Corruption? Is Rupert Murdoch Hacking our Democracy?
Has Rupert Murdoch’s Organization been Trading Propaganda Services To Politicians in Exchange for Government Favors?
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, Murdoch’s NY Post and even Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal - appear to be used as a portfolio of propaganda publicity outlets to support Murdoch-favored politicians and Murdoch-favored public policies.
In this report we'll explore the possibility that Keith Rupert Murdoch’s manipulative media machine is corrupting the public dialogue by disinforming and creating chaos in voters' minds, so that he can punish candidates by publicizing them out of office or publicity promote candidates into office. The photo at right shows a 1983 meeting between President Ronald Reagan and media mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch.
Decades of historical and recent coincidences, on three continents, and numerous administrations provide an entire body of circumstantial evidence that suggests Murdoch's organization has been methodically conducting behind-the-scenes deals with government officials to change media laws and regulations - affecting Murdoch's organization and the media industry - in Murdoch's favor.
In an October 16, 2006 story in the New Yorker, journalist and former Murdoch employee John Cassidy tells us,
“When I suggested to Murdoch that many people believe that his business interests dictate his politics, he reacted angrily. “Go ask Ed Koch if I ever asked him for anything,” he said. “Go ask Margaret Thatcher. Go ask Tony Blair. Ask anyone if I ever asked for anything.”
“Koch told me that Murdoch did once ask for something: during a newspaper strike in 1978, he requested, through an intermediary, that the Post’s delivery trucks be allowed to use the city’s parkways. Koch said yes. (He offered the city’s other newspapers similar access.) The Thatcher government provided Murdoch with crucial police support when he fired hundreds of print-union workers, in 1986, and Blair relaxed the Labour Party’s policy on media ownership.”
Cassidy's listing of Murdoch favors from government officials appears to have only been the tip of the iceberg.
Is Murdoch Pulling Strings to Rewrite American Media Laws?
There have been a whole host of changes to American media laws since Rupert Murdoch arrived on our shores in the late 1970's.
The laws and regulations governing media that have been altered include: 1) media ownership by foreigners, 2) limits on local television stations ownership, 3) ownership of multiple media outlets in the same market [aka duopolies], and 4) media mergers and acquisitions. While I was generally unable to establish a legally verifiable quid pro quo, I did find an incredible number of what could only be described as 'interesting coincidences'. So interesting as to lead me to believe they might not be coincidences at all, including a recent series of events that appear to illustrate the theory that Keith Rupert Murdoch has played a highly influential role in making those changes.
Was Michigan Congressman Fred Upton's Request to Remove the 'Fairness Doctrine', done in Exchange for Favorable Murdoch Media & Cash?
“Lately, a particular fundraising focus for Murdoch's American arm has been the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan. The company has directed $35,500 to Upton's leadership committee, including a $2,500 check from Murdoch himself.”
Less than a year earlier, on May 31, 2011 the EnergyCommerce.House.gov website reported that,
“House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today sent a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to remove the Fairness Doctrine rules from the Code of Federal Regulations.”
“"Further research has revealed that the political-editorial and personal-attack rules also remain intact despite the FCC's decision to repeal them. The media marketplace is more diverse and competitive today than it was ten years ago … “ [Editor’s Note: This statement is not true – see facts a bit further below].
Murdoch's Fox News was tracking these events, and reported in a June 8, 2011 story headlined FCC Agrees to take “Fairness Doctrine off the Books”,
“"I [FCC's Genachowski] fully support deleting the Fairness Doctrine and related provisions from the Code of Federal Regulations,” … Genachowski wrote to Rep. Fred. Upton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.”
“At the time [when the rules were instated in 1949], only 2,881 radio stations existed, compared with roughly 14,000 today.”
FCC Chairman Genachowski failed to mention that while the number of stations has proliferated, the ownership of them has not. According to a Business Insider report [info source was FrugalDad.com – a higher education funding website] and also published in Wikipedia.org - the media outlets mentioned above are now owned by six corporations, down from 50 in 1983.
In the graphic at right is a Murdoch's tabloid NY Post roasting the Clintons about Quid Pro Quo. I superimposed Murdoch's face over the Clintons as it appears the pot may be calling the kettle black.
You Decide – Is Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch Guilty of Quid Pro Quo Corruption or are these an Amazing Series of Lucky Coincidences?
Read on to decide for yourself whether you think that billionaire media mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch and his organization, are guilty of many of the same sorts of quid pro quo malfeasance of which they so easily and frequently accuse politicians.
Click here to read the rest of our report - Is Rupert Murdoch Hacking Democracy & Quid Pro Quo Corruption?
Corruption? Is Rupert Murdoch Hacking our Democracy?
Has Rupert Murdoch’s Organization been Trading Propaganda Services To Politicians in Exchange for Government Favors?
This report continues with an account of billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s organization’s succession of beneficial regulatory exemptions, rulings and changes in media law in three countries on three continents. These legal and regulatory changes oftentimes happened not too long after the candidates supported by the Murdoch organization took office. We start with Murdoch's string of lucky coincidences in America, then Britain and finally Australia where the billionaire media mogul owns nearly two thirds of all Australian newspapers and half of its satellite television. Murdoch is no longer an Australian citizen, so the lion's share of Australian media is owned by a foreign national.
