Trashing Rupert Murdoch
Weeks behind the story, the Washington Post is catching up. The story is not about the mouth pieces for the publisher-broadcaster. Instead, the story should be about the mogul, Rupert Murdoch, throwing his weight around and undermining journalism with a brand of propaganda and entertainment that exploits the bottom-feeding public. If he is going to do this sort of thing, at least give to us the quality of London papers for instance. Want to see an example of higher quality quasi-journalism look at them.
“The rage Murdoch wrought
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Amid the recent hubbub over the violent and paranoid rhetoric that stems from much of the American right, one name has been conspicuously absent. We've heard a great deal about Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly - the usual suspects. We've heard very little about the man who employs many of them for his financial and political gain: Rupert Murdoch.
Most coverage of Murdoch for the past couple weeks, in fact, suggests a very different story. The Good Rupert has been hard at work with Apple's Steve Jobs developing a digital newspaper, to be called the Daily, for the iPad. Veteran journalists have been hired. For a modest fee, reports the New York Times, readers will be able to subscribe and have the Daily pop up on their iPad tablets every morning.
If it succeeds, the Daily will join Murdoch's Wall Street Journal as two of the very few newspapers for which readers are willing to pay to read online. This is why Murdoch is often hailed, even by people who detest his politics, as a kind of journalistic savior - the man who
The other Murdoch story of recent weeks concerns the attempt of his company, News Corp., to buy Britain's Sky Broadcasting company, and whether the ongoing police investigation into illegal hacking by reporters at one of Murdoch's British papers, News of the World, will make government regulators less inclined to approve the deal. But the deal has raised additional concerns - chiefly, whether combining News Corp. and Sky will give Murdoch too much control over news in the United Kingdom. An Enders Analysis study of Sky's ratings and News Corp. readership concluded that 22 percent of the news that Brits consume would come from the merged conglomerate.
Even if Murdoch had no clearly defined political agenda, that level of concentration would still raise huge questions - about, for instance, such a company's ability to slant news in ways that enhanced its financial prospects, or its market power to exclude certain stories from public scrutiny. The political slanting of news from News Corp. outlets, however, is conscious and constant. Consider, for instance, the memo (subsequently leaked) that Fox News Vice President Bill Sammon sent at the height of the health-care debate, shortly after Republican pollster Frank Luntz said on Sean Hannity's Fox show that Americans were split on a "public" option but that when it was called a "government option," voters overwhelmingly opposed it. Sammon directed news staffers to "use the term 'government-run health insurance,' or, when brevity is a concern, 'government option,' whenever possible."”
My take from January 11th