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Have you heard the news about Rupert Murdoch?

Your answer to the question in reference to what I have in mind would probably be ‘no’.

Rupert Murdoch does make the news in Australia now and again, such as with his recent IPA speech in Melbourne or his visit to Darwin but generally our local media don’t find him very newsworthy. For example, when the world had their collective eyes and ears positioned at any favourable vantage point to get the latest on the Leveson Inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, the dearth of reporting on this heinous crime in the Australian media was breathtaking. Most of us relied on foreign news sites for what we lacked here: news. The dirty doings in the Murdoch world would be of no interest to the Australian public. Of course not. We don’t belong to the ‘need to know’ collective.

Even his Papal Knighthood, awarded in 1998 has been un-newsworthy in this country. It has been all over the news in America and England since the knighthood was publicly announced recently, and it is being widely and vociferously condemned, particular within the Catholic Church and the British Parliament. Given that Papal Knighthoods are only awarded to people of “unblemished character” it seems odd that our local arm of the Murdoch media empire aren’t front and centre defending the old man against the current wave of international condemnation. Maybe the local media don’t want to upset the Catholic Church here in Australia, after all, they support the same political party as Murdoch does. The international condemnation is something else we don’t need to know about.

Here again is something else that received little attention in Australia but was worthy enough of discussion in lands far away:

Several weeks ago, the Judiciary Report warned that News International/News Corp CEO, Rupert Murdoch, would attack, Julia Gillard, the prime minister of his homeland Australia, for publicly and correctly stating his company’s conduct in the phone hacking scandal is wrong.

On July 22, 2011, in the article Australian Prime Minister Slams Rupert Murdoch And News Corp the Judiciary Report wrote of Murdoch, “Of course, now Murdoch will lie about and smear Gillard in his papers, online and on television, with estimates placing his share of the newspaper market in Australia at 73 percent.

Well, this week Murdoch’s done just that – viciously and vindictively attacked Gillard in one of his newspapers, via a defamatory, baseless article, he could not prove, as it was fabricated to malign her out of revenge for denouncing his unlawful conduct.

As a result of the defamatory piece, Gillard, took the unprecedented step of threatening to sue Murdoch in court for making up a damaging story about her and publishing it in his newspaper. This scared Murdoch, which forced him to issue a public retraction and an apology to Gillard in the newspaper.

It’s amazing what you learn about Rupert Murdoch from overseas media. Don’t expect big news items like this to be splashed across the Australia media:

So the famous Australian-American protector of British sovereignty Rupert Murdoch not only tried to persuade Tony Blair to take a hard-line stance against Europe. He also pressed another United Kingdom prime minister, John Major, for “policy changes” relating to the country’s relationship with supranational institutions. This even went as far as calling for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union – alleges Major.

In his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, Major stated that just before the 1997 general election Murdoch “made it clear that he disliked my European policies, which he wished me to change”. Major added: “If not, his papers could not and would not support the Conservative government. So far as I recall he made no mention of editorial independence, but referred to all his papers as ‘we’.”

I’ve done a search for it. I can’t find anything. We humble Australians don’t need to know that Rupert Murdoch uses his political clout to agitate political change.

But the real big overseas news is that old Mr Murdoch is in deep shit, as Kristina Chew reports:

Will the scandal that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s British media holdings spread to the U.S. and, in particular, Fox News?

At the start of May, Senator Jay Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation, wrote to Lord Justice Leveson, who has been heading a British judicial investigation into media ethics in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that broke out last summer following the revelation that reporters from News of the World had hacked into the voice mail of murdered the 13-year-old Milly Dowler, prior to her body being found. Rockefeller is inquiring if, in the course of his investigations, Lord Leveson has uncovered any evidence suggesting that “unethical and sometimes illegal business practices occurred in the United States or involved US citizens.” More from the senator’s letter:

“Evidence that is already in the public record clearly shows that for many years, News International had a widespread, institutional disregard for these laws.”

“I would be very concerned if evidence emerged suggesting that News Corporation officials in New York were also aware of these illegal payments and did not act to stop them.”

The catalyst for Rockefeller’s letter was the final report from British parliament’s culture, media and sport select committee, which stated that Murdoch was “not fit” to run a major international media company.

As the Guardian notes, Rockefeller’s letter marks the first time that a member of the U.S. Senate has taken a more focused interest in the hacking scandal. The Senate could hold public hearings about the hacking scandal and subpoena witnesses and documents from News Corp.

There is yet no discussion of such but much is at stake. The commerce committee oversees the Federal Communications Commission, which has the final say about issuing broadcast licenses including the 27 issued to what the Guardian calls the “jewel in Murdoch’s crown, Fox News.

