I shouldn’t need to re-hash the myriad ways in which Rupert Murdoch has been incorporated (hehe... get it?) into a thousand usually, but not always, plausible-sounding conspiracies. Of course they aren’t really conspiracies, as he is the only constant in the lot of them – more of a one-man crusade. The man is generally cast by the left as a media tyrant of oligarchic proportions and by the right as the ultimate champion of free-market libertarianism. Now, in Britain, the possibility of his gaining the part of BSkyB that he doesn’t already own in concert with his alleged (or, rather more honestly, definite) political machinations to achieve that end, have landed him in the sights of online campaigners, such as Avaaz, once again.
Whilst there is little doubt that the guy is on the right of the political spectrum in his personal views, I have to say that – in his actions – he would appear to me to be a completely amoral actor. As long as his interests are taken care of, he really doesnt care who the hell he manipulates, ahem! I mean supports. Whether he’s encouraging the downright LIES of Fox ‘News’, propping up communist censorship and propaganda in China or flip-flopping between Labour and the Conservatives, it’s all pure pragmatism with Murdoch. Perhaps he could be better described as ‘I’-moral.
So how disturbed should we be by the recent developments in Britain. Let’s try and keep it brief (if only to get his shrivelled pus out of my head ASAP): Ofcom, the British media regulator, has made a statement regarding the anti-competitive nature of the buyout, along with a memo from media analyst Claire Enders to Vince Cable (read The Sun‘s response to Ofcom’s report in this excellent Guardian article, noting how similar the LIES are to Fox News-style reporting). Liberal Democrat MP Vince was appointed to decide the case but, following some not-so-sensible comments relating to Vince’s feelings about Murdoch, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron had him replaced by one Jonathan Hunt (Oooh, had he only been named Mike…). Mr. Hunt, by contrast, has this to say about the bid:
“Rather than worry about Rupert Murdoch owning another TV channel, what we should recognise is that he has probably done more to create variety and choice in British TV than any other single person”
Hmm…OK, fair enough, not quite as blatant as Vince’s War commentary, but nonetheless blatant enough. Hands up who thinks he will be an impartial judge. Any takers? Oh, right, The Sun, of course. To compound the issue, shortly after a meeting with Murdoch, Cameron announced that he would be reducing Ofcom’s mandate to a practically advisory role. Funny that. Coincidence, to be sure. Or not. As I have said, there’s really no need to re-hash Murdoch’s chequered history here, all you need to do is read his Wikipedia entry to see that this is another extension of the same tactics he has always played. Further, you only have to read The Sun or watch Fox News to get a feel for the great “variety and choice” he has introduced to TV the world over. And if you need me to explain why monopolies aren’t good, well… go look up media plurality test.
Come on folks, let’s nip this while we can. Sign one of the online petitions and let’s spoil this old prunes fun.