In the photo at right you can see Rupert Murdoch visiting with President Reagan in 1983.
I. AMERICA: Is Murdoch Rewriting our Media Laws?
Murdoch entered the American media market when he bought the NY Post in 1976. He agreed to purchase about half of 20th Century Fox in 1984, in a partnership with Marvin Davis. He bought out Davis in 1985 and then proceeded to buy Metromedia’s six local television stations in 1986. Ten years later, in 1996, Murdoch launched Fox News, a 24/7 cable news network. Murdoch's organization has one of the top two cable news programs, one of the top four national television networks, one of the nation's two largest daily newspapers [WSJ], and a dominant share of market in the nation's cultural and media capital with two local television stations, a national TV network, one national newspaper and one tabloid paper.
A. Reagan Legislative Changes & Regulatory Exceptions
i. Foreign Ownership Regulatory Allowance
Murdoch and his organization’s regulatory exceptions started during the Reagan Administration with Murdoch winning an exemption for foreign ownership of American television stations, which previously had been capped at 25% when Reagan took office. The Reagan Administration also expanded the TV ownership limits and scrapped the Fairness Doctrine Rules, all while Murdoch's organization was buying up TV stations and opening up a national TV network.
Investigative journalist and author Robert Parry, who had formerly written for the Associated Press and Newsweek, published a report on December 31, 2014 on Alternet.org. Parry states,
“In 1984, he [Murdoch] bought a stake in 20th Century Fox and then six Metromedia television stations, which would form the nucleus of Fox Broadcasting Company, which was founded on Oct. 9, 1986.”
“… [Murdoch] became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1985 to meet a regulatory requirement that U.S. TV stations must be owned by Americans …”
Murdoch moved his company’s headquarters to New York City in 1995, nearly ten years later. This was about a decade after his company had assumed ownership of Metromedia, one of America's largest televison station operations. It's my belief that the reason for Murdoch's delay in the move of Newscorp headquarters from Australia to the U.S., is that Murdoch had to get limits on foreign ownership of media properties in Australia off the books before making the move.
ii. Expansion of TV Station Ownership Limits
“At the time, Murdoch and other media moguls were lobbying for a relaxation of regulations from the Federal Communications Commission, a goal that Reagan shared. Under FCC Chairman Mark Fowler, the Reagan administration undertook a number of steps favorable to Murdoch’s interests, including increasing the number of TV stations that any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985.”
Please note the serendipitous timing of all of the regulatory changes and Murdoch's acquisitions. Murdoch seems to be in compliance with advice once given by early 20th century propagandist Adolph Hitler who said,
"If you don't like a rule ... Just follow it ... reach on the top ... and change the rule."
iii. Media Ownership of Duopolies Exception
In 1986 Murdoch was given an exception for media ownership of duopolies, which is the ownership of two media properties [eg. newspaper & TV station] in the same market. As mentioned previously, Murdoch had acquired Metromedia TV stations in 1986, which owned a television station serving the New York City market. As mentioned, Murdoch also owned the NY Post, one of the daily newspapers serving the city, thus providing Murdoch with a duopoly [two media properties in the same market] which was forbidden at the time. The FCC rules provided Murdoch’s organization with some time to divest itself of the NY Post, which they never did. Murdoch held onto the NY Post for five years beyond the exclusion period, and obtained a permanent waiver for it's duopoly in 1993 because the NY Post was said to be unprofitable.
iv. Removal of the Fairness Doctrine
“In 1987, the “Fairness Doctrine,” which required political balance in broadcasting, was eliminated, which enabled Murdoch to pioneer a more aggressive [brand of reporting] on his TV network.”
Parry is being far too kind to Murdoch, as this aggressive reporting is really propaganda disguised as news. And it is the removal of the Fairness Doctrine regulation that is likely one of the contributing causes of the vitriolic debate and divisiveness in America today.
See the complete account by Robert Parry on Alternet.org. Parry is also the author of several books.
B. Clinton Legislative Changes & Regulatory Exceptions
i. Murdoch Granted Waiver of TV Ownership Rule Violation
In an October 16, 2006 story in the New Yorker, former Murdoch employee John Cassidy tells us,
“In 1994, in response to complaints from NBC and the N.A.A.C.P., [FCC Chairman Reed] Hundt launched an investigation of Fox, which ultimately determined that the company had violated laws governing foreign ownership of networks. (Fox announced plans to restructure, though News Corp. remained based in Australia until 2004.) Murdoch was furious about the investigation. In statements that he released to the press, he accused Hundt of “using clearly prejudicial procedures,” and of trying to “hurt us.” Hundt found himself being attacked by Republicans in Congress and, later, by Murdoch’s media outlets. … Hundt said, “You know, and he knows, that, if he likes you, you are going to get both news and editorial coverage that is different than if he doesn’t like you.”
ii. Telecommunications Act of 1996
The Clinton Administration signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law. They sold the act telling the public it would open up the various categories of media to increased competition. It did, and as a result there was considerable consolidation in the industry. Wikipedia notes,
"The Act was claimed to foster competition. Instead, it continued the historic industry consolidation reducing the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005."
