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Posts Tagged ‘phone hacking’

Revel in the humiliation of Mucky Murdoch – it won’t last….

In Britain, Current affairs, Media, Politics, UK, United Kingdom on July 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

A VICTORY, or is it? The mighty Murdoch has finally been humbled and we revel in his humiliation. The level of public disgust at his news organisation has even prompted a former prime minister to call their methods “disgusting”. Of course Gordon Brown has forgotten how he courted the same disgusting people, went to Rebekah Brooks’ wedding, invited her the Chequers and generally failed to rein in the Murdochs while he was in power.

A judge-led inquiry will investigate the phone-hacking scandal and Murdoch has apparently agreed to appear before a parliamentary select committee for a grilling, but is this the end of the road for the Dirty Digger? Probably not, and by some distance. The old bugger has a hide like a rhino and he has been making billions for decades, so to suggest that  this could be the start of his demise risks underestimating him at our peril.

Let’s not forget he faced a far greater danger in the 1990s when he overextended himself on the launch of Sky and nearly went bust. If the folklore is to be believed, one small savings and loan in the US seemed to holding News Corp by the short and curlies until the larger of the 150 or so banks Murdoch was dealing with at the time placed the smaller institution in a similar hearts and minds-style grip and encouraged them to let Murdoch survive.

Murdoch’s lesson from that was to hoard cash, keep the revenue stream flowing steadily and never be beholden to banks again (a lesson the rest of the world could learn and then we’d be teaching another bunch of miscreants a proper lesson). That has served his empire well and will not change. Sure, he has a large omelette’s worth of eggs all over his dial right now, and no-one can understand why Brooks is still employed at this juncture when so many innocents have been booted, but really, are we that surprised that his papers behave in this way? The almost hourly outrage of Labour lightweights like Chris Bryant and Tom Watson is almost as disgusting as the hacking scandal.

In any case he still has 39 percent of BSkyB and a couple of seats on the board. That’s hefty influence in anyone’s money and in the time Murdoch now has on his hands before he can even consider another bid, there’s scope for some serious plotting on how to take the prize. We can expect a lot of grudging contrition from his UK titles in the short-term, but once he sorts out his plans for a Sunday tabloid title (most likely a Sunday Sun) the old Wapping arrogance will be back.

However, while Rupert is a newspaper man through and through – to be admired whatever you think of his politics – his sons and other shareholders are not massive fans. Apart from the News of the World, the others don’t make masses of cash. Even the Sun has to rely on bingo and its fantasy football competitions to turn a quid. With the News Corp share price bouncing after the decision there may be pressure on Murdoch senior to ditch his UK papers on the grounds that all have been infected with the same virus.

But the beginning of the end? Not on your life.

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The desperate Digger sinks his own ship: GOTCHA!

In Britain, Current affairs, Media, Politics, UK, United Kingdom on July 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

So, the good ship NOW has been scuttled with all hands on board by a tycoon desperate to get his hands on a satellite broadcaster. We shouldn’t be asking how low Rupert Murdoch will stoop because he was born lower than a snake’s bum and has never had any intention of rising above that level.

The shock decision to close down a profitable Sunday newspaper is a sign of how much Rupert wants control of BSkyB stop a sliding share price, but don’t think for a second there isn’t a plan B or that News Corp is suddenly going to become a paragon of journalistic ethics. There is talk of the Sun picking up the slack the Screws will leave behind (so Ford will be able to start advertising again with a clear conscience). Of course, many good people will be turfed out, but like any media organisation these days, the people that put out the product day in, day out, are dispensible. While the pompous editors of Fleet Street dine at the Groucho Club, or executives with mucky hands get the blessing of Rupert good people lose their jobs. In many ways this is as disgusting as the phone hacking.

And what of our erstwhile leaders? David Cameron has promised an inquiry, but he had to be pushed bloody hard before he could find a word harder than “shocking” to describe what was going on at Wapping. Yet again, a prime minister has failed to grow a pair and take the Murdochs on. It’s not as if he owes them a clear-cut parliamentary majority because it wasn’t The Sun what won it for the Tories this time round. Murdoch senior doesn’t rate him, despite Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch’s almost infantile pleading with the old Yank that Cameron was the man to wear the News Corp seal of approval.

But there are dirty paw prints all over Cameron too. He employed Andy Coulson as his director of communications and he has a very close professional relationship with Brooks. Yet he somehow believes that the “I was unaware of events taking place under my stewardship” defence is somehow valid. For a man who blathers on about accountability from the top this is either remarkable stupidity or breathtaking arrogance. Whichever way you slice it it is not acceptable from a nation’s leader. He wouldn’t allow it from a member of the government, so why allow it from this bunch?

Sadly though, Dastardly Dave let the Dirty Digger through the doors of Downing Street within days of becoming PM and that in many ways seals the deal (as it did with Tony Blair).

The snake may have slithered back out the door of Number 10, but Cameron will know that you don’t prod one when it’s cornered, especially when the poison it has on you might sink your premiership as quickly as old Rupert sunk one of his own vessels. GOTCHA!