« Heavy bells | Main | "Big" is not always better! »

January 25, 2006

Political influences

There is something deeply disturbing about the fact that an Australian billionaire with US citizenship, is able to control the UK's media in such a way that he is able to dictate the editorial political support of those media. Rupert Murdoch does not live in the UK, he does not pay taxes in the UK, yet he considers it entirely appropriate to play the eminence grise in British politics and to use his newspapers and television channels to promote a political philosophy and a party of worthless wasters to an electorate stupid enough to be swayed by him.

You will note that he does not live under Blair's nannying dictatorship and he makes little, if any, contribution to the vastly expensive and wasteful machinery that every Labour government in history has produced. Nothing of his personal fortune is paid into the UK Tax system, and his companies all have "offshore" holding companies which reduces the tax they pay as well. Very neat, one could almost say, the perfect Socialist solution - control a government without having to live under it's control and without havibng to contribute money to its excesses. Tough for the peasants, but what a lovely earner for the promoter.

This sort of situation raises several interesting questions about the conduct of the media in its role as "informers of public opinion". Many will recall the outrage caused by a stupid and rather obvious "endorsement" of a candidate in the US Presidential election a few years ago by one of our political leaders, yet Blair and his media mogul did exactly the same thing - with less of an outcry - in the last election. Perhaps the difference was that it was a left-wing socialist endorsing the nearest thing to a left-wing socialist in the US that makes it acceptable?

Given that Mr Murdoch is now in the UK and saying that Mr Blair is taxing us far too highly, restricting freedom far too much and - horror of horrors - placing burdens on business and enterprise, is a sign that he is having a rethink. Somehow I doubt it, Tony will find some way to reward his mouthpiece.

Another question which needs to be examined concerning the media is the spectacle raised by the treatment of the deposed Leader of the LibDem Party and of the candidates for his job. Charles Kennedy had at least the guts to admit he had a problem, but the sanctimonious, and, frankly, utterly hypocritcal press, went for him in a manner which suggested that they were hoping to see him throw himself off St Stephen's Tower in a spectacular suicide. Their muck raking on one of the candidates is equally sickening - yet it is excused by their bland statement that "anyone in public office should exopect to have their actions placed under greater scrutiny". And just who scrutinises the scrutineers? Why, themselves of course! So the pot is free to call the saucepan black and get away with it, because they control access to the presses!

Then there is the dubious practice of masquerading as something or someone else, in order to entrap a "celebrity" into saying something that will damage their career. One of Mr Murdoch's papers has just pulled off the "spectacular" of planting a conterfeit "Sheikh" at a reception where he succeeded in getting the England Football Team Manager and Coach to admit to some pretty damaging opinions. If a police officer did the same thing to a criminal, the courts would, rightly, reject the evidence and censure the police, yet the press routinely do this with impunity! Again, had this been a police "trap" the very same paper would have smeared the policemen's reputations and been howling for a Chief Constables head on a pike. It seems that sauce for the geese is not, in the eyes of certain elements in the press, sauce for the gander.

Press freedom is an essential in any free and democratic society, but the control of our media services by a very few, very powerful men is not a truly free press, the editors are obliged, or are specifically appointed, to reflect the views of their employer and no one else. The tactics they employ when attacking personalities or attempting to influence policy are frankly anything but a reflection of a free, fair and just society, they are an abuse of freedom and justice and it is time people woke up to this fact. The classic example of the manner the press abuses its power is the case of the disgraced pop-star "Gary Glitter". One of Mr Murdoch's newspapers has spent quite literally thousands, if not millions, pursuing this pathetic little man around the world and, despite their avowed opposition to the death penalty for murder here, made sure, by means of lucrative payments to the victims, that he would be accused and tried for sexual offences in a country where they knew full well that he faced the death penalty if convicted. Newspaper justice and trial by media.

I suppose that the reality is that, one way or another, we have the government that business, the media and the pressure groups elect with their money and their lobbying. Democracy is, after all, a mere chimera - or it has become so since the cynical control of the media and of the organs of economics have all been vested in a favoured few over the last half century. But then, this is the classic symptom of a political system in decay - or so Plato said in "The Republic" almost 2,500 years ago.

It seems that nothing changes - except the faces in the pictures and on the statues.

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 25, 2006 09:09 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


You have to revise your opinion. Repeating this nuttery misses your point. Give us proofs. Not just with words, but with deeds.

Posted by: virens at April 11, 2008 07:39 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?