In 1996, Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News.
iii. Did Murdoch Have a Hand in the Clinton Administration Further Loosening TV Duopoly Ownership Laws?
Katrina vanden Heuvel, in a March 10, 2011 report in the Nation provided us with this in a story headlined,
‘When Murdoch Wins, Citizens Lose - FCC leniency has allowed News Corp to create countless coverage-restrictive duopolies’
“According to Santa Clara University’s Allen Hammond, a staggering 109 duopolies were created between 2000 and 2006.”
Prior to this time, duopolies were only allowed by the FCC on an exception basis. But the FCC rules were changed in late 1999. Murdoch’s company has 9 of those 109 duopolies and it has enabled Murdoch’s Media Machine to cut its [news] operating costs by reducing / rationalizing the two station’s total resources.
The media law changes made since Murdoch's arrival in America have been undermining our democracatic system by providing Murdoch with an outsized voice in selecting and government officials and influencing public policy.
C. G.W. Bush Legislative Changes & Regulatory Exceptions
Coincidence vs Causality: Murdoch, Propaganda, Political Puppets, Public Policy?
In 2000, Fox News declared Bush the victor of the election early the morning following the election - at around 2.30 am. Later that morning, in New York City the media capital of the nation, an Election Extra morning edition of the NY Post hit the newsstands announcing Bush's victory in a definitive manner. This came after all four of the American TV networks [including Fox] had already declared Al Gore the probable winner on election night. A confused NYT headline appeared to follow Murdoch's Fox News and the NY Post’s definitive announcement / narrative by declaring that Bush 'appeared to defeat Gore'.
The graphic at right shows Murdoch in his limousine and one real headline 'Bush Wins' from his NY Post, alongside a headline I wrote capturing what I believe he really means, 'Fox Wins'.
i. Relaxation of TV Ownership Coverage Limits
In 2002 / 2003 Murdoch’s organization received a waiver for TV station ownership coverage limits in local markets, when the Bush FCC approved changes to the 1949[?] FCC rule limiting TV ownership coverage. The Bush FCC relaxation of television coverage rules were subsequently reversed in a highly unusual and near unanimous agreement by both the House and the Senate which threatened to overturn them. But Rupert Murdoch's acquisitions were allowed to remain exemptions.
In less than three years after George W. Bush’s election, the Bush FCC rolled back limits on ownership of TV station coverage in the nation, which enabled Murdoch's Fox Television to expand its television station footprint, and thus giving Murdoch's Fox network a competitive advantage vis a vis the other networks.
Click here to see prior story about Murdoch’s apparent abuse of his manipulative media assets.
ii. America & Britain - A War in Iraq for Ratings?
In 2002 & 2003 Murdoch appeared to succeed in urging British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. President George W. Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard – to expend trillion(s) of the public's money to produce a 24/7 war [show] in Iraq.
In an April 7, 2003 NYT story entitled Mr. Murdoch’s War, the New York Times reported,
“Mr. Murdoch, however, plays down his personal role in the unanimous views of his papers, explaining that he no longer has the time to dispense day-to-day instructions to his editors or producers” [Murdoch says] “ that is not me calling the editors.''
The war turned out to be a boon to Murdoch, as it provided him with high ratings. And given the war program was being funded and produced by American and British taxpayers, the Iraqi War was also a very low cost ‘show’ to produce – at least for the Billionaire Mogul’s Media Machine - because Murdoch could cover the war with a very limited team and distribute / use the content on three continents. The Iraq War was likely very good for Murdoch’s financials, but it came at a very high cost to America’s reputation and its taxpayers who are now on the hook for trillion(s) of war debt and still enmeshed in Middle Eastern conflicts.
At right, the same photo of Murdoch in his limousine, along with some headlines published in his NY Post.
II. BRITAIN: Did Murdoch Hack Britain & Betray Working Class?
Murdoch made his first media purchase in Britain in 1968 when he bought into News of the World. oA year later he bought the British tabloid The Sun. And in 1981 made a successful bid for the [London] Times and the Sunday Times. In 1989 Murdoch launched a British satellite television operation, which in 1990 merged to form British Sky Broadcasting, leaving Murdoch with 50% shares and management control. Murdoch has the largest share of media in Britain and an incredibly dominant position in the nation's cultural and political capital: London.
The Dirty Digger: Murdoch's Rise in Britain
In 1968 Press Lord Robert Maxwell was reportedly planning to make an attempt to takeover the News of the World, which at the time was the world’s widest read English newspaper selling between 8.5 and 9 million copies weekly. Murdoch stepped in as the white knight and eventually assumed full control of the operation.
