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Two wise monkeys

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, July 20th, 2011 - 16 comments
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Stayed up to watch the Murdochs testifying before a House of Commons committee. They didn’t know a thing about phone hacking. They were let down by those under them. Rupert said it was “the most humble day of my life”. That would be right; Murdochs don’t do humble. It will be a totally new experience.  And they don’t interfere in  politics. Rupert went in the back door of Downing Street at Cameron’s request to be thanked for  the Sun’s support in the 2010 campaign, had a cup of tea and discussed “nothing else”. Yeah right.

Rupert Murdoch has been heavily involved in political manipulation for years. I’m currently reading a fascinating book “The Murdoch Archipelago” by Bruce Page. Published in 2003, it precedes all the current drama. At the moment I’m up to the story of Murdoch’s involvement in the sacking of the Whitlam government in Australia in 1975. Murdoch backed Whitlam in 1972, then switched in 1975 and the Australian attacked Whitlam and supported Kerr, the Governor-General who dismissed his government. At least the journalists had some guts in those days. Page relates how:

“on 28 October (1974) the in-house committee of the Australian Journalists Association wrote to Murdoch that the paper’s political coverage was ‘blind, biased, tunnel-visioned, ad hoc, logically confuse and relentless … (characterised by) .. the deliberate or careless slanting of headlines, seemingly blatant imbalance in news presentation [and0 political censorship.’ 75 editorial staff signed, in spite of the known fate of dissidents inside News.”

In the years since, all the dissidents have been systematically removed and replaced with sycophants like Rebekah Brooks. The Murdoch media have been driven downmarket with a cynical disregard for the intelligence and the values of their readers and  viewers. News of the World in England and Fox news in the United States are the new benchmark.

As for James Murdoch, it was fascinating to compare his careful, detailed, fluttery-eyed, excessively chronological flim-flam with the braggadocio of his 2009 McTaggart lecture at Edinburgh where he attacked the BBC, the regulator OFCom, and said that the only criterion for successful news was profit.

There were no smoking guns, the highest point of drama was the right hook administered by Rupert Murdoch’s latest wife Wendy Deng on the protestor who stuck a shaving-cream pie in Murdoch’s face. But I am inclined to agree with The Slog that NewsCorp investors who do have an interest in profit will see both the Murdoch’s, the dodderer and the dissembler,  as unfit to run the company in the future. At a time when this particular piece of parliamentary theatre drove currency meltdown in the EU and budget high noon in the US off the front page, what we may have witnessed was the beginning of the end of the Murdoch dynastic dream. Good riddance.

16 comments on “Two wise monkeys ”

  1. Agreed Mike.
    The late great Dennis Potter summed up Rupert Murdoch very well.
    He talked about Murdoch being responsible for the pollution of the UK press and thereby political discourse and correctly identified the control over politics that Murdoch has enjoyed.
    Time to break up the monopoly.

    • marsman 1.1

      ‘Time to break up the monopoly’. Time to do the same with Steven Joyce’s Taxpayer subsidised Mediaworks?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Thats actually not good enough because a break up (alone) will not achieve the goal of getting good journalism and investigative news reporting back on the air.

  2. mik e 2

    WHO,S going to be the fall guy or girl.OliverNorth was Bush,s fall guy, To seal of this fiasco someone is going to have to take the rap lets start a syndicate.

  3. You have left off the name of two other wise monkeys, the metropoltain police commissioner and his deputy. Had they not dodged the hacking issue when it first came to their attention both Murdoch’s and their accomplice Brooks would have been stopped sooner.

    Do we now live in an age where top police brass and the media protect one another?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Do we now live in an age where top police brass and the media protect one another?

