Friday, July 8, 2011

Rupert Murdoch and the Buying of America

Rupert Murdoch
The explosive cell phone hacking scandal that has led to the closing of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World in Great Britain and a re-examination of a government that worked hand in glove with the media mogul should--not "could," but "should"--have repercussions here.

Murdoch's closing of the largest circulation paper in England is more a cynical effort at covering his own media-grabbing butt than regret for the practice of a kind of journalism the free world should never tolerate. (Here's the story in the NYTimes today if you need details on how/why.)

He apparently plans--without skipping a beat--to make the Sunday-only Sun a daily newspaper and hopes the scandal doesn't interrupt plans to buy a huge British satellite TV system (BSkyB).

Murdoch is to journalism what Rush Limbaugh is to free political speech: a power-mongering distortionist whose every act has to do with control and money. He's an Australian who became an American in 1985 to complete a business deal (buying TV stations) not available to foreigners. He brought us Fox News in 1986 and undertook partisan reporting on a scale not seen since the 19th Century in this country. A year ago, he bought the revered Wall Street Journal, whose brand these days is splattered with Murdoch mud (ask anybody at Carilion).

Murdoch is reportedly worth $6.3 billion and was ranked as the 13th most powerful person in the world by Forbes Magazine in 2010.

Properties owned by Murdoch have distorted politics in this country and helped divide an electorate with a constant pounding of lies, misinformation and partisan politicking. Murdoch, upon finally arranging a meeting with Barack Obama (who apparently has no use for him or his news outlets), replied to an Obama complaint that he had been portrayed as a terrorist and foreigner on Fox by saying if Obama had simply played ball with the empire, he would not have been viewed as such.

One of the primary problems we're facing here is that Murdoch, like so many others in power positions, lock in their power by buying Congress. Our representatives are no better in this respect than Third World potentates with their gaudy-uniformed palace guards. They're corrupt and Murdoch is one of those corrupting them. With our primary legal arm owned by him and those like him, he's not likely to suffer repercussions regardless of what he does. And that's damn sad.


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