Saturday, 9 July 2011

In Praise of Rupert Murdoch

My Dad was a big fan of Rupert Murdoch ( I won't mention my mothers views on the subject, that's another matter!). There were several reasons for this. Both were brash Australians. From my fathers experiences in the RAF in World War II he had a deep mistrust and dislike of the British ruling classes and establishment. He saw a kindred spirit in Murdoch. Not prepared to bend over and take it from "his betters". When my mother (a Guardian reader) used to criticise the Sun, my Dad would gloatingly point out that if you went into any cafe in London, you wouldn't see anyone reading the Guardian. My father well understood why a squaddie in a far off land would enjoy looking at the Sun rather than a more high brow paper. He always claimed that the best journalists in the world were employed by the Murdoch media. My father found it hilarious when Murdoch bought the Times as he felt this was the ultimate two fingers up at the British Establishment.

I'm sure that if he'd survived until 1989 when Sky was launched he'd have approved. He'd have loved the Cricket coverage. Sky TV has revolutionised the coverage of football. It has brought many sports to air that never got a look in previously. It is also fair to say that Sky News is arguably the best British News channel. So when we criticise Murdoch, what don't we like? The fact he has a successful formula for mass media papers? The fact that he had the vision to launch the worlds best satellite broadcasting service? The fact he sitcks two fingers up at those who he doesn't have respect for?

Is he too powerful? Probably. If the rumours about destroying emails are true, then him or someone in his organisation must be held to account (ie Time in clink for perverting justicve), but that doesn't detract from the fact that the main reason people here hate him is because he's so successful and so good at what he does? I suspect that my father was right in his analysis of Murdoch -  the British Establishment don't like him because they are a bunch of snobs.

As for the rest of the country? I'd bet a weeks wages that the sales of the Sun haven't suffered and the final edition of the News of The World sells more copies than last weeks.

I don't particlarly like tabloids (especially right wing ones) and I think the stuff the NOTW got up to was repulsive. I might read the sun over a bacon sarnie in a cafe, that's about it. Why am I writing this? Because I am sick of the hypocricy of all those people on the radio who have spent the last day slagging of all things News International, whilst bending over backwards for them for the last god knows how many years? Murdoch isn't a problem, he's just a symptom. Is anyone shocked that Newspapers pay PC plod for Tip offs? How do you think the Paparazzi always manage to turn up when someone is getting nicked? I've heard a few horror stories from victims of such behaviour over the years from friends in the music business. It is the way of the world. A friend of mine was blown up by the IRA at Victoria. She was hounded by the press for her story and it wasn't just Murdoch press. I doubt I'd write a blog if I thought the press did their job properly on a local level (although to be fair, they've done a good job on Metpro recently).

Locally there has recently been an industrial dispute at the Barnet Press. The cause? The owner was running the paper into the ground and the journalists felt they couldn't serve people properly. Murdoch, Maxwell, The Barclay Brothers, Richard Desmond, The Rothermere's. These are the people who largely control the written media and to some extent set the agenda. I don't think that any are necessarily better or worse than each other, they are just perhaps a bit more or less successful than each other. It is all rather depressing really isn't it.


jeffreynewman said...

Brilliant, thanks!

baarnett said...

I think any "anti-establishment" line by Rupert Murdoch has been largely incidental to his desire for business deals..

There is a BBC web site here that explores this subject further.

It reports:

"Rupert Murdoch doesn't like the BBC. And sometimes the BBC doesn't seem to like Rupert Murdoch, either.

Following the principle that you should know your enemy, the BBC has assiduously recorded the relentless rise of Rupert Murdoch and his assault on the old 'decadent' elites of Britain.

And I thought it would be interesting to put up some of the high points.

It is also a good way to examine how far his populist rhetoric is genuine, and how far it is a smokescreen to disguise the interests of another elite.

As a balanced member of the BBC - I leave it to you to decide."