Who's Behind NY Post's Media Hazing of Mayor?
Will Billionaire Rupert Murdoch Profit from NY POST's Attack Stories?
The NY Post's incredible barrage of attack stories on NYC Mayor de Blasio this past month led us to believe that something was amiss.
Is the NY Post Disinforming the Public?
After a month of a barrage of negative attack (ads?) stories regarding the Mayor's campaign funding, someone reading the NY Post might come away believing that Mayor de Blasio had already been convicted of numerous counts of breaking the law. As you will see later in this story, this would not be the first time the Murdoch organization's audience was not uninformed - but rather disinformed.
That said, if they read a newspaper that generally conforms to the professional standards of American journalism, like the New York Times, they would know that,
"It is not clear how direct a role, if any, the mayor played in some of these matters." - NYT April 29, 2016
Infomercials Presented as News?
Given that some of what Murdoch's organization [includes NY Post, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and hundred(s) more properties] publishes and broadcasts appears to make significant departures from the American professional standards of journalism - one has to wonder if Murdoch's organization hasn't found a way to skirt campaign finance laws - as some of their 'news reporting' looks more like long-winded political infomercials.
Just Because They Say it's So, Doesn't Mean it's So
The NYS Board of Elections says,
"Independent Expenditures Do Not Include Expenditures in Connection with... A written news story, commentary, or editorial or a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, cable or satellite, unless such publication or facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee or candidate ..."
Has Murdoch's organization found a way to skirt campaign finance laws by making huge, undisclosed, payment-in-kind, independent media expenditures to support or attack political candidates and push an issue agenda by running infomercials as news stories?
Does this practice enable the Murdoch organization to become the STRING PULLER, who makes their candidates POLITICAL PUPPETS?
Rupert's NY Post Goes After Mayor like Rabid Dog
That's more than three stories per day - and not a single one was positive [a few were neutral]. The stories were authored by 20 reporters, some of whom shared the bylines. This is the equivalent of having the entire editorial staff of a medium-sized daily newspaper, working full time on publishing stories about just one government official.
I'm pretty sure that the Washington Post didn't dedicate this kind of resource to covering the Nixon Watergate scandal in the early 1970's. It seems like overkill, which is generally indicative that something is not right.
I say not right because it has been my experience that this kind of overzealous attack oftentimes reflects more upon the prosecutor than the prosecuted.
Abusive, Power-Hungry Media Moguls in Film - 1941 & 1997
What I found while working on this story had some parallels to the 1997 James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies. In the movie, Eliot Carver is the Media Mogul, and he uses his presses and TV stations to hype a war between China and Britain. In 2002 the NYT did a piece which they entitled 'Mr. Murdoch's War' which was about Murdoch's urging the U.S. and Britain to go to war in Iraq, which we'll have more about later in this story.
During my research a character profile of Billionaire Murdoch began to emerge that was something right out of the film Citizen Kane, who was portrayed by Orson Welles in 1941. It's interesting to note that 1941 was the same year that the FCC capped TV media ownership by a single person / entity at 35%. And this FCC ownership limit was overturned, some say because of Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, and this will also be covered in more detail a bit later in this story.
The image to your right shows a page out of The Guardian, one of Britain's most respected newspapers, about the culture of Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch's organization.
Consider The Source
I. Criminal Acts: Murdoch Declared 'Unfit'
In 2012, only four short years ago, Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch was declared "Not a Fit Person" to lead his company by a British public official who led a commission that investigated the criminal operations conducted by people working for Billionaire Mogul Murdoch's media empire.
Murdoch's Hires Convicted of Bribery & Hacking Crimes (911 Victims)
For alleged crimes committed over the course of years within roughly the first decade of the 21st century, British authorities arrested and / or convicted dozens of people working for Murdoch's organization.
The crimes they were convicted of, alleged to have committed, or were arrested for - included bribing government and law enforcement officials, and hacking the phones of relatives of murder victims, the relatives of soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq, relatives of the victims of the London terrorist attacks, relatives of 911 victims, a four year old's cystic fibrosis medical records, and the mother of a slain daughter.
It appears Murdoch's organization did this to build viewership for his media outlets. Investigation into the 911 allegations were dropped by the FBI, but reportedly to the dissatisfaction and without the consent of some of those believed to be affected.