Murdoch Propagates Smut in Britain
In an April 28, 2013 BBC video entitled Battle For Britain, the wealthy press lord Rupert Murdoch was accused of turning the News of the World into a smut rag. Go to 12.45 – 13.45 in the video to see how Murdoch earned his nickname – The Dirty Digger. The Dirty Digger nickname / reputation has followed billionaire press lord Keith Rupert Murdoch throughout his life, and it still seems to fit - even to this day. 43,797 / 2006.
In 1969 Murdoch bought the British tabloid, the Sun, and reportedly pushed it further to the edge of sleaze than its nearest competitor. The move proved good for business, and the paper’s circulation grew to become the largest daily newspaper in Britain. The Sun remains Britain's largest daily paper even to this day, even though they have lost half their print audience over the past decade or so.
The image at right is just one of many lewd photo depictions of women propagated by the Murdoch media empire dating as far back as the 1960's. This one was shown in a April 2013 BBC documentary video Battle With Britain.
Murdoch Betrayal of the Working Class?
Another said it was a working class paper, a group that Murdoch is alleged to have betrayed by telling them to vote for the union-busting Thatcher in the 1979 election. 44,404.
One pundit on the BBC show referenced above, says that Murdoch caught the public’s dissatisfied mood, and then amplified it in the Thatcher election of 1979 [see 24.00 – 25.00 in video].
A practice he seems to continue to this day. In the image at right was taken from the April 2013 BBC documentary, Battle With Britain, depicting what some Brits thought of Murdoch's methods dating back over four decades.
How Much a Stretch From Smut to Propaganda?
According to the BBC report, Murdoch's media participation in politics was a change in how he used his media assets. But the BBC report didn't appear to delve into Murdoch's history in Australia, so it might have been that this was the first time he used propagandistic practices ... in Britain.
In the Thatcher election of 1979, Murdoch not only told Sun readers how to vote, but he’s alleged to have also launched a full frontal attack on the Labor Party leading up to the election [more on this below].
Murdoch using his media organization as propaganda machine is a practice that appears to continue to this day on three continents ... or more.
Murdoch’s Propaganda Machine Tells People how to Vote on Three Continents?
I saw recordings of Murdoch calling his competitors ‘the elitist media’ as far back as in the late 1960’s. There’s a real cynicism to this, because multi-billionaire Keith Rupert Murdoch was born into the elite, with a silver spoon in his mouth, attended Oxford University in England, and has been an international globetrotter ever since.
Isn’t Murdoch the elitist? Doesn't he, through his organization, talk down to their audience? Don't they carefully work to shape their audience view of issues and politicians with purposefully framed diatribes, rather than by providing them contextually framed balanced accounts? And isn't it Murdoch's organization that oftentimes tells their working class audience, point blank, exactly how to vote?
This seems to me to be a one-sided parent-child relationship. Propagandist Hitler also appears to have understood and capitalized on this dynamic. In the image above, Murdoch doesn't inform, but rather appears to instruct the populace to vote for his preferred candidate.
A. Thatcher Regulatory Exceptions & Government Support
i. No Regulatory Review for Murdoch’s Acquisition of London Times & Sunday Times
In 1980 the London Times went on the market. Murdoch’s group bid on it. It was believed the merger would have to be reviewed by the Monopoly & Mergers Commission – as there are only exceptions if the entities involved are not considered going concerns.
In the April 2013 BBC report there was an interview with an official of Thomson, the Times owner, who said the London Times and the Sunday Times were not going concerns. It’s worth mentioning that the Times & Sunday Times had just gotten over a strike costing 40 million pounds.
A former Times insider seemed to think that the merger should have been reviewed by the Monopoly & Mergers Commission, as the papers could have been made going concerns [and in fact continue to this day].
It’s also worth noting that in 1981 Murdoch already owned the News of the World and the Sun – the dominant daily and weekly papers in London and Britain - which alone should have been sufficient rationale to warrant a Monopoly & Mergers Commission review.
Murdoch Propaganda Formula: Smut the Opposition & Promote Favored Candidate?
Is Murdoch a Corrupt Propagandist Deal Maker?
Nonetheless, Murdoch prevailed in acquiring the London Times & Sunday Times without a review by the Monopolies & Mergers Commission. Thereafter, many in Britain came to believe that Thatcher and Murdoch had cut a private quid pro quo deal.
In 2012, it was revealed that Keith Rupert Murdoch and Margaret Thatcher had met privately - and in secret - while negotiations regarding the Times and Sunday Times mergers were ongoing.
A handwritten note by Murdoch indicated as much, but Murdoch denies he and Thatcher talked about the merger [video 27.30 – 29.00]. According to the April 2013 BBC report, while it was never proven that Murdoch and Thatcher had cut a deal, it also was never proven that they didn’t.
The April 2013 BBC report questions why Murdoch and Thatcher kept the private meeting secret from the public, and why Murdoch was only bidder allowed access to Thatcher during the talks?
