Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

How very vulgar – and how typical – of Rupert Murdoch

hillary-clinton-nypost-e1359038580272He loves to peddle the tawdry and twist reality. His London papers, The Sun and the recently-deceased  criminal enterprise The News of the World, do and did regularly soil the streets of that city. Here, The New York Post carries the same tawdry gene. 

As is the case with the always-failing Moonie-owned Washington Times, the paper hasn’t earned a single dime in profit since Murdoch bought it in 1993. For a few years, he even dropped the price to 25 cents to prop up circulation (about 600,000). For comparison’s sake, The New York Times sells – in the City alone – about a million and a half papers every day and still makes a tidy profit.

That price by the way? The 25 cents? That was the cheapest single issue price in the country. (Have you noticed that keyboards no longer have a key for the cent sign.)

To support this rich man’s toy and to keep it on the streets so as to maintain a powerful voice advancing his own interests, both political and financial, costs Murdoch $70 million a year, almost a billion and a half dollars since ’93.

Calling Lou Dobbs . . .  your show on the FOX Business Channel might want to report on such an epic business fail.

Don’t dare call this freedom of the press: Murdoch’s three continent media empire

Hacker-gate is off the front pages right now, as our media obeys its own one-story-at-a-time-all-the-time rule. But until the next ‘newsworthy’ phase erupts, let us remind ourselves of a few things about the Murdoch empire.

Here’s a good summary of its impact (from a Joe Nocera column last week):

I generally admire entrepreneurs who build giant companies Rupert Murdoch . . . has not been a force for good over the course of his long career. His Bill O’Reilly-ed, Glenn Beck-ed Fox News has done a great deal to coarsen the political discourse. His tabloids have lowered the standards of journalism on three continents — and routinely broken the law on at least one of them. He had dumbed down his prestige papers, like The Times of London. He has run roughshod over cross-ownership rules meant to prevent one man or company from having too much power — and then used his lobbying might to get those rules diluted. He has put kowtowing to China ahead of freedom of the press, even killing a book set to be published by his HarperCollins unit that the Chinese authorities objected to. He has consistently used his media properties to reward allies and punish enemies. It’s a long list.

Murdoch’s media reach is the very definition of undue influence (as are the tens of thousands of lobbyists who choke our government, but that’s another story).

From wikipedia, here is a list of just the categories of entities owned by News Corp, followed (after the jump) by the full list of the companies. There’s not time enough in my life to count them, but do go ahead and try if you’ve the stomach. You’d better grab some popcorn before you make the attempt.

Holdings

Continue reading

Anybody told the WSJ yet that the head of Scotland Yard just resiged?

So the WSJ editorial page was/is/always will be conservative. They embraced neoconservativism. They loved them some wars. They embraced ‘trickle down’ and ‘supply side’ economics, and they embraced some of the wackiest Republican office seekers in a century.

But they were still part of a great paper, full of real journalists who have to read this today.

News and Its Critics
A tabloid’s excesses don’t tarnish thousands of other journalists.
When News Corp. and CEO Rupert Murdoch secured enough shares to buy Dow Jones & Co. four years ago, these columns welcomed our new owner and promised to stand by the same standards and principles we always had. That promise is worth repeating now that politicians and our competitors are using the phone-hacking years ago at a British corner of News Corp. to assail the Journal, and perhaps injure press freedom in general.

That is a deeply political statement. This is pretty good too:

The British politicians now bemoaning media influence over politics are also the same statesmen who have long coveted media support. The idea that the BBC and the Guardian newspaper aren’t attempting to influence public affairs, and don’t skew their coverage to do so, can’t stand a day’s scrutiny.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more resignations from the news side soon, something that in any case has been happening for three and a half years. Back in April, when Reuters announced some new top editorial appointments, many of them were former WSJ reporters.  At the time, Media Matters wrote:

It’s the latest chapter in the steady loss of talent from Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal since Rupert Murdoch took over. And many of the departed personnel are helping to boost the efforts of Dow Jones’ biggest rivals — Reuters, Bloomberg, and The New York Times.

Even before Murdoch’s News Corp. finalized the purchase of Dow Jones in late 2007, concerns arose in and out of the news operation . . . strategy could slant coverage or, at least, hurt quality.

In interviews with Media Matters, many of the dozens to flee the Journal and Dow Jones in the past three and half years say the push for shorter stories, less investigative work, and — at times — a subtle nudge for more business-friendly stories has made it a worse place to work and resulted in a diminished editorial product.

That’s destruction, turning a national treasure into just another ‘product’.  But it’s what Daddy wanted.

Fox finally addresses Murdoch story: victim / perp same exact thing

FOX News steps up and sends heavyweight Steve Doocey out to face the music. Not. This is laugh out loud funny.

Light. Tunnel. Rupert Murdoch has liberal heirs.

Plus Roger Ailes is no youngster.

New York Magazine’s lengthy profile of Ailes has grabbed some headlines today, mainly because he said “Sarah Palin is stupid”.