News Corp. also faces a possible inquiry related to the charges of corruption levied at the company in the U.K. On the same day as Rockefeller’s letter was sent, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg called for a “robust inquiry” about whether New York-based News Corp. could be charged under anti-bribery and corruption laws, in the wake of reports about voice-mail and email hacking and also of corruption, including bribes to police. News Corp. could be charged under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for American citizens and companies to pay bribes to government officials abroad.

Indeed, two weeks ago, lawyer Mark Lewis, who has represented a number of hacking victims in the U.K. including the family of Milly Dowler, started investigations into four allegations of phone hacking that had occurred in the U.S.

Lewis has said that there are “so many American aspects” to the hacking scandal, including potential American victims of hacking and the possibility that News Corp. executives have withheld “material information” from shareholders and potential investors.

Writing in the Associated Press, Raphael Satter describes how what he calls not the hacking scandal, but the Murdoch scandal, is following a “classic script” for the rise and fall of a media baron:

“Scrappy outsider turns modest newspaper business into international media conglomerate. Ambition turns to hubris. Mogul dramatically falls from grace.”

Murdoch’s star has surely been tarnished — blackened — in the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who made a special trip to Murdoch’s yacht in 2008 to “receive his blessing” said last week that “we all did too much cozying up to Rupert Murdoch.” Just on Tuesday, the Guardian reported that Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks to “keep her head up” in the week before she resigned as CEO of News International and prior to what has turned out to be the first of two arrests for her.

Murdoch still possesses the vast share of his media holdings, and is the head of a “fabulously successful media company.” News Corp.’s share price has remained high despite months of reports about the scandal and the company just reported a big gain in its quarterly profits on Wednesday: For the three months up to March, the company’s net profit rose to $1 billion, as compared to $682 million in the same period last year. In the U.S., the Fox News network, whose decidedly unfair and unbalanced version of the news is what New York Times columnist Bill Keller calls Murdoch’s ”most toxic legacy,” continues to attract legions of viewers while annoying and outraging many of us.

Increasingly isolated in Britain, and certainly despised in the U.S., Murdoch has, writes Satter, become like a figure in the closing scene of Citizen Kane, “successful, wealthy, but unloved.”

There’s still a lot to play out and we haven’t heard the last of it. Meanwhile, he owns over 70% of the Australian newspaper media which is why you’ll never hear that:

The fact of the matter is Murdoch uses Fox News in America and Sky News in Britain, in addition to his many newspapers, to illegally get richer and shape politics as he sees fit according to his will, not what is in the best interest of the public, which is completely unethical and disgraceful. He is one of the greediest, most vengeful and abusive people on the planet with absolutely no moral compass. Murdoch has been trying to rule the world and no one elected or appointed him king.

Is it reasonable to suggest that he runs his Australian media arm no different to that of the USA or the UK?

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  1. Fed up

    Still the same old rogue, all for personal power. I notice our present PM does not give him much time. If she manages to get re-elected, maybe it will break the mould.

    Well, one can hope.

  2. eleanawi

    Great article. Thanks. I do listen to BBC, American and Canadian radio. I think you have been very brave to challenge the man who has no integrity what so ever.

  3. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    The worst lie perpetuated by Murdoch MSM is anyone who disagree with him and his corporate propaganda machine is biased, wrong, a sick leftoid and demonised…this is a man who’s greed is insatiable and morality is questionable..not by allegation, by his actions.

  4. Min

    Ricky, even worse is the none too subtle hint that if one dares to disagree or rebel against “instructions”, that a campaign will be launched against you. The immediate headlines ridiculing Oakeshott when he sided with Labor come to mind.

  5. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Min it is so apparent he is a vindictive prick. People are so scared of him, his power and his retribution. You are so on the money. Hope your well been out of the loop for a while, trying not to upset myself with politics and keep calm. operation went well, feel like a new man, i guess that is real…karma. all the best Ricky

  6. Jennifer Fallon

    And lest we forget:
    In 1975, in protest at Murdoch’s interference in the 1975 election campaign, reporters at the Australian went on strike in protest and they reportedly wrote to the boss calling the newspaper “a propaganda sheet” and saying it had become, ‘a laughing stock’. An article published by the Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand, “The Murdoch papers and the 1975 ‘dismissal’ election” goes on to refer to a 1995 article by Peter Bowers quoting former diplomat, John Menadue saying something to the effect that Murdoch was dangerous in 1975 and more so later, adding that “America and Britain may be able to accommodate him but our country is too small to live comfortably with the interventionist side of Rupert Murdoch’s.”