According to a report in the Guardian on April 28, 2015,
“In 1981, Mrs Thatcher needed a boost from the press. By supporting Rupert Murdoch’s bid for the Times and Sunday Times, she made sure she got it.”
ii. Thatcher Stands by Murdoch as He Cuts Employees & Greatly Enriches Himself
Showdown at Wapping - Murdoch & Thatcher Bust the Printing Unions
In the elections of 1983, 1987 and 1992 Murdoch’s British propaganda outlets appeared to fight hard supporting Thatcher, while simultaneously skewering the opposition, including a scathing attack in 1992 on Neil Kinnock, the opposition leader.
In 1986 Thatcher is reported to have assured Murdoch that he would be given all the police support he needed to go about the lawful conduct of his business, prior to Murdoch locking out the newspaper printing and distribution unions after a strike was initiated by the unions.
The strike lasted about a year [ending January 1987], with 574 policemen sustaining injuries having made in the range of 1,000 – 1,500 arrests. In the end hundreds [or possibly thousands] of Murdoch employees who were union members lost their their jobs and their livelihoods, while Murdoch significantly increased his organization’s profits and greatly enriched himself. By replacing people with machines, Murdoch is reported to have succeeded in cutting his labor force by over 80%, and the other British newspapers quickly followed suit.
The happy couple, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch shown together during their 1980's heyday.
We live in capitalist countries, and for better or worse, this is how the system works, so Murdoch was within his rights. But that said, according to reports from the time, Murdoch appeared to take a very callous approach to the negotiations with the workers and their subsequent loss of livelihoods.
Betrayals: Did Murdoch's Sun Convince Readers to Vote for Murdoch's Interests & Against their Own?
According to Professor James P. Allan who is a political scientist at Wittenberg University in Dublin, Ohio,
"In both 1987 and 1992, the Labour Party again had to deal with an extremely hostile national press, which relentlessly attacked Labour and its Leaders often using dubious evidence and arithmetic to question Labour’s tax and spending plans. McKie cites several studies which suggest that the press had an influence on the outcome of the 1992 election, accounting for what appeared to be a late swing to the Conservatives.”
Professor Allan goes on to tell us, that Opposition Leader Neil Kinnock noted in his resignation speech in April 1992 the following,
“I make, and I seek, no excuses, and I express no bitterness, when I say that the Conservative-supporting press has enabled the Tory Party to win yet again when the Conservative Party could not have secured victory for itself on the basis of its record, its programme or its character.”
Deception & Betrayals: Murdoch Publicly Proclaims Victory for his Propaganda Press
Decades Later, Murdoch's Duped 'British Subjects' Still Follow Master's Orders
The day of the 1992 election the Sun mocked Labor candidate Neil Kinnock on the front page telling readers that if Kinnock wins to turn off the lights on their way out of the nation.
The day after the election Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper, the Sun, declared,
“It’s the Sun Wot Won It.”
Up until this time Kinnock’s party had been ahead in the polls.
Both headlines from Murdoch's Sun are shown at right. The red type in the graphic at right is my commentary.
In 2012, during the Leveson Inquiry of the Murdoch’s organization’s criminal phone hacking and bribe scandal, the Guardian reports,
“Rupert Murdoch has told the Leveson inquiry the Sun's notorious 1992 general election headline, "It's the Sun wot won it", was "tasteless and wrong".”
Keep reading to see how sincere Murdoch’s apology really was.
B. Blair Inaction on Foreign Ownership Media & Iraq War
Loyalty: Murdoch Dumps Conservatives to Support Liberal Tony Blair.
Tony Blair won the leadership of the Labor Party in 1994 and reportedly met with Rupert Murdoch only weeks later. In 1997, Tony Blair went onto run for and become the British Prime Minister, with the support of Murdoch's media.
In an October 16, 2006 story in the New Yorker, former Murdoch employee John Cassidy tells us,
“During the 1997 general election campaign, the Sun and the News of the World, Murdoch’s Sunday scandal sheet, backed Blair. (The Times and the Sunday Times, which have greater editorial independence, stuck with the Tories.) After Blair’s victory, which ended eighteen years of Conservative rule, Murdoch became a frequent visitor to Downing Street, although neither side publicized the meetings. In 2001 and 2005, most of the Murdoch papers supported Blair for reelection ...”
“Like the legendary press barons to whom he is often compared—Hearst, Pulitzer, Northcliffe, Beaverbrook—Rupert Murdoch has relished playing kingmaker.”
ii. Blair Joins Murdoch is Supporting Iraq War
In a May 29, 2012 story in a story in the Daily Mail in Britain it was reported that,
“[Tony Blair] spoke to Rupert Murdoch three times in days before 2003 Iraq War - including on March 19 - the day before the invasion.”
NYT called it "Mr. Murdoch’s War" - see the United States section above.
ii. Blair Inaction on Foreign Media Ownership Laws
During the Blair years, British media ownership laws were not reviewed in spite of foreign control of much of Britain’s press.
The Daily Mail in a May 29, 2012 story reports,
“Rupert Murdoch was 'key decision maker' regarding the political affiliations of his newspapers - but Mr Blair insists no deal was made with the mogul.”
“Mr Blair said Mr Murdoch had never lobbied him over media policy – and denied ditching a planned review of media ownership rules to please the tycoon.”
