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Lies, damned lies, and News Corp.
August 1, 2011 8:15 PM   Subscribe

As the empire of Murdoch begins to fall, descriptions of the harm his empire has caused are appearing.
posted by bitmage (49 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Weak sauce.
posted by awfurby at 8:27 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rupert Murdoch is basically why libertarianism is wrong.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:29 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Even if Murdoch falls you'll have Clear Channel, Liberty Media and others picking up and carrying on.
posted by humanfont at 8:30 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Grimgrin: Perhaps Libertarianism, but not libertarianism. Whether or not you capitalize the L makes a huge difference.
posted by Ardiril at 8:32 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


After this scandal broke, Rupert Murdoch spent a couple of weeks defending News International CEO and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, saying she was his "top priority", before finally accepting her resignation. Long before she resigned, Brooks said that someone would have to take the blame for the hacking of victims, and made allusions to Sara Payne, the mother of murdered Sarah Payne. The last issue of the News of the World included an op-ed from Sara Payne, thanking the newspaper for supporting and publicizing her cause, and also for giving her a cellphone with which to co-ordinate her anti-pedophile charity.

It now turns out that Brooks had physically handed the hacked phone to Sara Payne, so her staff could listen in on newsworthy conversations.

What kind of a man would want to continue employing someone like that, in the knowledge that their disgusting actions might soon become public? Someone who considers himself invincible.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:33 PM on August 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


What kind of a man would want to continue employing someone like that, in the knowledge that their disgusting actions might soon become public?

An asshole.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Burn baby, burn.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:41 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do people really think this scandal will cause his empire to fall? Seems unlikely.
posted by Coventry at 8:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Aren't we fairly happy if James Murdoch doesn't get to run the show?
posted by jeffburdges at 8:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What kind of a man would want to continue employing someone like that, in the knowledge that their disgusting actions might soon become public?

This is exactly how I feel about our gardener keeping chopped up bodies in the tool shed.
posted by swift at 8:49 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm no fan of Murdoch or his papers, but the "harm they caused" is pretty tiny compared to the New York Times and "yellowcake uranium." There have always been tabloids in countries with a free press, and there always will be.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whether or not you capitalize the L makes a huge difference.

Small-l libertarianism also requires a wilful ignorance of economics.
posted by pompomtom at 8:58 PM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


I think we'll find that the business interests of News Corp globally will be mostly unaffected by the current British imbroglio.
posted by killdevil at 9:08 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm no fan of Murdoch or his papers, but the "harm they caused" is pretty tiny compared to the New York Times and "yellowcake uranium."

I think you're forgetting or aren't aware of the extent of the effects of Fox News on the politics and worldview of the USA.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:16 PM on August 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


It's the "If I could go back in time and kill Hitler" bullshit. There's always gonna be a bigger jack ass to take his place.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 9:20 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you're forgetting or aren't aware of the extent of the effects of Fox News on the politics and worldview of the USA.

See also: The Australian.
posted by pompomtom at 9:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Lets kick an old man while he's down





I kid - lets kick
posted by the noob at 9:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


See also: The Australian.

The Herald Sun.
The Daily Telegraph
The Courier Mail
The Adelaide Advertiser
The Hobart Mercury

it's ll the same bile with regional flavourings

Man the one for the really lazy - MX where the wold news section is labelled "boring but important"
posted by the noob at 9:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I realllllllly hope that this leads to Murdoch blowing up in a Col Jessup/Monty Burns moment of hubristic truth.

"Did you order the "code red?!"
"You're god damn right I did!!! I should be able to run over as many kids as I want!"

Tho I may be mixing quotations here.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:46 PM on August 1, 2011


Well, yeah, but the Hun and MX are obviously shit, and the rest aren't common in Melbourne.
posted by pompomtom at 9:46 PM on August 1, 2011


It's the "If I could go back in time and kill Hitler" bullshit. There's always gonna be a bigger jack ass to take his place.

To be fair, if you can remove the jackass every ten years or so, the damage is reduced. It takes awhile to build up an evil media conglomerate from disparate parts.
posted by zvs at 10:16 PM on August 1, 2011


We know about all of these things before the recent scandal, and it didn't change a damn thing.
posted by furtive at 10:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


never underestimate the unbearable lightness of being.
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 PM on August 1, 2011


Murdoch's empire will survive, because people are far more stimulated by fear-based scenarios that result in cult-like cooperative action, than truly open societies. It's not left vs. right - not at all. Rather, it's highly structured metaphorical representations of the world as a dangerous place (conservatives) vs. the world as a place where nurturing and love conquer all. That's the basic view it's somewhat more complicated than that, but everything flows from that. The Murdoch's of the world are defeated only by never-ending vigilance. Now that so many have been seduced into believing that "Murdoch is watching out for them", they are effectively euthanized against that vigilance, like the living dead. Actually, there isn't too much difference between that sort of person, and a fervent believer in Mao - ironic, huh?
posted by Vibrissae at 10:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


Weak sauce.