II. Coincidental Events or Propaganda For Profit?
NewsCorp Influence on Elections Followed by Favorable Gov't Rulings
We found three examples of Murdoch's news organization appearing to meddle with electoral outcomes by using their media assets as a propaganda machine, rather than as a news organization.
1. Fox News Role in 2000 Election of Bush
Followed by Bush FCC Expanding TV Ownership Limits
In 2000, Fox News declared Bush the victor of the election around 2.30 am, the morning after the election. Later than 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 [including Fox] of the American TV networks had already declared Al Gore the probable winner on election night. A confused NYT headline appeared to follow Murdoch's Fox News and NY Post definitive announcement by declaring that Bush 'appeared to defeat Gore'.
In less than three years the Bush Administration's FCC rolled back limits on ownership of TV station coverage in the nation, which enabled Billionaire Murdoch's Fox Television to expand its TV station coverage, thus giving Murdoch's Fox network a competitive advantage. Coincidence, or does the NY Post headline below apply to Murdoch here?
2. Murdoch's Support of Cameron for British Prime Minister
Followed by Cameron's Gov't Presiding over Regulatory Approval Process of Murdoch Deal
In 2009 as the Murdoch's were reported to be contemplating making a bid for the shares of British Sky Broadcasting [aka B Sky B] that they didn't already own, David Cameron was contemplating a run for Britain's Prime Minister.
That summer a Cameron aide was reported to have spent five days visiting the Murdoch's news organization in New York. Following the visit, Murdoch began supporting Cameron's bid for Prime Minister [he won]. Roughly around the same time, Murdoch made a bid for B Sky B. The completion of the B Sky B acquisition was within a month of regulatory approval, but halted, because of 'near industrial scale' phone hacking scandal and news reports of bribes which were alleged to implicate Murdoch's news organization in 2011.
3. NY Post Endorses Cuomo for Governor
Followed by Murdoch NO-BID Deal Negotiations with New York State
In 2010 Murdoch's NY Post endorsed Andrew Cuomo's bid for NYS governor. In August 2011, a Murdoch company was about to be awarded a no-bid contract to track students' performance by the State of New York.
But the deal was halted because of the serious criminal charges of phone hacking by Murdoch's organization, as well as allegations regarding his organization's bribes of police and government officals.
This third coincidence leads us to consider the possibility of a possible NYC or NYS profit motive behind Murdoch's NY Post's barrage of attack stories on Mayor de Blasio.
III. Murdoch Organization & Disinformation
Murdoch's NY Post Hazing of Mayor: Propaganda for Profit?
We make comparisons of Murdoch to William Randolph Hearst who reportedly told one of his newsmen - "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." Some believe Murdoch's role in stridently urging the English-speaking world into the Iraq war was for ratings.
We provide accounts of details about the criminal acts done by hires for Murdoch's organization.
We provide the names of the seven independent organizations which conducted studies showing that frequent viewers of Fox News appear to be disinformed.
And lastly, we conclude with a cursory look - because it's mostly allegations and innuendo - at the NY Post incessant barrage of attack stories of Mayor de Blasio.
Suggestion for New NY Post / WSJ / 21st Century Fox News Slogan: 'We Decide by Disinforming You.'
Fox News has used the slogan, 'We Report. You Decide.' But after doing the research for this story I wondered if the slogan in the headline above, 'We Decide by Disinforming You.' might be a better fit.
As mentioned above, seven studies, by independent and respected institutions, found that frequent viewers of Fox News are more likely to be disinformed about key issues of the day than other segments of the public. We'll have more on this later.
TV, Newspaper & PC Smoke Screens?
Is Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch using propaganda to enhance his organization's profit - OR is this all just an unusual series of coincidences?
You can judge for yourself whether you think Murdoch is running his media empire as a credible, contextual, balanced news reporting organization - OR - as an organization with a history of connections to criminal acts, and a propaganda-for-profit machine running near full capacity to topple the NYC Mayor.
Let's take a closer look into the facts behind our investigation into whether Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch is making efforts to media haze the NYC Mayor by using the NY Post as a propaganda tool.
Is Murdoch's Org Skirting Campaign Finance Laws?
Are They Disguising Advocacy & Attack Infomercials as News Reports to Skirt Campaign Finance Laws?
At the end of this report we question whether the Murdoch organization is passing off what appears to be its frequent, one-sided, unbalanced, propaganda-like reports - or what some might call advocacy or attack infomercials - as news reports to skirt campaign finance laws.
