Rupert Murdoch’s speech last night has predictably aroused lashings of comment and anger, but we do not complain. It is nothing new for press barons to want to influence public policy, to make “pacts” with political parties, or to further the interests of their empires. They do it every minute of every day through their various media. When they speak as invididuals, however, they do us a favour because, in doing so, they conveniently remind us of the dangerous amount of power they possess.
We do not claim Mr Murdoch is an evil man who wants to dominate the world. We do not claim he has no compassion for the poor or oppressed. For all we know, he is kind to dogs and small children. It really isn’t the point. The fact is, whatever Mr Murdoch may or may not be, whatever views he holds, he should not be allowed to be in a position where his opinions, channelled through his countless media outlets, can shape our lives.
As a businessman, Mr Murdoch’s motivation is to make profits for his corporation. He has not been elected to serve the public interest. And yet his market dominance in Britain, already far too unhealthy for any democracy, is set to expand. The way to root out this problem is through a media commission, which still looks nowhere in sight. Hopefully, by further demonstrating his influence, Mr Murdoch’s speech will help to awaken us and our politicians from our long sleepwalk.
Incidentally, this blogger is currently visting the US, where, in the crucial run up to the mid term elections, Tea Party politicians are being advised by colleagues to only give broadcaast interviews to Fox News, because of the “hostility” of other news stations. This could never happen in Britain – or could it? A few years ago, Americans would have said it could never happen there.
PS Apologies for recent infrequency of blogs and unusual timings of tweets, due to different time zones and limited internet access. Back to normal in a few days.