You may recall how Heracles undertook the task of cleaning the stables of king Augeas in one day. Augeas was king of Elis, and extremely rich in cattle. Heracles, went to Augeas, offering in one day to clean his stables, if he would give him the tenth part of the cattle herd for his efforts. Augeas, believing that Heracles could not possibly accomplish what he promised, agreed, and Heracles took Phyleus, the son of Augeas, as his witness as he commenced his task.
Heracles had thought this through and he diverted the rivers Alpheius and Peneius through the stables, which were thus cleaned in the time fixed upon.
So what has this got to do with the price of eggs you may be saying. Well, nothing but it has a lot to do with the way Newscorp one of the world’s biggest news organisations is run. For some considerable time this media empire has attracted the sort of creatures that swarm on piles of excrement. It was clear that the old ‘coffin-dodger’ who built the empire was not going to clean his own stables so it has been left to the prodigal son (s). It was said a few years ago when James Murdoch was still in the game and after the News of the World phone tapping scandals that the young Murdochs were trying to convince their Dad that they had to get away from the perception that they only employed ‘lecherous old white dudes’ to run their business.
A case in point, Fox News in the US where the two sons combined to flush out the ailing Roger Ailes, a proven serial misogynist (to put it nicely) who exploited young women in his employ and in his thrall.
Fox News a pay TV channel in America was created by Murdoch senior in 1996 to appeal to a conservative audience, hiring former Republican media consultant and CNBC executive Roger Ailes as its founding CEO. Depending on your viewpoint, Ailes was a pioneer in providing a platform for right-wing disaffected Republicans or he was the worst thing ever to happen to impartial and objective journalism in the US. Despite their father’s objections the Murdoch boys conspired to get rid of Ailes and they succeeded but it cost a reputed forty million dollars to get rid of that lecherous old dude.
Then there was Bill O’Reilly a FOX anchor and a thoroughly nasty piece of work. Numerous allegations and an internal investigation at FOX found that multiple women had reported inappropriate behaviour by O’Reilly and he too was flushed but not before advertisers had started to withdraw their support, something that will always get the attention of Rupert : O’Reilly was sent packing after collecting a reported exit fee of some $US 30million.
Back home in Australia, it’s not clear what actually occurred to bring on the hasty exit of Chris Dore, Editor in Chief at The Australian. Reports suggest that senior executives at Newscorp had witnessed highly inappropriate, drunken behaviour by Dore on several occasions, including most recently at a Newscorp function in California which appears to have been the catalyst for him to be shown the door (or as they usually say, the opportunity for him to spend more time with his family).
Meanwhile we had the depressing report of Sky News right-wing presenter and Courier-Mail columnist Peter Gleeson who left News Corp after multiple instances of plagiarism were uncovered. The Courier-Mail announced that after thirty four years with Newscorp he was gone, also it seems with an overwhelming desire to spend more time with his family, although they may not have shared that ambition. Gleeson had his own program on Sky-after-Dark and will not be missed.
His stablemate Chris Smith was next to go. Smith was a broadcaster with 2GB and Sky after dark where he had his own program, Chris Smith Tonight where he conducted predictable right-wing rants and forgettable echo-chamber ‘interviews’ with the usual right-wing suspects.
Smith was sacked by Sky News Australia as well as 2GB after alleged drunken behaviour and “serious misconduct” involving the treatment of women at a Sydney venue after a Sky News Christmas party. Allegedly Smith is a serial offender . In 1998 he was fired from his role as chief of staff at A Current Affair for allegedly exposing himself to four women at a Nine farewell party. Then in 2009 he was suspended by the Macquarie Radio Network (now Nine Entertainment) for allegedly exposing himself to several women at a 2GB function, attempting to kiss a female colleague and allegedly groping a female weather presenter. Both Andrew Bolt at Sky and Ray Hadley at 2GB showed no sympathy for their former colleague as he was flushed away to the reluctant embrace of his family .
Why are so many of these old white dudes getting the DCM (don’t come Monday) in the Murdoch media empire ? Is it something to do with the quality of people Murdoch has attracted and promoted over the years ? Is it only now that Lachlan has taken over that action is finally being taken ? Who knows, suffice to say that young Murdoch still has a way to go until these stables are free of excrement !
Most references to these shenanigans come from sources other than Newscorp and that could be part of the problem, that a news organisation refuses to recognise or record its own failings :
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