Click Link & Scroll down for rest of story & Video
Who's Behind NY Post's Media Hazing of Mayor?
Will Billionaire Rupert Murdoch Profit from NY POST's Attack Stories?
Click links to be taken to the section below.
1) criminal history of the [NY Post owner] Rupert Murdoch organization's hires,
2) how Murdoch's organization appears to have targeted key officials in the U.K. to bring down,
3) Murdoch organization's hires' history of arrests and conviction for alleged bribes of law enforcement & public officials,
A Brief & Incomplete Overview of Murdoch's Organizations
In this part of our report we're going to delve into some greater detail regarding the events outlined above, starting with the history of criminal acts perpetrated by Billionaire Rupert Murdoch's organization.
Bear in mind that it is very challenging for government and law enforcement officials to convict people working for Murdoch. Murdoch was reportedly worth about $12 billion within the past few years, and it appears his organization has incredible influence with government and law enforcement officials, and can afford to hire talented & expensive lawyers.
Murdoch's Reach: News Corp & 21st Century Fox
Keith Rupert Murdoch is the Chairman of News Corporation [under $9 billion revenue] and is Co-Chairman with his son of 21st Century Fox [under $29 billion revenue]. Together these operations generated about $38 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2015. The companies were split in 2013.
Influence in Britain. Murdoch's organization TV, papers and online presences reached about 31 million Brits [and Britain's population numbers 64 million] according to a July 7, 2011 report by the British Broadcasting Company [BBC]. There's likely overlap of these audiences, which means the overall reach is probably less.
Influence in the United States. Murdoch's organization's reach includes Fox News which has a potential reach of about 95 million homes [81% of nation] although it's daily reach is a fraction of that. According to Wikipedia, the median age of the Fox News viewer was 65+ in 2013. It seems octogenarian Billionaire Keith Rupert Murdoch is appealing to people closer to his own age group.
The Fox Network has a potential reach of about 297 million homes [95% of nation], but again it's daily reach is a fraction of that. In part because of the Bush FCC expansion of TV ownership limits in 2003, Murdoch's organization has the highest owned TV station reach of any broadcaster in the U.S.
Murdoch's organization owns a number of print publications, but for purposes of this report, I'll focus on the two covering New York City news, and skip Barron's and National Geographic, which are also owned by Murdoch's organization. According to Wikipedia, in 2013 the NY Post circulation was 500,000 and the Wall Street Journal's was 2.4 million. In 2015 I believe the combined revenue of Murdoch's organizations was stagnant - either slightly up or slightly down.
The general trend for both Network TV News ratings and newspaper circulation is downward because of increased competition from the internet. We've seen projections that indicate that advertising prices haven't yet reflected the significant Network News TV audience and newspaper circulation declines of the past decade.
I. Is Billionaire Media Mogul K.R. Murdoch Above the Law?
Dial M for Murdoch: Book About Corruption & Billionaire Media Mogul
There's a book sold in the United Kingdom that attempts to capture some of the sordid details about Murdoch's organization's corrupt behavior. The title plays upon a 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie entitled Dial M for Murder.
This is a quote from Amazon.com in the U.K. where the book is sold.
'This book uncovers the inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service and our press.'
The Kindle version of the book is less than $10 and might be worthwhile reading for anyone affected by [including readers / viewers of his news products] or interested in the Billionaire Media Mogul's influence and methods.
There's also a website listed at the end of this story, by someone who documented some of Murdoch's organization's 'technical expertise' in a 402 page online book.
A. Crimes by Hires: Murdoch's Org Targeting Officials?
People hired by Billionaire Murdoch's organization were charged with breaking the law while attempting to gather private information about former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. According to an account in the Guardian on July 11, 2011,
"The sheer scale of the data assault on Brown is unusual, with evidence of "attempts" to obtain his [Prime Minister Brown's] legal, financial, tax, and police records as well as to listen to his voicemail. All of these incidents are linked to media organisations. In many cases, there is evidence of a link to News International."
"Brown joins a long list of Labour politicians who are known to have been targeted by private investigators working for News International [Murdoch's organization] ... Confidential health information for Brown's family have reached the media on two different occasions. In October 2006, the then editor of the Sun [owned by Murdoch's organization], Rebekah Brooks, contacted the Browns to tell them that the paper had learned that their four-month-old son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. [Releasing this information to the public] appears to have been a clear breach of the Data Protection Act, which would allow such a disclosure only if it were in the public interest. Friends of the Browns say the call caused them immense distress, since they were only coming to terms with the diagnosis, which had not been confirmed. The Sun [owned by Murdoch's organization] published the story."