“Lord Mandelson said it was ‘arguably the case... that personal relationships between Mr Blair, (Gordon) Brown and Rupert Murdoch became closer than was wise’, but denied there was any ‘Faustian pact’ involving commercial concessions for Mr Murdoch.”
C. Cameron Oversight of Murdoch TV Bid, Stalled
i. Murdoch's Nearly Complete B Sky B Satellite TV Bid Stopped due to Phone Hacking Scandal
Murdoch launched a new satellite TV operation in Britain in 1989. In the early 1990's, after sustainingheavy losses, Murdoch merged with B Sky B, and assumed management of the combined entity.
According to the Guardian, in 2009 Murdoch and his son, James, are reported to have met with [soon-to-be British Culture Secretary] Jeremy Hunt in New York. Pundits opine that it was around this time that the Murdochs decided to acquire the rest of British Sky Broadcasting, while simultaneously deciding to switch the Media Mogul's organization's support from the Labour [Gordon Brown, father of son with Cystic Fibrosis] to the Conservative Party candidate for Prime Minister [David Cameron].
British Sky Broadcasting is one of the top two internet and phone companies in Britain, and Britain’s largest pay TV provider. Cameron went on to become the British Prime Minister, and Coulson, a former Murdoch organization man, who was alleged and convicted in 2014 to have played a role in the phone hacking scandal, was promoted as Prime Minister Cameron's top press person.
Billionaire Murdoch went on to make a bid to acquire the remainder of British Sky Broadcasting and was within weeks of receiving regulatory approval and closing the deal in the summer of 2011, when a barrage of criminal phone hacking allegations against his company went public.
According to the BBC [British Broadcasting Company], one of the things that came out during the inquiries, was that the same Jeremy Hunt who in 2009 met with the Billionaire Murdoch in NewYork prior to the election, was entrusted by Cameron with the regulatory oversight of the British Sky Broadcasting acquisition.
A June 25, 2014 report by Bloomberg states,
“May 31, 2012: U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt testifies to the Leveson inquiry after criticism he was too close to News Corp. when he was in charge of regulatory scrutiny of the bid for BSkyB.”
Emails were found which appeared to be from Jeremy Hunt [JH], to a Public Relations firm in the employ of Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch. The emails reportedly sought "guidance". Hunt denied that there was any "back channel" with Murdoch's organization. The opposition party declared it was "collusion" with Billionaire Media Mogul Murdoch's company. Hunt was later appointed to become the Health Secretary for Cameron in 2013, even after a vote of no confidence.
Murdoch's Desire to Control the Western World Resumes
Companies controlled by Billionaire Murdoch, now largely control British Sky Broadcasting [his son James is Chairman of Sky PLC which is primary shareholder], even if their control is not entirely supported by majority share ownership.
In November of 2014, B Sky B recently expanded their control of European airwaves through the 100% acquisition of Sky Italia [Italy] and the 57% acquisition of Sky Deutschland [Germany], which essentially gave Murdoch's organization a lot of cash, which they hinted might be used to purchase British Sky Broadcasting. These acquisitions increased Murdoch's organization's satellite subscriber reach from 30 million to 90 million in Europe. The graphic at right is my satirization of Murdoch's lust for power.
According to a September 19, 2014 report in the Guardian,
"Chase Carey, the president of 21st Century Fox, has hinted that a renewed bid to take full control of BSkyB remains on the cards"
The 'Fox' Continues to Intimidate the British Chicken Coop
Would you trust Murdoch’s organization - whose hires had been convicted for criminal phone hacking of private citizen’s information, which Murdoch's organization subsequently published - to control your nation's largest internet and phone service provider?
Edmund Burke, an 18th century English politcal philosopher said,
"All it takes for evil to succeed, is for enough good [wo]men to do nothing."
Brexit: Should British Policy be set with European Public Officials or Unilaterally by Billionaire Propagandists?
ii. Did Murdoch Push Public Policy Referendum Vote in his Favor?
In an October 16, 2006 story in the New Yorker, former Murdoch employee John Cassidy tells us,
“For the past decade and a half, Murdoch has been trying to fend off what he sees as the encroachment of a European super state. One of the reasons he turned against John Major was that Major wanted Britain to establish closer ties with the European Community. “I thought that was abdicating responsibility to unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels,” Murdoch told me. “And I still think that. There are good things about Europe, such as a unified market, but that’s a different matter. To give social policy, legal policy, human rights, and so on over to some anonymous body is crazy.”
“Tony Blair was pro-Europe, too, when he came to office, but many British commentators, including some of his own former aides, believe that he modified his policies to satisfy Murdoch. “Blair was very keen to join the European monetary system,” Lance Price, a former media adviser at 10 Downing Street, said to me. “But at every stage of the way he stepped back. And one of the main reasons he pulled back was that Rupert Murdoch was vehemently opposed to closer links with Europe.” Price recently published a book, “The Spin Doctor’s Diary,” in which he writes about Murdoch’s influence on the Blair government. “It was never discussed in black-and-white terms,” Price told me. “Nobody ever said, ‘We have to do this because Murdoch supports it.’ But his views were always heard. And they were heard ahead of many Cabinet ministers’.”
