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Saturday 13 February 2016

Independent - Murdoch’s Crocodile Tears

For a national print title to close - and for good - may be a sign of the times, but it is a loss to the plurality and diversity of the press. So when news came that the Independent and its Sunday sister paper were to cease print publication, most media commentators judged this to be a bad thing. Press Gazette’s headline, “'Sad day for us, bad day for journalism': Industry mourns loss of Independent newspapers”, summed up the reaction.
Kevin Maguire of the Mirror reflected “Mourning loss of The Independent, a vital liberal voice in a British press dominated by Tory papers. Thoughts with good journos losing jobs”. Isabel Hardman of the Spectator mused “So so sad to hear about closure of the Independent, a fine paper with such good people working for it. Will miss writing columns for it”. And, from one unexpected source, came another expression of regret.

Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter - clearly still resisting efforts to let someone think first and Tweet on his behalf later - to tell “Sadly UK's Independent print paper closes after about 30 years. Any loss of diversity bad”. Any loss of diversity is indeed bad, but for Rupe to show regret for the loss of the Indy is hypocrisy of the most blatant kind. Had it been left up to him, the paper would have gone out of business in the 1990s.
In 1998, the Lords backed a ban on so-called “predatory pricing” of newspapers, against the wishes of the Blair Government. As the BBC reported, “The vote follows criticism of Mr Murdoch's News International group for dropping the cover price of The Times from 35p to 20p on Mondays and Saturdays … Rival papers have claimed this is "predatory" price-cutting designed to force weaker competitors, such as The Independent, out of business”.

The Indy itself broke the news thatRUPERT MURDOCH'S News International was found guilty yesterday of deliberately selling The Times at a loss, after an investigation into predatory pricing by the Office of Fair Trading … The OFT also warned that News International had been put "on notice" that any future price-cutting campaign could result in fines or a referral to the Competition Commission if it was found to be anti- competitive”.

Then, in the run-up to the 2010 General Election, far from welcoming the diversity provided by the Independent, Rupe’s son James, with the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks at his side, barged into the paper’s newsroom to confront then-editor Simon Kelner over a front page that told readers “Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election. You Will”. Kelner later recalledTheir use of language and the threatening nature of their approach came straight from the ‘Mafioso for Beginners’ handbook”.

And last week, when the closure of the Indy was made public, former Sun editor and current columnist Kelvin McFilth, appearing on the BBC’s Daily Politics, shrugged his shoulders, made a number of disparaging comments about the Indy’s journalism, and sneered “It's not going to be any sad loss to be honest”.

That is what Rupert Murdoch really thinks about the Independent ceasing print publication. He couldn’t give a crap as long as he wins in the end. No change there, then.


Anonymous said...

Newspaper proprietor dislikes competition, dislikes personal criticism, is in favour of increased profits for own paper, shocker.

In other news, bears, woods, ablutions.

pete c said...

Sadly, the Independent wasn't independent enough lately. Living in London and the South-east did mean you ran the risk of seeing articles 3 times. Indy, I, Evening Standard.

The i has been sold too, and I really hope the new owner(s) will keep the roster of columnists. Would hate to lose the writings of Mark Steel. And specialists like Simon Calder.

A tough future on line. I wish them well.

McFilth is nowt but an oaf, a buffoon, and it is time the BBC ceased lining his pockets. Objectivity etc is fine, but let's not extend it to those who would gladly shut you down .

Rupert M said...

I'm really sad to see it go.

Have they considered having a page 3 style peice on a daily occurence?
They would be doing me a favour as I rarely get to look at Jerrys. I'm too busy holding my testicles up off of the floor.

Anonymous said...

Jerry H says.......

That's not your bollix you daft old twat, your bag needs emptying.

By the way, the only time you will see mine is in the funeral parlour just before they nail the lid.

Love you sweetie pie..xxxx

Gweedo Fawkes said...

I can hold them up for him. I could do with another job.

Gargan tuous said...

You might need scaffolding.