Article to long?
posted by the noob at 10:50 PM on August 1, 2011


Well, yeah, but the Hun and MX are obviously shit, and the rest aren't common in Melbourne.

But no less shit. The Tele is an unhinged rant.
posted by the noob at 10:52 PM on August 1, 2011


Fox News is far from the only American division of News Corp. to be pressed into service, checkbook in hand, when Murdoch’s interests—financial at least as much as ideological—are at stake. One classic example occurred in 1995, after the Federal Communications Commission questioned whether Murdoch had misled it in 1985, when News Corp., then based in Australia, secured Fox broadcast licenses despite a federal law limiting foreign ownership of local stations to 25 percent. The matter died soon after the News Corp. book division HarperCollins offered the then–Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, a $4.5 million advance.

Ugh.

As David Carr recently wrote in his Times column, a Murdoch division in the newspaper-advertisement-insert business, News America Marketing, was accused of hacking into a rival company’s password-protected computer system, stealing proprietary information and then spreading “malicious information” about that competitor. Embarrassing testimony in the ensuing federal trial in New Jersey was abruptly shut down when News Corp. paid out a $29.5 million settlement and then bought outright the tiny company that had brought the case. Rather remarkably, News America Marketing alone has shelled out roughly two-thirds of a billion dollars—nearly the domestic gross of Avatar—to settle similarly ugly suits under its chief executive, Paul Carlucci.

UGH.

News Corp.'s dominance is like the aggressively unsexy real life version of those cyberpunk dystopias where everything's privatized and propaganda is everywhere.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:16 PM on August 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Whether or not you capitalize the L makes a huge difference.

Small-l libertarianism also requires a wilful ignorance of economics.


Pretty sure that in some non-American countries 'libertarianism' is all the good bits - belief in free speech, for one.

But yeah, Fox News has damned him. Hate what he did to my country.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:41 AM on August 2, 2011



I think you're forgetting or aren't aware of the extent of the effects of Fox News on the politics and worldview of the USA.

See also: The Australian.


The Australian is about 50% sane.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:41 AM on August 2, 2011


It's not the asshole, but the 40 million assholes who follow the asshole that I'm worried about.

I can't really begrudge one man his crazy crackpot ideas too much. It's far more troublesome when so many people choose to elevate him to a position of power. Wish there was something we could do about THOSE people.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:12 AM on August 2, 2011


News Corp.'s dominance is like the aggressively unsexy real life version of those cyberpunk dystopias where everything's privatized and propaganda is everywhere.

The very name "News Corporation" is program.
posted by Skeptic at 2:19 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, there isn't too much difference between that sort of person, and a fervent believer in Mao - ironic, huh?

If the Typhonian brood of Murdoch is like the Hydra, growing ever more heads one head is decapitated, then they are not like the Maoists. Because the Maoists are making a glorious living in China, selling Maoist kitsch to rich Chinese, trying to get rich themselves by communist livin. That would mean that the fundamental tenets of the Murdochists can be subverted, too- good news for the world.
posted by curuinor at 2:21 AM on August 2, 2011


Do people really think this scandal will cause his empire to fall? Seems unlikely.

Because the conservatives who consume his media are so totally bereft of moral values that they really don't care if their chief propagandist hacks the cell phones of grieving victims?

We *still* don't read The Sun in Liverpool -- twenty years after that newspaper pissed all over our grieving victims. You can't give the damn thing away here -- and believe me, they've tried.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:02 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Murdoch's empire will die with him, and not before. I think the guy is a genius and completely irreplaceable. James Murdoch is probably no brighter than I am - the idea that he can fill his father's shoes is laughable.

If there were a few more folk with the heart that the Mickey Mousers have shown (translation : people who live in Liverpool) then Murdoch's empire would not have got off the ground. But most people are a lot more like Gingrich - they can be bought and sold by whoever has cash.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 4:25 AM on August 2, 2011


As the empire of Murdoch begins to fall...
Fall?
Hardly.
I think people are extrapolating a bit too linearly from the current dip in the NewsCorp road. You don't hold so much power and influence over people in high places for no good reason. It's times like these that you remind them that you have maps to where all the bodies are buried and suggest they act accordingly.