But there’s also this:

Even Rupert Murdoch, sensing the shifting tectonic plates, contemplated a move to the middle. In the summer of 2008, Ailes confronted Murdoch after he learned Murdoch was thinking of endorsing Obama in the New York Post; Ailes threatened to quit. . . . Murdoch’s children were agitating for a greater role in the company. Ailes surely understood that their politics, along with those of then–News Corp. president Peter Chernin and communications adviser Gary Ginsberg, differed greatly from Murdoch’s. The tensions surrounding Ailes played out in the publication of Michael Wolff’s Murdoch biography. Matthew Freud, husband of Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth and a London-based PR executive, encouraged Wolff to portray Fox as a pariah wing of the News Corp. empire.

Another juicy tidbit

The oddness of Glenn Beck is beginning to cause unease  among those Republicans who think winning the occasional election is a good idea. It’s not just Bill Kristol. There’s also this from The Washington Monthly post linked below:

Joe Klein noted over the weekend that he’s “heard, from more than a couple of conservative sources, that prominent Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about the potential embarrassment that the paranoid-messianic rodeo clown may bring upon their brand. The speculation is that Beck is on thin ice.”

The Reality Free Zone

Huh?

Okay, my head is exploding. I sinned once again by exposing myself to Glenn Beck. It’s kind of an anthropological fascination. People will be writing about this guy for generations – I can see textbooks exploring the crazy.  He just said:

Code Pink is pretty damn cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood.”  And Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn too! (Weathermen from the 1960’s anti war movement). Also ACORN. And The Tides Foundation – all his usual bugaboos. Oh – and Code Pink is under the protection of Hamas, the terrorist! group! (from the democratically elected government of Palestine). All of these groups have some kind of carefully hidden agenda that involves . . . dum de dum dum . . . social justice! and . . . . dum de dum dum . . . ethnic cleansing! Really, ethnic cleansing. I only heard part of it, so I don’t know if he named PBS and Barbra Streisand.

Rupert Murdoch better be making an awful lot of money.

Is this who we are?

Once again, I seem to have taken an unplanned break from the blog. Downtime will, I expect, become a recurring feature here. This time I think the reason is because of what happened on Saturday. It left me speechless.

The killings in Tuscon describe, on too many levels, the story of the tragedy that is us. America has produced too many assassins; some succeed, some fail, but still they discharge their weapons. Just in my own lifetime: Kennedy, King, Kennedy, Ford, Reagan, a few other Congress critters (and I am sorry I don’t remember the names) and now Rep. Gifford. The wife of an astronaut. And those are just the political ones.

Public figures of all kinds – journalists, entertainers, doctors, nurses, municipal officials – it is a list too far. Agencies of the government, the buildings that house them, the innocents who showed up for their jobs that day.

We fiercely defend our guns – even the weapons of war – in the hands of those who mean us ill.

We allow – some embrace – the language of incitement, the mindset that sees government as the enemy off all that is good. A mindset that has taken hold and is endlessly reinforced. We now think it’s okay to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.

We reward liars and fools – Limbaugh, Murdoch, Beck, Savage. Those who become obscenely wealthy toying with this nation and undermining  our national stability.

Rush Limbaugh changed the face of radio and invented today’s shabby genre of talk radio. He’s been on the air for 20 awful years, on thousands of stations around the country (even the military carries him on its stations). How big an impact has this one man had with his endless stream of nonsense-made-real?

Continue reading

Surprise, surprise and still we’re at war

Another example (see below) of how badly our press behaves. How the memes spread and an inference by a partisan party quickly becomes a spreading news story. Case in point: 3:17pm, I am tired of the paperwork under which I’ve been buried today; I turn on tv for a distraction. Here’s what MSNBC is telling me:

The NY Post has said that ‘some tenants’ of the big bad Imam Rauf are calling him a slumlord because he hasn’t gotten rid of the bed bugs in their building. (For those of you who don’t follow such trivia, the City of New York is fighting a city-wide infestation of bed bugs.) So Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post (also the originator of the terrorist mosque story) prints a non-story and MSNBC dutifully reports it as “The NY Post is saying that someone (unnamed) is saying . . . ” Take it from there. It’ll be all over the media tonight.

This is how the Fourth Estate drives the nation into a gutter of irrelevance while seeking to entertain itself and titillate its audience. They are teh suck.

Although, I kind of understand – after all, it’s really hard work to report that today is the 326th day of the ninth year of the war in Afghanistan.

The whole sad story

. . . of how the media empire of our Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch  once again has carried a story from the fringes of the blogshpere to the front pages, beginnng with the NY Post and then broadcast through Fox News. It’s a shabby and disgraceful journey, and it’s timelined by reporter Justin Elliot at Salon. I gave up trying to excerpt, so here it is in its entirety.

How the “ground zero mosque” fear mongering began

A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan. They have had a mosque in the same neighborhood for many years. There’s another mosque two blocks away from the site. City officials support the project. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon, the other building hit on Sept. 11, for many years. In short, there is no good reason that the Cordoba House project should have been a major national news story, let alone controversy. And yet it has become just that, dominating the political conversation for weeks and prompting such a backlash that, according to a new poll, nearly 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast?

