If you shoot at a king

I’m tired of the debt ceiling stuff because it’s probably kabuki that ends in a clean vote. The phone hacking scandal in the UK is much more interesting to me. I don’t know much about Peter Osborne (apparently he’s a conservative), but his writing on the scandal has been fascinating to me:

For more than three decades the most powerful man in Britain has not been a politician; it has been the brilliant but ruthless US-based media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who burst on to the scene with the purchase of the News of the World in an audacious takeover bid in 1968. Within barely a decade he had built up a controlling interest in British newspapers.

But he did not just control our media. He dominated British public life. Politicians – including prime ministers – treated him with deference and fear. Time and again the Murdoch press – using techniques of which we have only just become aware – destroyed political careers. Murdoch also claims to determine the results of general elections.

Here’s my question: would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

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55 replies
  1. 1
    Scott P. says:

    Also worth pointing out that Rupert Murdoch’s father, Keith Murdoch, was a newspaper tycoon during World War I. The family business goes back a very long ways.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    Hi Doug, welcome back.

    Here’s a link to Betty Ford’s memorial service. RIP to a great lady. Rosalyn Carter will deliver a eulogy.

    http://c-span.org/Events/Betty.....7422795-1/

  3. 3
    pragmatism says:

    interesting that cameron didn’t kowtow properly to rupert. how dare he?

  4. 4
    Dexter says:

    I have a feeling that the British establishment was plotting to take down Murdoch for quite some time. They see this as probably their best opportunity.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    This could just be a style of fuck-you revenge. Maybe British liberal politicians know the value of kicking someone when he’s down.

  6. 6
    efgoldman says:

    Do they do up-the-line plea bargaining in the UK? Like here, where they’ll let a small-time dealer plead if he gives them a bigger distributor?
    If not, Rebeccah and Rupert might get away with it, because it wouldn’t profit the underlings to turn on them.

    But if so….

    I saw a suggestion elsewhere that if DOJ wants to go after Murdoch for FCAP violations, they could also choose to mount a RICO case. The brain metaphorically salivates…

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    PS: am all for the UK and USofA going after Rupert Murdoch with everything they can.

    He’s a cancer on any democracy, and has saved the Koch Brothers and their ilk the trouble of creating a propaganda channel from scratch.

    Remove Fox fallacies, broadcast 24/7, and you might get Americans back to talking with each other and working together to solve problems. (Naive, I know, but it’s money, cable conventional wisdom that’s not, and polarization that are making our democracy ungovernable.)

  8. 8
    R-Jud says:

    Yep, Peter Osborne is one of the Toriest of the Torygraph writers. It’s not surprising that he dislikes Murdoch: as the Telegraph is in competition with Murdoch’s various papers, its editors and writers have never been well-disposed towards the Dirty Digger.

    What’s interesting to me is the distinct whiff of disapproval and even anger towards Cameron in that article: although Osborne tries to soften his criticism with language that suggests “the poor lad’s gone astray”, there has definitely been a sense of rising dislike of Cameron among his own party as this drags on.

    Here’s my question: would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    My two pence: Ed Miliband needs a scalp so badly– he’s been a flop so far as Labour leader– that he’s willing to risk tilting at this particular windmill.

  9. 9
    Jim C. says:

    I envy the UK.

    If Murdoch and Fox News could be broken here in the U.S., it would effectively be the death blow to the Republican party for a generation. Without a consistent stream of propaganda and misinformation, where would Republicans be if they had to actually debate on the issues?

    Without Fox forcing the other networks to add in conservative hacks, how would the Republican party get their message out?

    I’ve been aching to see Fox destroyed here domestically for years now.

  10. 10
    NonyNony says:

    @Elizabelle

    Remove Fox fallacies, broadcast 24/7, and you might get Americans back to talking with each other and working together to solve problems.

    Don’t kid yourself – Murdoch and Ailes have shown that the Fox News model can be profitable and that’s all that matters. If News Corp itself implodes entirely due to a scandal – and not because it suddenly became unprofitable to run a right-wing biased media wurlitzer – then another network would step right in to grab that niche. Hell I bet MSNBC and CNN would both fire as much staff as they needed and hire on as much of the Fox staff as they could to grab that niche.

    Murdoch is just a symptom. The disease runs deeper and he’s just exploiting it for all the money and power it’s worth.