      Alliances of convenience

      Same with the financial elite and elected representatives

      In the US its the Bankers Party and the Other Bankers Party

  4. freedom 4

    “Do we now live in an age where top police brass and the media protect one another?”

    try since time immemorial and the media consisted of guys walking around hollering stuff,
    -but even then they never mentioned the village guards asleep in the gateway

    • Treetop 4.1

      In the last few weeks I have noticed an unhealthy situation between the previous two NZ commissioners of police and the media. It is to do with Squire a QC being appointed by Robinson in 2004 to look into the allegations of perjury and the harm being an undercover cop caused. In 2008 Broad appointed Squire to look into Patrick O’ Briens allegations of multiple perjury. I am left asking why Squire was appointed again? Why have the media not linked the 2004 perjury allegations with the 2008 allegations? It is now two years since Squire interviewed O’ Brien.

  5. bobo 5

    Watched it most of the night was great political theater, but the pie chucker played right into the Murdoch’s hands for the sympathy vote. The police inquiry committee which was on earlier that night was much more focused questioning not letting the interviewees ramble on or make long winded statements unlike the Murdoch inquiry which was much softer. Makes me wonder if the news inc can easily buy their way into the elite police favour what about organized crime in general.

  6. rosy 6

    For me, the most unbelievable line was Rebekah Brooks saying she’s not even sure what a police informant is. Close runner-up was Murdoch Snr saying he went through the back door of Downing Street after the election because ‘he does what he’s told’. The most cynical was the Downing Street advisor who turned down being briefed by the police so that Cameron could say he didn’t know about the phone hacking. And the winning summary is

    Yet it says something about the banquet of horrors on offer that Tuesday’s most exquisite irony did not even occur in a Westminster committee room. That honour surely belonged to David Cameron, literally sweating in Lagos as he was forced to address the growing perception of Britain as a banana republic. The prime minister wasn’t accompanied by the Nigerian president – presumably the latter declined to share the podium with him on the basis that doing so could appear to tacitly legitimise the corruption that appears to be systemic in his opposite number’s country. “This is a big problem,” conceded Cameron of Britain’s rapidly unravelling establishment. “But we are a big country.”

    I’d be interested in whether the economic theory on economies of scale include the inefficiencies of large-scale corruption in service industries. Media companies shouldn’t be able to be so dominant.

  7. Bored 7

    Just watched Murdoch and son. The patsy committee failed to ask the obvious: how did this happen on your watch? What checks and balances does your business employ to prevent this?

    On both of the above counts I would wager that these over inflated egos are guilty as sin: even if they did not know they should have because hacking was so endemic on their watch.

    Now we see the sickening spectacle of Murdoch blaming the troops, the standard approach of cowardly back office generals. Even more sickening has been the media response (they would say that wouldnt they…they are paid to by…you guessed it). More pukesome still are the share market folk who responded to this fiasco by buying big pushing up Murdochs share prices.

    We are viewing a microcosm of an unwholesome system: the first smeary views of the dirty underwear of our plutocracy.

  8. Bill 8

    And the rest of the mainstream ‘tut-tuts’ but essentially acts as a closed shop to protect, if not one of its own, then the decrepid culture that he and they vomit from our airwaves and news print in the name of journalism.

    It doesn’t matter if Murdoch stays or goes. That’s incidental.

    The gossip and tittle tattle that passes as journalism and news these days will be safeguarded and will persist. that’s the real news.

    And the protection of such a dismal state of affairs would be a real topical expose for any media to pursue; not the soap of cream pies, slap downs and Murdoch and son’s survival/demise.

    • ropata 8.1

      Aside from gossip and tittle tattle our news media also uncritically sees news through a lens of left vs right, always in conflict. It’s not in the papers’ interest to expose the class exploitation, warmongering, and corporate complicity that have been perpetrated since Reagan and Thatcher took power. Governments for decades have failed in their duty (serving the wellbeing of the nation) and newspapers have failed to hold them to account, preferring to chase ambulances

  9. rooty 9

    News Corp share price went up 6%. Punters are happy that the murdochs did enough to see off all the whiners

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