 In a story last week, the New York Times, which framed the project in a largely positive, noncontroversial light last December, argued that it was cursed from the start by “public relations missteps.” But this isn’t accurate. To a remarkable extent, a Salon review of the origins of the story found, the controversy was kicked up and driven by Pamela Geller, a right-wing, viciously anti-Muslim, conspiracy-mongering blogger, whose sinister portrayal of the project was embraced by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

 Here’s a timeline of how it all happened:

 Dec. 8, 2009: The Times publishes a lengthy front-page look at the Cordoba project. “We want to push back against the extremists,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the lead organizer, is quoted as saying. Two Jewish leaders and two city officials, including the mayor’s office, say they support the idea, as does the mother of a man killed on 9/11. An FBI spokesman says the imam has worked with the bureau. Besides a few third-tier right-wing blogs, including Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs site, no one much notices the Times story.

  • Dec. 21, 2009: Conservative media personality Laura Ingraham interviews Abdul Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan, while guest-hosting “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox. In hindsight, the segment is remarkable for its cordiality. “I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it,” Ingraham says of the Cordoba project, adding at the end of the interview, “I like what you’re trying to do.”
  • (This segment also includes onscreen the first use that we’ve seen of the misnomer “ground zero mosque.”) After the segment — and despite the front-page Times story — there were no news articles on the mosque for five and a half months, according to a search of the Nexis newspaper archive.
  • May 6, 2010: After a unanimous vote by a New York City community board committee to approve the project, the AP runs a story. It quotes relatives of 9/11 victims (called by the reporter), who offer differing opinions. The New York Post, meanwhile, runs a story under the inaccurate headline, “Panel Approves ‘WTC’ Mosque.” Geller is less subtle, titling her post that day, “Monster Mosque Pushes Ahead in Shadow of World Trade Center Islamic Death and Destruction.” She writes on her Atlas Shrugs blog, “This is Islamic domination and expansionism. The location is no accident. Just as Al-Aqsa was built on top of the Temple in Jerusalem.” (To get an idea of where Geller is coming from, she once suggested that Malcolm X was Obama’s real father. Seriously.)
  • May 7, 2010: Geller’s group, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), launches “Campaign Offensive: Stop the 911 Mosque!” (SIOA ‘s associate director is Robert Spencer, who makes his living writing and speaking about the evils of Islam.) Geller posts the names and contact information for the mayor and members of the community board, encouraging people to write. The board chair later reports getting “hundreds and hundreds” of calls and e-mails from around the world.
  • May 8, 2010: Geller announces SIOA’s first protest against what she calls the “911 monster mosque” for May 29. She and Spencer and several other members of the professional anti-Islam industry will attend. (She also says that the protest will mark the dark day of “May 29, 1453, [when] the Ottoman forces led by the Sultan Mehmet II broke through the Byzantine defenses against the Muslim siege of Constantinople.” The outrage-peddling New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser argues in a note at the end of her column a couple of days later that “there are better places to put a mosque.”
  • May 13, 2010: Peyser follows up with an entire column devoted to “Mosque Madness at Ground Zero.” This is a significant moment in the development of the “ground zero mosque” narrative: It’s the first newspaper article that frames the project as inherently wrong and suspect, in the way that Geller has been framing it for months. Peyser in fact quotes Geller at length and promotes the anti-mosque protest of Stop Islamization of America, which Peyser describes as a “human-rights group.” Peyser also reports — falsely — that Cordoba House’s opening date will be Sept. 11, 2011.

 Lots of opinion makers on the right read the Post, so it’s not surprising that, starting that very day, the mosque story spread through the conservative — and then mainstream — media like fire through dry grass. Geller appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show. The Washington Examiner ran an outraged column about honoring the 9/11 dead. So did Investor’s Business Daily. Smelling blood, the Post assigned news reporters to cover the ins and outs of the Cordoba House development daily. Fox News, the Post’s television sibling, went all out.

 Within a month, Rudy Giuliani had called the mosque a “desecration.” Within another month, Sarah Palin had tweeted her famous “peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate” tweet. Peter King and Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty followed suit — with political reporters and television news programs dutifully covering “both sides” of the controversy.

 Geller had succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.

Even better the second time around

Just came across today’s Gawker story on  Murdoch’s remarks at the National Press Club, which I noted earlier. But they’re Gawker – and they do it so well:

Murdoch wanted to talk about hating Google (because he is a cranky old man) and how the iPad will save newspapers (because he is a delusional old man), but the interviewer totally went there with a Fox News question. Murdoch insisted that Fox covers “both sides,” but he could not actually back that up with examples.

Asked to name a single Democrat-leaning Fox commentator – alongside such conservative names as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly – he struggled openly to remember one. “I wish I could tell you a couple of names. But they are certainly there,” he said. He eventually settled on the Fox host Greta van Susteren, whom he said was “close” to the Democratic party.

Greta! Greta van Susteren. Her father was a close friend of Joe McCarthy. Her husband is an advisor for Sarah Palin. Anyone who watches hershow or reads her hilarious blog) knows she totally wants to gay marry Sarah. (And Todd!)

Poor Rupert. Maybe he’s confused the Democratic party with the Church of Scientology?”