Mark O Brien

Is This The End For News?

With Mark O’Brien

Can it really be true? Is it really possible that Rupert Murdoch’s control over how and what a large proportion of the human race thinks and feels is about to whither? Is there really a light at the end of the tunnel?

As the extent of the scandal in the UK surrounding the Murdoch tabloid, News of the World, seems to expand each day, serious doubts are finally being voiced about the integrity of the entire News Corporation and of its chairman and directors.

Clearly the policy of News of the World editors to bribe police to get inside information, along with the thousands of instances of phone and email hacking that have shocked the UK (especially when they hacked into a missing girl’s voicemail account in order to get a front page headline while the girl had already been murdered, along with the hacking former PM Gordon Brown’s voicemail to uncover details of his daughter’s sickness) has turned the spotlight on Murdoch’s suitability to run large swathes of British media, and indeed, media anywhere in the world.

News Corporation’s push to buy the remainder of BSkyB satellite business that is does not own already seems to now be doomed, while its ownership of its existing holdings has also been called into question.

News Corporation’s brand has become so damaged in the UK that approximately $6billion has been wiped off the company’s stock valuation, and it may well be that News Corporation will have sell of its assets and simply leave the UK.

Will this ‘fall of empire’ extend to the US, where the Fox network has become a defacto political party, a right wing propaganda machine that defines most political discussions?

(See Outfoxed, Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism to see how Fox has cleverly shifted the centre of most debates to the right, where what used to be centrist political thought is now seen as left, what was right is now centrist, and what used to be left is now seen as socialist.)

Will Murdoch be able to isolate his problems to the UK, or will it spread through his media empire?

Will it also extend to Australia where News Corporation’s control of large chunks of Australian media also defines what passes for news, and defines the debates of the day?

It is interesting that it is only through reading international media that one really becomes aware of the nature of the scandal, as the Australian media is generally intimidated by Murdoch and his power to turn the blowtorch on his opponents, to influence advertisers to move this way or that.

It beggars belief that as the chairman of News Corporation, Murdoch, who is known for his heavy handedness, would be oblivious to how the British arms of his empire was begin run, and as such it also beggars belief that he did not approve of the news gathering methods used.

Particularly as his current senior UK representative in the UK was previously the News of the World editor who oversaw the journalistic corruption currently being exposed.

If Murdoch approved such tactics in the UK, and his continued endorsement of the woman charged with overseeing them indicates that he did, then the likelihood of similar tactics being used elsewhere increases daily.

The integrity, therefore, of every Murdoch media outlet worldwide must now be called into public question.

Perhaps it is time that non Murdoch media, whose hysterical and moralising tones are a reflection of Murdoch’s own power, do a ‘Murdoch’ on Murdoch?

One can only hope.


In a new development Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of News of the World, and until recently head of Murdoch’s UK operations, has resigned, along with Les Hinton, a 52-year employee, who was responsible for oveseeing the guilty activity and who was the publisher of the Wall Street Journal and who also runs the Dow Jones.

Big fish are getting caught up in this net. 16/7/2011

Sept 2014. Well, Rupert has gone quiet as he ages, but it does seem that the predicted and hoped for demise of Fox and Murdoch’s power was a bit premature!!