News International was owned by Murdoch's organization before they shut it down, which pundits believe was to stifle the chatter about their organization's hires' illegal exploits.
Murdoch Organization Hires, Illegally Hacked Thousands of Phones
“November 3, 2011 Scotland Yard says that 5,795 people likely had their phones hacked by News of the World [owned & run by Murdoch's organization].”
The Week.com reported that the targets list allegedly included victims of the July 7, 2005, terrorist attack in London.
The BBC reported that Coulson, one of the high ranking hired hands at Murdoch’s News of the World, had apparently signed off on police payments. I believe this charge didn't stick, but the phone hacking charges did and another hire was found guilty of bribing according to a 2014 story by Crikey, an Australian web magazine.
“July 6, 2011, The Daily Telegraph reports that News of the World had hacked the phones of families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
"July 14, 2011, the FBI opens an investigation as to whether News Corp hacked the phones of the 911 terrorist attack victims."
This investigation was closed in February of 2015, wherein the representative of the victims called the FBI decision "disappointing".
Apparently the hackings were intended to gather private information to publish as headlines in Murdoch's News of the World and other owned media outlets [like the Sun].
B. Murdoch Org: Hires Arrested for Bribes & Hacks
Murdoch Maintains Complete Deniability, Blames Others Beneath Him & Appears to Use His Influence to Clean Up
In an April 4, 2012 update on the Murdoch organization scandal, TheWeek.com reports,
"March 2003 Wade tells a committee of the lower house of Parliament that News of the World [Murdoch's organization] has paid police officers for information; parent company News International says that is not common practice."
According to TheWeek.com's timeline, in December of 2007 James Murdoch [Rupert's son] is appointed Chief Executive of Murdoch's News Corp's European operations.
In July 2009 the Guardian reports that,
“several News of the World journalists had intercepted the voicemails of celebrities and politicians, with the knowledge of senior staff, and that its parent company had paid more than $1.6 million to settle phone-hacking cases that could have unearthed evidence of broader hacking at the paper.”
According to a June 24, 2014 story in Bloomberg,
“July 21, 2009: Under questioning before Parliament’s Culture Committee, News of the World Editor Colin Myler says James Murdoch [Rupert’s son] agreed to the payment to Taylor.”
C. Murdoch Org: Criminal Hacking on ‘Near Industrial Scale’
In February 2010 a member of a House of Commons Committee reports that it’s inconceivable that management of the News of the World didn’t know about the “near industrial scale” of the phone-hacking by their organization.
Law Enforcement – Police Refused to Re-open Investigation
Nonetheless, in spite of the facts, British investigators and British law enforcement authorities refused to reopen the case.
Dial M for Murdoch. Remember, law enforcement officials ultimately report to government officials, and some pundits believe that too many government officials report to the billionaire media moguls operating in their jurisdictions.
Much of what follows in this section was sourced from the April 4, 2012 update in TheWeek.com's story entitled Rupert Murdoch's Phone Hacking Scandal: A Timeline.
TheWeek.com states, "September 2010 The New York Times publishes a report ... [which] is also critical of Scotland Yard's efforts to investigate the hacking."
According to Bloomberg story, "Dec. 10, 2010: Prosecutors say they lack evidence to file new hacking charges following New York Times article."
January 26, 2011 Scotland Yard opens a new investigation of News of the World phonehacking, citing new evidence [and Coulson, a top Billionaire Murdoch organization man, steps down]. Editor's Note - Coulson then lands a top communications post working for British Prime Minister David Cameron, but later is eventually convicted and sentenced.
In April 2011 three employees of Murdoch’s organization are arrested. Murdoch’s company “acknowledges its role”, after previously claiming that there was “no evidence” that management knew of the illegal activities. The company sets up a fund for victims.
In July of 2011, Media Mogul Murdoch and his son James, deny any knowledge of the phone hacking events prior to publication of them by a newspaper not owned by them. Billionaire Keith Rupert Murdoch closes the newspaper caught doing the phone hacking, but opens a new paper with son Lachlan, the Sunday Sun, in February 2012 to replace the News of the World.