  11. 11
    numbskull says:

    It’s worthwhile reading some of the comments at the linked article. DougJ, I don’t think Osbourne is an unbiased reporter here. He’s spinning this as hard as possible that Cameron if fundamentally a good guy who was just barely able to survive Murdoch where others failed. Doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  12. 12
    ChrisNYC says:

    I don’t see how pols anywhere on the spectrum have a choice. Cameron came out and said, “We live in fear of Murdoch.”

    The whole country knows that NI pulls the strings — buys police, cuts off legal proceedings, forces their way in policy. Rebekah Brooks calls up the head of govt and berates him for daring to cross her. They have to do something, all of them. Murdoch’s not more powerful than a ferocious public, as far as pols are concerned. (Lovely, of lovelies.) How NewsCorp thinks it’s going to salvage this without getting rid of NI is a mystery to me.

  13. 13
    Danton says:

    Omar’s coming to get Rupert?

  14. 14
    Slowbama says:

    I am more sure now than ever that a collusion between global Murdoch properties and the US/UK/Aussie military-industrial complex is the only scenario that completely explains US/UK political developments over the last ten or so years.

    I think it is likely, for example, that blackmail derived from NSA-style surveillance is the reason Tony Blair sacrificed his career and his entire political party to go into Iraq.

  15. 15
    trollhattan says:

    I’d love it if this affair ended with Murdoch clutching a snow globe while muttering “Rosebud,” but I suspect he has Cheney’s ability to survive everything, including clinical death itself.

    No matter what, Fox and WSJ soldier on like the evil children they are.

  16. 16
    Cain says:

    @Jim C.:

    Without Fox forcing the other networks to add in conservative hacks, how would the Republican party get their message out?

    Why would you think that? A new channel would be created to serve the conservative community. What we’ve learned is that conservative voters are the biggest suckers and will shell out money to fight an ultimately losing cultural war. They willl have spent all their hard earned money on a bunch of flacks who will promise things but will never deliver.

    So yes, the market says that we can fleece conservatives and that is exactly what will happen.

    If you want to destroy the news right and proper, don’t watch 24 hour news. It’s all infotainment anyway. On the other hand, an actual infotainment channel wouldn’t be so bad as long as they know that’s what they do.. (eg E! channel)

  17. 17
    The Populist says:

    Who wants to bet that when Eliot Spitzer was exposed as a bigtime john, that somebody at Fox had the info via a wiretap. That was around the time Bush authorized wiretaps and then we later found out AT&T and a few other telecomms had allowed the government to spy on Americans without even a whimper.

    This is going to become very interesting as I wonder if the wiretapping in the Bush WH ever made it’s way to Fox?

  18. 18
    Chris says:

    @ NonyNony,

    Murdoch is just a symptom. The disease runs deeper and he’s just exploiting it for all the money and power it’s worth.

    Yeah. The ultimate problem over here isn’t the newsies lying so much as the sheer number of people who’re begging to be lied to.

  19. 19
    Jim C. says:

    @Cain

    Stopped watching TV news a long time ago. Waste of time and only irritates me.

    But you’re probably right. Where there’s a market for conservative propaganda, SOMEONE would step forward to fill that market.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    @Jim C.

    Without Fox forcing the other networks to add in conservative hacks, how would the Republican party get their message out?

    FOX News is the latest and greatest conservative propaganda machine, but it’s not the only one by a long shot.

    Meet the Press has a long history of hosting high volumes of conservative politicians. ABC has developed a strong right wing bias. The InstaHack and Clown Hall and the rest of the right wing blogosphere would remain in full swing.

    Then there’s CNN, which originally hosted Glenn Beck. John King was happy to “moderate” (and I use that term loosely indeed) the last GOP Presidential debate. They’d dive for that conservative mantel the moment FOX dropped it, if they thought they could score FOX’s ratings.

    There is no shortage of right wing media in the US. FOX News simply prides itself on being a cut above the rest.

  21. 21
    demkat620 says:

    Cameron needs Murdoch to withdraw his bid. He knows this is going to turn in to Heads on Pikes time over there and if the Government has to declare Murdoch “unfit to buy” BSkyB well that opens the whole other can of worms.

    Why is he fit to own any British media? Cameron needs to get the message through to Murdoch now. But from what I read in the Independent, Rebekah Brooks is avoiding Cameron’s calls.