Murdoch’s organization reportedly urged Prime Minister Cameron to hold a vote on Brexit, the term used to describe the referendum designed to tear England out of the European Union. Murdoch is reported to have supported the exit, and did so with the coverage of the issue by Murdoch’s leading British newspaper for morons - the Sun.
According to the European Centre for Press & Media Freedom,
“Posters attacking the multi-national media owner Rupert Murdoch have appeared, claiming “Rupert Murdoch can buy the British government. But not a union of 28 countries”.
“This refers to the widely-held belief that popular newspapers owned by Murdoch’s News UK company can swing enough votes to influence the outcome of an election or referendum. The posters imply that Murdoch uses the power of his national newspapers (Sun, Times and Sunday Times) and his TV networks (Sky News, Sports, Arts and Atlantic) to back politicians who will serve his business interests.”
Murdoch’s propaganda outlets appear to be creating chaos. This is a propagandist technique, because if you create enough confusion in voters' minds, you increase the likelihood that with a LOUD, decisive endorsement just before the election, you may be able to convince a confused electorate to vote for your chosen candidate. This appears to be what happened with the Brexit referendum, as many Brits voted for Murdoch's interests - and against their own - in June 2016.
BETRAYALS? Did Murdoch Convince Brits to Vote For Murdoch's Interests & Against their Own?
According to a report in the WSJ, a Murdoch newspaper,
“Would leaving the EU make Britain economically better off? A report by several euroskeptic economists led by Patrick Minford at Cardiff University argues Britain could enrich itself by lowering trade barriers with countries such as China below levels the EU now permits. Politically, that looks like a stretch. Nor would it compensate for the loss of tariff-free access to Europe.”
“The British Treasury estimates the British economy would be 3.8% smaller outside the EU in 15 years’ time than inside if the country negotiates the same access to the EU thatnonmember Norway now has, and up to 7.5%smaller if it doesn’t. This excludes the unknown but almost certainly negative impact of uncertainty as Britain negotiates its new arrangements.”
As of this writing, the British FTSE 100 stock index which includes many multi-national corporations, and thus may not be reflective of the British economy, is currently trading about where it started the year [just above 7,000 in January and now in October 2016]. The British currency, the Pound, has dropped from 1.48 at the beginning of the year to 1.28, losing 13% of its value.
The red type in the graphic at right is my commentary, superimposed over a Murdoch Sun front page.
III. Hacked Australia - The Land Down Under Murdoch’s Dirty Boot?
Murdoch Early Years: Propaganda, Puppet Pols & Public Policy?
In 1952, at age 21, Rupert Murdoch inherited his father’s Australian newspaper(s) and radio station. Starting in 1956 Murdoch began acquiring underperforming papers and began turning them around with sensational headlines and racy copy.
Murdoch became known as the Dirty Digger, because his papers sought to dig up dirt from the personal lives of politicians - at first - and then celebrities - and eventually digging up information on anybody with a story that would grab headlines.
The Murdoch Organization is alleged to have gone so far as to have criminally hacked the phone of the mother of a murdered child, using the messages for story headlines, which is shown in the graphic at right taken from the BBC April 2013 video.
It would appear the Murdoch organization's lack of ethics knows no bounds.
War Crimes: Propagandists Influence on Policies & Politics
A report by News . com in Australia on July 7, 2016 said,
“The damning conclusions of the UK’s Iraq Inquiry, also known as the Chilcot report, has led to calls for [former Australian Prime Minister] Howard to be tried for “war crimes” for going to battle based on a “lie”.”
Billionaire Media Mogul & Propagandist Keith Rupert Murdoch appears to regularly slink back into his serpentine hole, hiding behind his media brands after doing incredible damage to the politicians and public.
Oftentimes Murdoch seems to leave his political puppets to suffer the consequences, sometimes piling on them as if he, Murdoch, had nothing to do with setting the policies that made them unpopular.
As you could see in the NY Times quote further above, Murdoch is said to have been one of the most important people lobbying for the War in Iraq, yet was he registered as a lobbyist?
Murdoch, no Longer an Australian Citizen, Owns >60% of Australian Newspapers, has a Dominant Position in Australian Satellite Television & Seems to Pick Prime Ministers - INCLUDING ONE OF HIS FORMER EMPLOYEES
Murdoch the Deal Maker: Quietly Trading Propaganda to Politicians / Puppets in Exchange for Favorable Public Policy?
In a February 20, 2013 report by the Guardian noted,
“McKnight [Associate Professor of Journalism at South Wales University & Author of ‘Murdoch’s Politics’] quotes the former Australian prime minister Paul Keating: "You can do deals with [Murdoch] without ever saying a deal is done."”
The image at right shows a May 2016 Mediaite report regarding Ted's statement about Fox becoming the Trump Network on CNN.
According to Wikipedia, Rupert Murdoch’s media machine owns all of the major newspapers in Australia - 64% of them in total, which in this nation would likely be classified as a monopoly.