July 2011 - Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, the highest-ranking U.K. police official, steps down, following the police-bribery allegations and revelations that he had hired Neil Wallis [former Murdoch organization employee] as a communications consultant. Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner John Yates, who made the decision not to reopen the phone-hacking investigation in 2009, resigns.
By August of 2011 twelve News Corp employees have been arrested in connection with the phone-hacking scandal. And Hinton, a 52 year veteran of Murdoch's organization and the Publisher of the Wall Street Journal, steps down because he had previously been the CEO of the phone hacking News of the World.
“November 3, 2011 Scotland Yard says that 5,795 people likely had their phones hacked by News of the World.”
According to Bloomberg,
"Jan. 19, 2012: News Corp. settles 36 lawsuits filed by phone-hacking victims including Jude Law and soccer player Ashley Cole. Settlement amounts range from 5,000 pounds to about 100,000 pounds. For the 18 settlements outlined in court, payouts total at least 642,000 pounds plus legal fees."
"February 11, 2012: Five more staff at The Sun and three public officials are arrested as the police probe widens to include bribes by journalists to public servants outside the police force. The investigation, known as Operation Elveden, leads to more than 80 arrests."
The NY Daily News June 30, 2014 reported that some Murdoch employees and hires were convicted of criminal charges for which they had to do a couple years time. This was the second time they were taken to trial. The NY Daily News also stated,
"But a recently surfaced secret letter confirms that police suspect the wrongdoing ran all the way to the top of Murdoch’s media empire.
In the May 18, 2012, letter to Murdoch’s lawyer, Scotland Yard informed the
billionaire and his henchmen that police were probing whether they were in cahoots with the corruption."
D. Murdoch is "Not a Fit Person": Lies & Excuses?
TheWeek.com April 4, 2012 timeline reports,
“July 13, 2011 Rupert Murdoch withdraws his long-sought bid for TV powerhouse British Sky Broadcasting, which days earlier was widely considered a done deal. News Corp retains its 39 percent stake in the company. “
According to a June 25, 2014 Bloomberg report,
“April 26, 2012: Rupert Murdoch testifies to Leveson Inquiry. He blames employees and lawyers for covering up the crimes.”
"On May 1, 2012 the Culture Committee [which had conducted a study investigating Murdoch's organization in the wake of the phone hacking scandal] says Murdoch is “not a fit person” to lead a major international company because he “exhibited willful blindness” to the extent of hacking at the News of the World."
“June 25, 2014: Jury discharged after failing to reach verdicts on remaining bribery charges against Coulson and Goodman.”
As noted above, there were many arrests and some convictions, but like justice in America [remember OJ], never enough and never the people who appear to be pulling the strings behind the curtain.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty - How Much Proof is Needed?
This following account was secretly recorded while Billionaire Rupert Murdoch was talking to his staff at the Sun - one of multiple Murdoch organizations that were implicated in the phone hacking and bribery scandals.
I found this reported by the Independent.co.uk website in a story entitled Caught on Tape: News Corp Boss Rupert Murdoch reveals what he really thinks about bribing public officials.
"The idea that the cops then started coming after you, kick you out of bed, and your families, at six in the morning, is unbelievable. But why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing… I mean, it’s a disgrace. Here we are, two years later, and the cops are totally incompetent.”
“I will do everything in my power to give you total support, even if you’re convicted and get six months or whatever. You’re all innocent until proven guilty. What you’re asking is: what happens if some of you are proven guilty? What afterwards? I’m not allowed to promise you – I will promise you continued health support – but your jobs. I’ve got to be careful what comes out – but frankly, I won’t say it, but just trust me.”
Asked what would happen if he was not around to support them [Murdoch is 85 years old] he said the decision would lie with his son, Lachlan, or Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp and former editor of The Times. And you don’t have any worries about either of them.”
The question you, the reader, need to ask yourself is - would you support a staff member who was found guilty of criminally hacking phones and / or bribing officials, if you weren't somehow culpable yourself?
It seems the Murdoch trail of dirty tricks is legendary, as I found plenty more allegations regarding what seemed to be a pattern of unethical and illicit activity by people in the hire of the Murdoch organization. I didn't have the time nor inclination to pursue allegations that Murdoch's organization had tried to intercept information, to cover up their misdeeds, and hacked a competitor's system to make their pay service free [putting the competitor out of business], and so on. I think we have seen enough of the Murdoch's organizational culture to get a sense of who they are, so let's move on.
