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Wednesday 22 July 2020

Murdoch Meddling - Worse Than Russia

While our free and fearless press woke up overnight to the threat of Russian interference in the UK’s various democratic processes, with the Daily Mail being particularly righteous, one rather worse and indeed longstanding stain on our politics has remained untouched and untroubled, despite a BBC2 documentary which yesterday evening demonstrated its insidious infiltration of the body politic. But then, this is one of the press’ own.
The security agencies registered a threat from Russia in 2014. But 45 years before that, Rupert Murdoch, who was not born in this country and has never had the right to vote here - he is now a citizen of the USA - established his presence in the UK via his acquisition of the News of the World and Sun titles. He reassured the owners of the latter “he would publish a ‘straightforward, honest newspaper’ which would continue to support Labour”.

Within a decade, the Sun had become a rabidly Thatcherite paper. It only switched sides, to supporting a Labour Party led by Tony Blair, after Blair had won over Old Rupe. After Young Dave schmoozed the Murdoch circle, the Sun backed the Tories. Such was the fear instilled in politicians that they all wanted to pay fealty at the Murdoch altar.

This singularly unhealthy situation meant the Murdoch press got away with its indulgence in The Dark Arts. David Mellor suggested tougher press regulation; the flat where he met his mistress Antonia de Sancha was bugged and he was duly splashed all over the Screws and Sun, courtesy of Southern Investigations (prop Jonathan Rees) and “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood. Was it legal? Who cared? They could please themselves.
The Sun destroyed the career of Labour leader Neil Kinnock. It eventually destroyed the Tories’ John Major. It destroyed the chances of Gordon Brown. It was in the vanguard of destroying Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. Meanwhile, those in the service of the Sun and Screws not only bugged, they entrapped, bribed, blagged, hacked, rifled dustbins, improperly accessed the Police National Computer, medical and bank records, doorstepped, put tails on their targets, then bullied, strong-armed and humiliated them in print.

When former Labour MP Tom Watson described the Murdoch empire as a “Mafia organisation”, he was right. When Gordon Brown claimed to have had personal information about him extracted for the Murdoch press’ use by blagging, he was also right, This organisation has not yet matched Russia on assassination, but otherwise is far more of a threat to the UK’s democratic institutions than Moscow.
Murdoch dislikes the EU; the UK is now leaving it. He (and, indeed, other proprietors) doesn’t want to adopt the Leveson recommendations on press regulation reform; the Tories have abandoned the promises they made on the subject. Had the phone hacking scandal not broken when it did, he would have taken 100% control of BSkyB - with the approval and even encouragement of Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary).

As Hugh Grant put it when interviewed for The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty, “Murdoch’s a proper danger to liberal democracies … if liberal democracy is your thing”.

Liberal democracy is forever devalued if those elected allow themselves to become corrupted by interests who would rather subvert it for their own ends. Just a thought.
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Anonymous said...

They're all scum, the lot of em.
Just scrolled down the whole front page of BBC, and of the Guardian...

One article on the whole of both front pages about the Russia report, and that was the ridiculous notion that the government may or may not write some shitty legislation!

The absolute state of media in this country is a total disgrace. Murdoch may have started it, but he's far from alone.

Thank God for sites like this one.

Uxbridge No Analytica said...

Anon @16:31

Chris said...

Were they linked on the front page?

Click here https://www.theguardian.com/uk , scroll down, tell me how many stories are on the landing page right now.

The answer is none. Not a single one.

Anonymous said...

Shhhh, Tim.

BBC/ITN/Sky/All press would prefer that truth isn't known. Oligarch's don't pay unless they want something.....

Get with the Cold War 2 programme. It's Russia. Then China. Then "Labour antisemitism". Support the Pompeo mafia and Orange Face. Shore up Starmer. Repeat ad nauseam.

Failing that....Spitfires, Churchill, Dunkirk and Spirit of the Blitz.

Anonymous said...

Were they linked on the front page?

Crace and Bell are now on (although you have to scroll for a while) but Bell wasn't when I looked earlier. Nonetheless, your point and that of the OP still stands. Uxbridge No Analytica deliberately misrepresented the truth. Not a surprise given the username.

Uxbridge No Analytica said...

You expect yesterday's articles to be on today's front page?
Hint: Serious newspapers expect readers to be intelligent enough to know their format and how to navigate the various sections.

Uxbridge No Analytica said...

Here's a new one: -

It's quite a task keeping up with an online newspaper that has rolling coverage. What were the top stories at 6 am aren't there anymore.
From breakfast time until early evening, there's the Guardian Live newsfeed with the opportunity for readers to comment.
It's a good job that regular readers of the Guardian online know how to use it.

btw: 'Uxbridge No Analytica' is a dig at professional layabout, de Piffle Johnson, the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. You should have known that.

Anonymous said...

But papers like the Heil know that its a good distraction technique, hence constant interchanging of online headlines - currently Kayne West (me neither) or the Depp/Heard libel trial

Anonymous said...

"Serious newspapers expect readers to be intelligent enough to know their format and how to navigate the various sections".

But we're talking about The Guardian so I don't see the relevance of 'serious newspapers'. The OP specifically stated that he was talking about the front page so your comments on navigating sections are a complete distraction. But you knew that.

"the opportunity for readers to comment"

What does the continuing existence of a comment section have to do with a point about the choice of stories The Guardian chose to promote on its front page? You are confusing the medium with specific editorial decisions. But, again, you knew that.

Newport News said...

Anon @10:03
Plumbing the depths eh? lol

Anonymous said...
They're all scum, the lot of em.
Just scrolled down the whole front page of BBC, and of the Guardian...

One article on the whole of both front pages about the Russia report, and that was the ridiculous notion that the government may or may not write some shitty legislation!

22 July 2020 at 16:31

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2020/jul/22 - That's the front page Anon @22/07/2020 16:31 stakes his claim.

'Russia report reveals UK government failed to investigate Kremlin interference'
'Intelligence and security committee publishes long-delayed findings on Russian influence over UK politics'
'What does the UK’s Russia report say? Key points explained'

Newport News said...

"... the ridiculous notion that the government may or may not write some shitty legislation!" - Anon @22/07/2020 16:31

"Tories want new law that could punish journalists and whistleblowers with 14 years in jail" - The Canary