Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Murdoch Empire Strikes Back

Long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, Murdoch extended his media empire to cover the Sun, the Sky, and much else besides.

He had a simple vision: rich and powerful people like him would be praised, poor and vulnerable people like the jobless and refugees would be condemned, and any politician who doesn’t support him would be vilified. One part of his empire was even known for hacking into the phones of public figures, including politicians, to dig up information which could be used against them.

But many were beginning to get fed up with the imperious arrogance of the emperor, and when he plotted to take even greater control of the few media outlets outside his clutches, an opposition was formed to stop him. It could be a new dawn – people might once again find truth in the media and not be battered by the insidious propaganda onslaught launched by Murdoch and his henchmen.

Alas, Cameron has come to the emperor’s rescue. A great admirer of Murdoch’s vision of the world, he learnt from the master by hiring one of his most trusted lieutenants, the one who presided over the phone-hacking division of the empire, and then met with the emperor’s son to talk about what would be in their mutual interest to discuss (we cannot tell you what exactly they discussed because in case evidence should come forth about any gross impropriety, Cameron has refused to disclose the contents of their conversation ahead of the Government’s decision to refer or not Murdoch’s latest takeover bid to the Competition Commission).

Now all the promise of halting Murdoch’s latest bid to expand his media empire even further, of giving it scrutiny and tight controls, has vanished. There will be no referral to the Competition Commission. Murdoch, with Cameron’s connivance, can do whatever he wants. In return, Murdoch’s media will no doubt praise Cameron to the sky.

The only ‘concession’ is that while Murdoch will continue to fund Sky News, he would not be ‘personally’ directing its editorial policy. Sky News will tell its audience whatever it wants to regardless of its paymaster. Cameron is very satisfied with this. It is a very good step forward for everyone. If you don’t believe it, you can tune into Sky News, or read the Sun, or the News of the World, or if you want to follow the story about why pigs can fly thanks to the latest Republican Party policies, there’s always Fox News.

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