    Not a smart move.

  22. 22
    LittlePig says:

    Zifnab @ 5

    This could just be a style of fuck-you revenge. Maybe British liberal politicians know the value of kicking someone when he’s down.

    Them as live by the sword shall die by the sword. I was thinking last night “well, the blood’s in the water now”.

    This guy is a real louse, aka Randian Superman, whose power to shame and scandalize was considerable. Stick to sports reporting, Rupert.

  23. 23
    Anonymous At Work says:

    He’ll try to play both parties against the other for his support, but only Tories lean on Murdoch for needed support. Labour would get rid of him if they can, which is what they are doing, to both lose the crutch and knock one out from Tories.
    Doesn’t hurt that Tories tried to cover up the crimes, either. That and the failure of the alternate vote referendum might give Lib Dems a pause.

  24. 24
    Redshirt says:

    As much as I would revel at the thought of the destruction of Fox news, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Talk radio, and especially Rush, laid the Fox Foundations long before old “Fair and Balanced” came on the scene.

    Funny how much Doublespeak Fox News uses, by the by – every slogan they have is pure dissonance. And it seems to work. Damn you Orwell for writing the playbook!

  25. 25
    Catsy says:

    If Murdoch and Fox News could be broken here in the U.S., it would effectively be the death blow to the Republican party for a generation. Without a consistent stream of propaganda and misinformation, where would Republicans be if they had to actually debate on the issues?

    This. A thousand times. But:

    If News Corp itself implodes entirely due to a scandal – and not because it suddenly became unprofitable to run a right-wing biased media wurlitzer – then another network would step right in to grab that niche. Hell I bet MSNBC and CNN would both fire as much staff as they needed and hire on as much of the Fox staff as they could to grab that niche.

    I don’t doubt that someone will try. But here’s the thing: what makes Fox so effectively malignant and dangerous is that it’s run by true believers and has a lot of behind-the-scenes connections with the GOP establishment. Let’s say Fox disappears, and MSNBC starts hiring ex-Fox staff. There is a huge difference between a cable channel which panders to conservatives to try to add that audience to their existing one, and a cable channel whose entire raison d’etre is to push a Republican agenda.

    Might it be profitable? Sure. But it’s not going to be anywhere near as effective. The Fox audience is a captive audience, many of whom have no source of news other than Fox. They are immersed in Republican propaganda 24/7. MSNBC is going to expose them to other opinions, regardless of how many Fox hacks they hire.

  26. 26
    beltane says:

    At least we now know for sure why Fox News gets the prime spot in the White House briefing room. I’m not a conspiracy theory type of person but I’ve always suspected that the right-wing, via Fox, was stifling dissent through the use of blackmail.

    King Rupert is a plague on the English-speaking world, able to not just take down specific governments but to subvert democracy itself. You want your Fifth Column? Look no further than your Fox News watching neighbours.

  27. 27
    JPL says:

    Elizabelle @2, Thank you for the link.

  28. 28
    Elizabelle says:

    ABC station in Los Angeles is broadcasting Betty Ford’s service without interruption.

    PS: Rick Perlstein had an essay on Betty Ford in today’s NYTimes.
    Betty Ford, Pioneer
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07.....in.html?hp

    Now: back to discussing a lesser mortal, Mr. Murdoch.

  29. 29
    chomko says:

    Peter Oborne is himself confirmation of the more-than-one-locus in-the-conservative-media-empire thesis. The Telegraph is well within the conservative fold and always had been, but can’t in any way be said to be allied with the Murdoch empire.

    The Telegraph and Mail have it in for NI just as much if not more so than the Guardian and Independent do. While they’ve always backed the Tories to the hilt (excepting the Mail‘s flirtation with outright fascism), the Murdoch stable was all for Labour during Blair’s leadership before dumping on Brown (and making it clear that they weren’t about to line up behind EdM anytime soon). As soon as the Sun switched its endorsement to the Conservatives, however, Cameron & crew were photographed posing with the newspaper (not to mention the dinner parties at Rebakah Brooks’s house). The Telegraph and Mail were old hat. Factor in their antipathy to the Conservative-Liberal coalition, and it’s easy to see where the resentment was coming from. I’d hazard a guess that part of the reason Murdoch bought out the WSJ in this country was to prevent this sort of intra-Conservative schism developing between the Wall Street and Megachurch wings of the US conservative movement.