II. "Mr. Murdoch’s War"
The Iraq War Cost U.S. Taxpayers $Trillion(s)
There was an April 2003 story in the NYT entitled 'Mr. Murdoch's War' which provides an account of Billionaire Media Mogul Murdoch's ostensibly public interest in convincing the U.S. and the U.K. to go to war with Iraq.
The NYT headline references a quote attributed to another Media Mogul of over a century ago - William Randolph Hearst. On January 28, 1898, Multi-Millionaire Media Mogul William Randolph Hearst was reported to have telegraphed a reporter,
"You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
In a 2003 interview with the Bulletin, an Australian magazine, Billionaire Murdoch was quoted as saying,
“… I think [President George W.] Bush is acting very morally, very correctly … “
In 2003, Fortune Magazine quoted Murdoch saying,
"The greatest thing to come out of this [the Iraq War] for the world economy ... would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country."
Political Puppets & Wars For Ratings?
Citizen Kane: W.R. Hearst & K.R. Murdoch?
Murdoch's interest in war appeared to follow in the footsteps of another well-known publisher of yellow journalism - William Randolph Hearst. RKO Radio Pictures released a movie in 1941 entitled Citizen Kane, that characterized the power-hungry, mega-millionaire of a century ago.
Some believe that Murdoch was far more interested in pursuing the war because it would increase his broadcast properties ratings and newspaper circulation sales, than believing his expressed interest in was the cheap price of oil.
Value of News Rating(s) can be $Billion(s) Per Year
A war for ratings seems ridiculous, until you do the math. I did a very rough, back-of-the-envelope calculation, using a one rating point increase [18 - 54] on daily national TV, which is the equivalent of 1.3 million added viewers. The cost per thousand [CPM] is between $25 - $45. So, for a half hour news show, airing 11 commercials, and running just six months, there's the potential to bring in somewhere in the neighborhood of an additional $100 million in the United States in 2015.
Now multiply by 48 because some media companies have 24 hour cable news channels, and then add in media properties around the world, including many newspapers, and an increase of ratings from war can add up to $billion(s) for a global media company.
The trillion dollar plus COST of the Iraq war was SOCIALIZED because it was footed by the American [and British] taxpayers and their children [the war was fought on borrowedmoney], but Murdoch's organization's PROFITS were PRIVATIZED. It is this war debt, and the lost lives and limbs of those who fought in Iraq, that may be Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch's most lasting LEGACY.
Billionaires (ab)Using Power of the Press
Media Mogul Murdoch isn't the only billionaire appearing to (ab)use the power of the press to determine which folks are placed in government controlled offices.
We witnessed Billionaire Media Mogul Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News, do what appeared to be a similar media hazing to the former Queens Library President in 2014.
Click here to read the story about the Role of Mortimer Zuckerman's Daily News coverage in the Takeover of the Queens Library.
III. Changing Laws, Regulators & No-Bid Contracts
A. Bush Election and FCC Expansion of TV Ownership Limits
Billionaire Media Mogul Murdoch appears to be treating the governments [and the people] of America and Britain like banana republics.
On election night, November 7, 2000, all of the networks [ABC, CBS, NBC & FOX] had declared Al Gore the winner of Florida, based on exit polls. Murdoch's Fox News had hired John Prescott Ellis, a cousin of George W. Bush, as a consultant to call the victors of each state. At around 2.16 am, the morning after the election, Ellis and Fox News declared Bush the winner of Florida, based on 85% of the voting returns from George W. Bush's brother's [Jeb] state of Florida.
The next morning the NY Post, one of the three daily papers in New York City [the nation's media capital], came out with a definitive issue declaring "BUSH WINS" in big bold type. Murdoch's News Organization had reset the narrative of the election, and even though Bush lost the popular vote by over a half million, with Florida's electoral votes, he was sworn in as President in January 2001.
Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch’s support of the presidency of George W. Bush proved to be highly beneficial to his organization. In 2001, shortly after assuming office, the Bush Administration FCC Chairman Michael Powell began reviewing the possibility of expanding TV ownership limits, which had been set at 35% in 1941, during the administration of FDR.
The Federal Communications Commission [FCC] states that the ownership limits were set to,
“… foster a vibrant marketplace of ideas, promote vigorous competition, and ensure that broadcasters continue to serve the needs and interests of their local communities.”