Oh, it's very possible that the old man will step down into some sort of emeritus position, and the boy will take over the whole shebang. But, NewsCorp will weather this period and come out smelling as foul as ever.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:50 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's August, it's silly season. Nothing happens in UK politics in August. Come back in September.
posted by fullerine at 4:56 AM on August 2, 2011


While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened - there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind - the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight - my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder - there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters - and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher ."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:57 AM on August 2, 2011


We *still* don't read The Sun in Liverpool -- twenty years after that newspaper pissed all over our grieving victims. You can't give the damn thing away here -- and believe me, they've tried.
Who's "we?" Linking to a blog post which starts with "A surprising number of people seem unaware of the boycott of The Sun by supporters of Liverpool Football Club" doesn't do much to strengthen your claim.
posted by Coventry at 6:07 AM on August 2, 2011


I think "we" refers to Liverpool as a whole. Whilst Everton fans wouldn't piss on a Liverpool fan if he were on fire, the ones that I know still won't buy The Sun.
posted by ob at 6:11 AM on August 2, 2011


Murdoch's empire will die with him, and not before. I think the guy is a genius and completely irreplaceable.

There's quite a few words for people with this attitude--people who can't help being beguiled and seduced by their own fascination with the depravity and lack of conventional moral restraint of so-called "great men" who make careers out of unnecessary and excessive displays of "power." They are not pretty words, though, so in the interest of promoting civility, I'll leave it as an exercise for you to investigate them on your own.

A simple Google search offers a nice entry point into the subject, though, if you're interested in self-enlightenment.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:17 AM on August 2, 2011


Do people really think this scandal will cause his empire to fall? Seems unlikely.

I don't know; he's made a fortune on the fact that people love seeing the seedy underbelly and scandals of celebrities and people in power exposed for all to see, now he's found himself and his subordinates directly under that scrutiny they offered up on others.

I think there is a high degree of schadenfreude going on here and enough people with a grudge to keep pushing it forward.

It may not be enough to break the individual elements of his empire up, but I could see this doing enough damage to stop the empire as a whole from being able to coordinate, and that could be sufficient to make it less of a world wide threat.
posted by quin at 8:43 AM on August 2, 2011


There's quite a few words for people with this attitude--people who can't help being beguiled and seduced by their own fascination with the depravity and lack of conventional moral restraint of so-called "great men" who make careers out of unnecessary and excessive displays of "power."

Just because someone is a genius does not automatically make them moral. Intelligence doesn't equal virtue. No need to attack someone who makes the observation that an immoral person is smart.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:39 PM on August 2, 2011


I'm attacking the idea there's anything to admire about that kind of "genius" (which I'd argue is a misnomer anyway). It's nothing more than a lack of moral restraint, a deficient sense of fair-play that propels a man like Murdoch. It only looks like "cleverness" if you've already bought into the basic anti-social premise that people restrained by moral convictions and decency are "weak" or "stupid." There's nothing "genius" about Murdoch's success. Anyone can look like a genius when they cheat their way through a game. But to the extent that someone succeeds by cheating, their success is really only an accidental bi-product of their inability to succeed on the same terms as their competitors and the failures of whatever rule enforcing mechanisms are supposed to be in place. It's their deficits--not their capacities--that make guys like Murdoch tick, and admiring any aspect of how they operate only empowers them.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2011


Anyone can look like a genius when they cheat their way through a game.

Believe you me, the world is rife with incompetent amoral pseudo-Machiavellian would-be cheaters. There is considerable talent, skill, and lucked involved in being a scumbag of truly epic proportions.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:26 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even being the most competent cheat leaves you some degree of competence short of someone who can win without cheating.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:08 AM on August 3, 2011


I'm attacking the idea there's anything to admire about that kind of "genius"

You're attacking a straw man, then. dt&u didn't describe Murdoch as admirable.

It takes more than a lack of morals to build something like News Corp., and it's likely that Murdoch's successor will not have that something. That's what dt&u wrote— you read something quite different.
posted by hattifattener at 9:01 AM on August 3, 2011


I suppose I just take a word like "genius," whether used as a noun or an adjective, to hold a set of very positive connotations. It's a term rarely used as a deliberate put-down, but then again, I suppose if it's said with enough of a sneer... Either way, I don't think there's anything particularly "genius" about the kinds of bullying, anti-competitive tactics Murdoch has used to advance himself throughout his career, and that expressing even the most backhanded forms of admiration for him can be empowering to bullies of his particular stripe. There's just not much to fawn over, even from the point of view of admiring an adversary. Callousness, not cunning, is what got Murdoch where he is today.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2011


Naming of events is important. It's been bugging me that most media references to this mess are calling it a "phone hacking scandal," though the routine and industrial scale bribery of police seems more grave and shocking. "Phone hacking" sounds so trivial, almost playful, maybe even clever and helpful. Who decided that we would be calling this a hacking scandal, not bribery and massive corruption?
posted by Corvid at 6:41 PM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


FAA Probing News Corp.'s Use Of Drones -- "With the newsgathering techniques of its sister publications in Britain under fire, News Corp. is facing a probe into the use of drones by its U.S.-based digital publication, The Daily."
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on August 9, 2011


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