    Conservative media manipulation didn’t start with NewsCorp, and it won’t end with NewsCorp, either.

  30. 30
    Tom Hilton says:

    For a fictionalized depiction of Murdoch’s power, check out A Very British Coup. Made in 1988, but the media environment it shows is all too familiar in today’s United States.

  31. 31
    Warren Terra says:

    Blair cozied up to Murdoch, profited personally, but emerged largely discredited personally; more to the point, the party lost touch with a lot of its base as a result of Blair’s Murdoch-friendly “New Labour” approach.
    Also, Murdoch is fairly committed to David Cameron and the current generation of Tories. That isn’t to say that he might not switch back to backing a milquetoast Labourite in the future – but not the very near future. Certainly not the near-enough future for such a switch to benefit Ed Miliband or other members of the current Labour leadership, who will surely be turfed out of the leadership if they don’t beat the Tories in the next election or, at most, two – and who in any case the Murdoch papers have already rejected in favor of endorsing their opponents. Since Murdoch would never support Labour before the careers of the current party leaders are over, and can hardly switch to backing these particular leaders in any case, a threat that he might oppose Labour can hardly worry the party’s leaders. Meanwhile, they can score points at his expense – and in the process can effectively devalue any attacks his papers later launch at them, as being part of personal vendetta.
    And keep in mind that Murdoch is quite old, and has been making moves towards arranging the succession for years now. He probably doesn’t have enough time left in him to last until the next reasonable time to contemplate switching his papers’ support.

  32. 32
    Jay C says:

    One big question which I have always wondered about is exactly what hold/influence the gutter press (as exemplified by the Murdoch Empire, but it’s a certainty they’re not alone) have had – and seem to have had for many decades now – on the British political Establishment. Is it really just a matter of “digging the dirt”? Or (more likely), is the relationship considerably more complicated?

    I mean, we have a sleazy tabloid press in this country, too (mainly online, but never mind), yet the notion of politicians, still less senior police officials and the like, seemingly quaking in fear of their overheated “revelations” and scandal-mongering – to the point of back-burnering criminal investigations, seems just alien and bizarre (like so much of British life).

    How powerful is/was the News of the World demographic?

  33. 33
    NCSteve says:

    Saying you’re “bored with the debt ceiling crisis because it probably ends with a clean vote” is like saying “oh, I’m board with this silly Cuban Missile Crisis thingee because it will clearly end with Kruschev blinking and backing down” a week before he did.

    It’s only clear after it happens. When you’ve painted yourself into a corner where your choices are destroying the world or accepting your own political destruction, expecting decisions based on the greater good is naive until the moment they are made and Armegedden is an option until a second after it isn’t.

  34. 34
    Woodrowfan says:

    wasn’t this the plot of a James Bond movie? Evil media mogul?

  35. 35
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I get the idea that right-wing propaganda in this country is widespread, the death of Fox News wouldn’t be its end, and somebody would probably step up to fill that whole. But Still: You don’t build up a cultural powerhouse like Fox News overnight. If Fox News were to go down, it would at least disrupt the Right Wing message machine for a few years, and whoever replaces it would have a hell of a time re-corralling all the old viewers, building up their brand, and just generally convincing people that they really are The New Fox News. Hate radio and a bunch of dimwit-run blogs couldn’t fill those shoes all by themselves.

  36. 36
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    Here’s my question: would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    Maybe it’s simpler. Murdoch is 80 years old. Maybe Labour thinks Murdoch won’t have the energy or be around long enough to retaliate in his usual fashion. And maybe they want to make sure that none of Murdoch’s kids will have the power to continue Daddy’s power games when he dies.

    More likely, Labour isn’t a single actor, and each politician probably has different reasons to think Murdoch is vulnerable now.

    .

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    elizabelle @ 28
    Now: back to discussing a lesser mortal, Mr. Murdoch.
    lol

  38. 38
    TreeBeard says:

    Here’s my question: would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    DougJ, JGabriel, I think a big factor is *not* Murdoch’s vulnerability, but Labour’s own. They got a fair bit of a hiding in the last elections, as a whole lot of people went “ABL” at the polls. Er, to those who are confused, this not our resident blogger but “Anyone But Labour”. The Lib Dems came into power much to the expense of labour and now the latter have found a viable gap to barge back into the mainstream. Nick Clegg’s apparent impotence was any way turning the tide in their favour but this… the public wants blood and Ed Milliband has been given an opportunity gift-wrapped.