In Australian television Murdoch’s Machine owns Foxtel, which is reported to be dominant in all but two of Australia’s cities [Darwin & Hobart], and according to Wikipedia Foxtel’s main rivals essentially rebroadcast Foxtel’s programs.
Australian Media Laws - 'Laws' Only a Global Billionaire Propagandist Could Love
Wonder why Australia has so few laws and such lax laws governing media ownership in their nation? The laws are so limited and so lax as to be laughable. Hence, I found it no surprise that there was a slew of legislative activity regarding Australian media laws in the late 1980's and early 1990's culminating in the Broadcasting Services Act of 1992. Right around the time Rupert Murdoch was switching his citizenship from Australian to American.
Today one of the hottest issues in Australia is winning back its freedom, as Murdoch's media even promoted a former employee of his, Tony Abbott, to be the Australian Prime Minister from 2013 to 2015.
Is Murdoch Hacking the 2016 Presidential Election?
Is Our Democracy Under Attack by the World's Reigning Propagandist?
This election cycle it appears Murdoch has used the NY Post, Fox News and the WSJ to promote Trump and disparage the Republican primary contenders and more recently Trump's Democratic opponent.
As you can see by the 2016 image at right Murdoch and Trump are not strangers. In fact Rupert Murdoch lived in Trump Towers for two to three years according to www.GuestofaGuest.com. During that time Murdoch's then-wife, Wendi Deng, became good friends with Trump's daughter Ivanka. Deng is now reportedly the girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And Deng and Ivanka Trump were seen publicly together several times in 2016, including in Eastern Europe in August.
Thomas Jefferson said,
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
We've done two other stories - Rupert Murdoch's Propaganda Factory & Rupert Murdoch's Publicity Pounding of NYC Mayor de Blasio.
Supplemental Information & Things to Ponder
The following are related thoughts and research that came out of the work above. Think of it as outtakes from a film.
Fair Question? Why Isn't Murdoch's Organization on the List of Suspects in the Democratic Party Hacking this Summer?
Means. The combined $60 billion plus revenue twin companies that Murdoch controls have the means.
Criminal Experience. Murdoch's organization hires have been convicted of hacking, by some accounts up to 5,000 phones, including reportedly trying to get dirt on a sitting British Prime Minister.
Methods. Murdoch's organization has access to these kinds of skills as the British phone hacking scandal is said to have gone on for ten years.
Motives. And Murdoch's organization has the motive as it appears they will do almost anything for a sensational headline. And if history is any guide, they also appear to have an interest in shaping the nation's media laws.
So Murdoch's organization appears to have the means, the motives, the methods, as well as a history of colluding with experienced criminal hackers.
But Murdoch and his organization have never even been mentioned as potential suspects. Why? Respect or Fear?
Most Informative BREXIT Reporting done by Independents?
Increasingly, it Appears Today’s Best Journalism is Coming from Independents
The best piece of journalism I found explaining the issues associated with Brexit did NOT come from any of the established corporate or government run media in Britain, but rather from a non-profit organization which used YouTube to do its best to help inform the British public.
The group is called Arguing From Ignorance and they did the following video which you can visit using this link. 289,014. I found it informative, but complicated, as Britain's relationship with the Continent is. 289.553.
Murdoch The Great ...
Hacker? Deceiver? Propagandist? Traitor?
Did Murdoch Betray his Employees, While HACKING Private Phones?
The British news site, Exaro, published a transcript in a July 3, 2013 story of a recording made of Murdoch speaking on March 13, 2013 in a meeting with the staff at the Sun on the 10th floor without Murdoch knowing it. The Sun was one of his papers implicated in the phone hacking scandal in Britain which broke in 2011.
In the scandal, over 5,000 phones of private individuals - ranging from the mother of a murdered daughter to celebrities and government officials - were alleged to have been hacked by Murdoch's organization.
Murdoch said many things in the meeting, among which was the following.
" I'm just as annoyed as you are at the police, and you're directing it at me instead …
"And it was done to protect the business…. we might have gone too far in protecting ourselves. And you were the victims of it."
"You won't get any help from judges - but, I think, juries. I've got - not absolute faith - but a lot of hope in juries. I think you'll all make fine witnesses. And you want a lot of help from your lawyers, and practice. Because your juries are your best hope."
"We went through the NY Post, went through the papers in Australia - everything."
"If they want to see anyone again, don't see them without a lawyer. Anyone. I mean it. Don't speak to anyone."
"It doesn't help you to know that the police are incompetent."
"… we've made a lot of friends too … where would I or the Sun be most unpopular? It would be with the judges."
A letter is read from the wife of a Murdoch News of the World employee. Among other things she says,
"… There have been suicide attempts. For what? A hideous political game: for what end? To save News International's integrity, put way before the well-being of its employees. They deserve better, these are … not the debris."
Murdoch response to letter - "Okay. Thank you very, very much, and I'm sorry it's like this. Sorry."
For full text, go to Exaro at - http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5026/transcript-rupert-murdoch-recorded-at-meeting-with-sun-staff