murdoch and his empire.
No one has alleged that Murdoch papers in Australia, for instance, have hacked phones, bribed police or paid crooks to steal information. That’s very English.
Indeed, on Thursday came news that British police had reopened investigations into the client list of a private investigator hired by News of the World – a list including 300 journalists from 31 publications, including the non-Murdoch Daily Mail and the Left-leaning Daily Mirror.
Those journalists reportedly lodged some 4000 requests for confidential information; much obtained illegally.
Yes, there’s something about the British public and its appetites that has invited such wide-boy journalism, with its grotesque impertinences, envious prying and gleeful comeuppances, little of which would be tolerated by the public here.
Nor would much of it be tolerated by our laws, which already make it an offence to hack into stored communications, including SMS and voicemail messages.
That’s not to say there haven’t been journalists who’ve breached the privacy of those they write about or even used stolen information.
It’s just that they happen to be among those jeering loudest at Murdoch.
Take Bruce Guthrie, a sacked editor of the Herald Sun now claiming he’d known Murdoch as a boss who saw “ethics or, at least, the discussion of them, as an inconvenience”.
Yet Guthrie not only worked happily for such a man, but then wrote a book in which he reported on dozens of private conversations with his former colleagues, including two with me, breaching my privacy.
Or see The Age, thundering that Murdoch must go, and gloating how its own code “ruled out the unethical and illegal behaviour that has been exposed in Britain”.
Well, ours does too, actually. Yet this same Age signed a deal for the exclusive local access to thousands of stolen US diplomatic cables that it has published with little public benefit to excuse it.
Of course, the hypocrisy and kick-them-while-they’re-down instinct of competitors is understandable.
What is mad, though, is the conviction among many of the Left that Murdoch is truly evil and unimaginably powerful.
I’ve seen columnists and politicians describe the humbling of Murdoch as like the “fall of the Berlin Wall” or the opening of a jail. Hence that question from the BBC.
You can see where this comes from. The Left has long claimed it speaks for the masses, yet Murdoch has exposed this fiction, simply by offering the public alternative voices in the media. Conservative ones.
That’s been the secret to his success. He hasn’t forced anyone to read The Sun in London or watch Fox News in the US. He’s simply offered a choice, and most times the public prefers what he’s selling.
But who in the Left wants to believe they’ve been shunned by the masses. It’s far easier to think the mob was tricked by a shyster with evil powers that should be curbed by law.
But all that hyperventilating would be just an intellectual freak show, if the Gillard Government and the Greens hadn’t seized on this excuse for some payback.
The Greens have long been furious at the scrutiny Murdoch papers such as The Australian have given their madder policies, when they get a pass from the ABC and Fairfax press.
Likewise, although half the Murdoch papers here foolishly backed the Government at the last federal election, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy are convinced they’re all now campaigning for “regime change”.
The Government overlooks the fact that it’s been so terrible that no responsible paper could avoid printing the awful truth.
And it also makes the Left’s mistake of treating the public as fools who must have been convinced not by their eyes but by the Murdoch spin.
But see what the Greens and Labor now threaten, hoping to intimidate the Murdoch papers.
Greens leader Bob Brown wants an inquiry into the ownership of papers by “foreigners” such as Murdoch, and into the range of opinions they offer. Given he was shaking a copy of The Australian as he spoke, we know which opinions he wants less of.
Gillard says she’s open to an inquiry, and claims Murdoch papers in Australia have “hard questions to answer” because some reporters on one British paper once did bad things. Hmmm.
And Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor claims the News of the World scandal shows we need new laws for a “right to privacy”, further eroding free speech, even though what was done there is already illegal here.
Of course, these threats aren’t only to cow the Murdoch press. The Government is also trying to deflect from its failures.
And look at this column. It’s worked. Or not.