    Not that I particularly like Ed, he comes across as a weasel. But that’s not uncommon for politicians…

  39. 39
    Head Bulshytt Talker in Chief of the Temple of Libertarianism(superluminar) says:

    Yeah it’s Oborne, not the other one. And yeah those guys are cunts.

  40. 40
    Jay C says:

    Here’s my question: would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    Maybe it isn’t just Labour: one can’t imagine the Tories (or any other British pols) being all too broken up at the prospect of the demise of the Murdoch Empire, and a black eye for the whole tabloid-Press biz in general. AFAICT (admittedly not knowing a great deal about the sociopolitical dynamics) – this latest scandal seems like a golden – and bipartisan – opportunity to discredit Rupert Murdoch and all his works to a crippling degree.

  41. 41
    Brachiator says:

    Here’s my question: would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    This is an interestingly phrased question. Labour is on the outs big time. A bit of trivia. Gordon Brown apparently got phone hacked, but no significant Labour leader was invited to the wedding of William and Kate. And yet, the Royals were also targets of having their privacy invaded, and the Labour government failed to protect them as far as this went.

    So, Labour is fighting hard to regain relevance and to make amends. But they still are looking like weak sisters.

    On the other hand, I get the feeling that a lot of people who held grudges against Murdoch are getting back at him after kissing up to him for years. This is an old British tradition.

    I wonder how all of this is playing in the Australian press, Murdoch’s home country. Ah, while a lot of eyes are on Rupert, a Sidney paper is wondering if son James is able to take over from his father:

    James Murdoch was not responsible for the phone hacking scandal that has engulfed his father’s media empire, but that will matter little if his handling of the case does not improve quickly.
    __
    Tipped as heir to the empire, Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son is under pressure to show he can muster his father’s political touch to contain the scandal that is damning the family name and slashing by the day the value of media assets that have been in the business for decades.

    This is more fun than the upcoming continuation of the old tv show, Dallas.

  42. 42
    Elizabelle says:

    Hello there JPL.

    Continuing our little Betty Ford memorialthon:

    Cokie Roberts (!) just gave a good eulogy.

    Betty Ford had instructed her to speak on the value of comity in politics — just as Jerry Ford bemoaned its absence after the cameras cut off during an interview with Ms. Roberts several years ago.

    I am wondering if this debt ceiling limit insurrection might be just about peak wingnut, because — so far — it’s imploding on the GOP, whose bluff has been called.

  43. 43
    Elizabelle says:

    PS: George W Bush is sitting between Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan, and there in his thoughtful, non-smirking persona. He looks moved, particularly after a board member spoke of the treatment program and message provided by the Betty Ford Center.

  44. 44
    PeakVT says:

    I think it is likely, for example, that blackmail derived from NSA-style surveillance is the reason Tony Blair sacrificed his career and his entire political party to go into Iraq.

    I wouldn’t give Blair that much credit. Between his own belief system and the position on the political spectrum that Blair, Brown, and other “New Labour” leaders staked out, there were reasons inside the Blair government to join in Bush’s folly. I’m sure the US applied pressure, and Murdoch, too, but Blair wasn’t a helpless victim.

  45. 45
    Brachiator says:

    The Daily Mail is a UK paper of right wing hacktitude, but even they are noting that Labour is taking the lead on the Murdoch affair.

    David Cameron today found his premiership under unprecedented attack after the phone hacking scandal threatened to engulf his government – as well as the Murdoch empire.
    __
    The prime minister was put firmly on the back foot as Labour leader Ed Miliband took the initiative, forcing a cross-party consensus on scotching the BSkyB bid.

    This is getting nasty, fast.

    The Guardian has a special site devoted to the phone hacking story.

    The funny thing is that a lot of this reminds me of a couple of episodes of the UK spy tv series MI5 (or Spooks) which dealt with a newspaper mogul who was secretly controlling the government (Spoilers).

    The fifth (10-part) series of Spooks aired its first episode in two parts, the first appearing on 17 September 2006. In it, elements within the British Government, MI6 and the UK press conspire in an attempt to overthrow the Parliament and the Prime Minister. These elements agree that for Britain to survive the threats posed by modern day terrorism, democracy had to be replaced with rule by committee.