  7. Terence

    It is interesting that the IPA, an organisation embraced by Murdoch and Tony Abbott, in addition to wanting the the ABC and SBS broken up and sold include in their wishlist:

    “15. Eliminate laws that require radio & television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’.”

    So, in addition to a thoroughly biased, deceptive and deeply prejudiced print media they want to further pander to the likes of Murdoch, Bolt, Jones et al to destroy what little non-partisan and impartial dialogue remains in our fractured society; and you thought 1984 was a work of fiction.

  8. rossleighbrisbane

    What’s the difference between Rupert Murdoch and Mr Burns? Answer: One of them is ridiculous and have us fluctuating between laughing at the obvious absurdity of what he says and outrage when we realise that some of it has consequences in the real world. The other is a cartoon character on “The Simpsons”

  9. dariancase

    Reblogged this on dariancase.

  10. ReB

    I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised in Murdoch’s attempts to ‘influence’ politics, after all his father was interfering in politics when made himself Australia’s unofficial war correspondent, then ignored the official censorship agreement he had signed and sent exaggerated reports on the British military command to then-PM Andrew Fisher in 1915. The official war correspondent CEW Bean wrote that Keith Murdoch ‘dearly loved the exercise of power’ – it would appear to be a genetic trait.

  11. Truth Seeker

    Migs, great article 😎 We really need to keep pressing the point of what a self involved piece of excrement Murdoch is.
    It would also be good to find out just what the LNP owe him as a major contributor to their cause for election, cos many don’t realise that when you vote for Abbott, you actually get Murdoch.
    As I said in in the last couple of lines of my latest poem “But the saddest thing, is the LNP Are Murdoch’s… biggest… tools”

    Abbott’s War of Class.

    Cheers 😀

  12. Brian Arnatt

    A well written and researched piece Michael, which helps us all remember just what a miserable scumbag Murdoch really is. A fiction writer couldn’t have come up with a worse example of greedy humanity, and set him amid a worse scenario.
    Murdoch who wishes to rule the world through his criminal Murdochracy, should, we hope, be cut down to a very small size by the combined law enforcment agencies in Britain and America. Surely the world cannot temble for ever in the shadow of this power crazed maga manic for much longer.

  13. Babs

    What distresses me is that my family reads only Murdoch journalism and each member (except me) repeats the News Limited biased positions and outright lies as the truth, because it’s been published and they’ve read it in print. One outcome is that I regularly hear things like ‘Julia Gillard is conniving and cunning’ (which politician isn’t?); Julia Gillard operated an illegal slush fund (apparently Tony Abbott’s Hanson slush fund was quite OK); Julia Gillard had lovers! (strange to say no other political leader ever did anything so lewd); and even that Justice Rares was acting on her behalf by pointing to the blatant misuse of the Federal Court in the Ashby sexual harassment case. This is the Murdoch legacy – a complete pollution of the dialogue between elected government and voting populace.

  14. Pingback: Stuart Hall’s Lawyers Used Leveson to Threaten Media |

  15. Jay Buoy

    and of course they wouldn’t have phone hacked or bribed in Oz..
    Its quite insulting to the intellect that assertion..

  16. Ken Brown

    Put the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rhinehart together and it gives you some idea of the integrity of the Australian mainstream media today.

  17. Alan Baird

    Yeah, nothing to laugh at. Appalling person, plus the sycophants who work for him. Remember, to work for this piece of ordure, one has to KNOW INTUITIVELY what he wants. If you DON’T know, you won’t be employed long. The ONE peculiar outlier is/ was? Phillip Adams who wrote for the Oz (don’t know if this is still the case as I never read it, merely quotes of its more risible statements) and for the life of me I can’t think why he wastes his time on the readers of this rag in broadsheet clothing. I have unwillingly been near the occasional batch of Oz readers in cafes and they are knuckle draggers all. However, they THINK they are a superior breed of knuckle dragger compared with Terror and Hun readers. They are wrong: their arms are simply further apart and this CAN’T be mistaken for breadth of vision. Occasionally the Oz has been caught out being hilariously blinkered, on one notable occasion printing a letter critical of two Labor MPs PLUS John Howard. They printed the letter MINUS John Howard. BIG mistake as the bloke who wrote the letter objected vociferously and it became public everywhere (EXCEPT in the Murdochracy). Bet that fella doesn’t get a gig in the letters page anymore. Of course, the same News (Very) Ltd (the most accurate name) doubled down on its usual attacks alleging BIAS (Ha!) from the ABC, the most timorous lefties on earth. One day he simply MUST have his Citizen Kane moment. The sheer awfulness of this… collection of unpleasant cellular matter has no end.

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