    But this would never happen in the real world, right?

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @ Jim C @ 9 –

    I do agree with the “I envy the U.K,” if only because the U.K. can apparently muster enough outrage at this kind of corporate malfeasance that Murdoch could face serious consequences over there. Not in a million years would a scandal like that have the same result here.

  47. 47
    Donut says:

    I would be thrilled and full of Schaedenfruede to see Murdoch lose his power and fortune.

    That said, I am hard-pressed to see how dumping Murdoch really has much impact on Fox News Channel.

    Ailes is the guy who makes that place what it is. Rupert just keeps the lion’s share of profits.

  48. 48
    PeakVT says:

    Is it really just a matter of “digging the dirt”? Or (more likely), is the relationship considerably more complicated?

    One complication is that London aggregates what in the US is split between DC, NYC, and LA – government, finance, and culture. The city (and The City) dominate the country like no city in the US ever could. I think that’s why the relationship between politicians, the press, and finance are even more inçestuous than in the US. At least that’s how I see it from afar.

  49. 49
    sukabi says:

    would Labour come after Murdoch this hard if they didn’t think could neuter him politically? Or is the calculation more complicated than that, i.e. they know that he’ll keep playing both sides no matter what?

    don’t think it would be ‘game on’ if they didn’t think they could take him out of the equation… they’ve had years of obvious dirty dealing from his publications and until now have looked the other way… think he’s pissed on too many people and karma’s finally knocking on his door.

  50. 50
    Padraig says:

    I f***ing LOVE the title to this post! It’sexactly what I’ve been saying. Murdoch is in serious trouble – it’s becoming increasingly apparent that he had a privately-held domestic spying and blackmailing apparatus in play in Britain for the last 30 years or so. And now the blackmailed are realizing that they are numerous, and that there is no point to paying for secrecy when secrecy ceases to exist. And you can tell how bad it is because so many parts of the British system are turning against him – this could not happen unless there was a good enough chance that Murdoch is going down along with NI as a political powerbroker, because if you come at the King, you’d best not miss. No one wants Murdoch’s power weakened – but everyone wants his power destroyed.

  51. 51
    HyperIon says:

    TreeBeard @ 38 (goddamn you, absent reply thingy!) wrote:

    Not that I particularly like Ed, he comes across as a weasel.

    yea, verily.

    and all three party leaders appear to be upper class twit of the year winners.

  52. 52
    piratedan says:

    @Brachiator: great show, puts most of our stuff to shame tbh.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    piratedan and Brachiator. Utterly backwards in terms of plot, but I had to rewatch the UK version of State of Play early on for the twisted atmosphere of press/politics/police imbrication. Not that the cast and show isn’t reason enough.

  54. 54
    vhh says:

    Reading the bio of Gen Sir John Monash, the heroic Aussie general of WWI by Roland Perry told me a lot about the Murdoch family tradition. Rupert’s father, who bequeathed his Adelaide paper to Rupert, got himself named Australia’s only official war correspondent in Europe, and proceeded to try to gossip, snipe, and insinuate himself into major policy decisions. This cowardly guttersnipe didn’t like Monash because he was of German Jewish extraction, and tried to scupper his promotions, but fortunately for the Allies, Monash, who had degrees in engineering, science and law, and spoke several languages, kept right on winning battles with low losses and ended up being knighted by the King. Murdoch and his allies did succeed in marginalizing Monash as a political figure in Australia after the war, largely thru anti Semitism I suspect. Anyhow, Rupert has taken after his old man and Hearst as well by insinuating himself into politics all over, most infamously kowtowing to the Chinese communist dictatorship and pumping up the rightmost elements of the British Tory party, and the John Birch types in the US GOP (who now control the whole party). This ratbag is Citizen Kane in capital letters, and I hope the UK Parliament sends a whole pack of ferrets up his trousers, and finds that the crimes his team committed in the UK are matched by crimes in the US and elsewhere. I cannot wait to read the political obituary of the Murdoch Empire. Rosebud, indeed.

  55. 55
    Chris says:

    Murdoch and his allies did succeed in marginalizing Monash as a political figure in Australia after the war, largely thru anti Semitism I suspect.

    Yet another armchair patriot, fighting wars against his own citizens because he was too much of a chickenshit to sign up forthe real one. Good Lord, nothing ever changes.

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