In June of 2003, FCC Chairman Michael Powell, expanded the ownership limit rules set in 1941 from maximum coverage of 35% of nation to maximum coverage of 45% of the nation.
In September of 2003, in a rare and immediate bi-party Congressional response, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives forwarded a resolution of disapproval and made plans to reset the ownership limits back to 35%.
But instead of staying the course and challenging President George W. Bush, Congressional leaders negotiated a deal to allow TV ownership coverage in the nation of 39%, grandfathering Vivendi and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, thus enabling them to keep all of their stations. This extended ownership of TV station coverage in the nation, provided Murdoch's organization with a competitive advantage.
B. British Prime Minister Election and Regulatory Oversight of British Sky Broadcasting Acquisition
The image at right shows that at least two of Murdoch's publications would be very much at home in a totalitarian state. Murdoch's 'news' organization tells its readers that they HAVE ONLY ONE CHOICE. Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch's choice?
According to the Guardian, Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, are reported to have met with Jeremy Hunt in 2009 in New York, during which time pundits opine that the Murdochs decided to acquire the rest of British Sky Broadcasting and to switch the Media Mogul's news 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 the nation'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 scandal, was promoted as Prime Minister Cameron's top press person. When things got hot, Prime Minister Cameron fired him, and apologized to the British public. But that didn't deter Cameron from promoting another of questionable character, Jeremy Hunt [see why below].
Billionaire Murdoch went on to make a bid to acquire the remainder of British Sky Broadcasting and was within weeks of closing the deal in the summer of 2011 when a barrage of criminal phone hacking allegations against his company were publicized.
Why England Slept?
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 New York 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.
Undeterred? Companies controlled by Billionaire Media Mogul Rupert 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. B Sky B recently expanded their control of European airwaves through the acquistion of Sky Italia [Italy] and Sky Deutschland [Germany] which essentially gave Murdoch's organization a lot of cash which they could use to purchase British Sky Broadcasting.
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"
Would you trust an organization, whose hires had been convicted for criminal phone hacking to gather private information which was subsequently published, to be your internet and phone service provider?
C. NY Post Endorses Cuomo & Deal Negotiations by NYS & Murdoch Org
Murdoch's NY Post endorsed Andrew Cuomo for New York State governor in 2010. About one year later, in the summer of 2011, Murdoch's organization was very close to closing a no-bid contract which would have made a Murdoch organization the service provider tracking students' performance.
Unfortunately for Murdoch, the criminal phone hacking scandal, wherein people from his company intercepted people's private communications and then publicized them, became public just before the deal closed. And, in fact, the explosive scandal nixed it.
Given the multi-millionaire Hedge Fund efforts to privatize public education, one has to wonder if there was more than one agenda at play.
According to Wikipedia, in response to the phone hacking scandal,
"The week of 22 August 2011, Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation, lost a no-bid contract with New York State to build an information system for tracking student performance as a direct consequence of the News International phone hacking scandal. Citing, ". . . vendor responsibility issues with the parent company of Wireless Generation," state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that the revelations surrounding News Corporation had made the final approval of the contract "untenable"."
IV. Murdoch Org: Disinforming Propagandist Publisher?
"State Sponsored News" or Propaganda For Profit?
James Murdoch Talks about Propaganda in 2009: What's interesting is that the Billionaire Murdoch and his sons appear to have had the fine art of propaganda on their minds at least as early as seven years ago.
Billionaire Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch's son, James, a top ranking executive in Murdoch's organization, was quoted in an August 28, 2009 Taggart Lecture accusing the BBC, which has long been a standard of news excellence like our own PBS, with the following statement,
"He [James Murdoch] added that the BBC was "dumping free, state-sponsored news on the market".
Murdoch's NY Post Appears to Foam at the Mouth
There are days when Billionaire Chairman Keith Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post appears to foam at the mouth with their infective venom.
On Sunday, April 24th there were FIVE negative stories about the Mayor, on Friday, April 15th there were SIX negative stories about the Mayor, on Sunday / Monday / Tuesday the following week there were a total of FIFTEEN negative stories about the Mayor, and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of April 5th through 7th there were a total of EIGHTEEN negative stories about the Mayor.
Not a single day in April of 2016 has gone by without Billionaire Chairman Keith Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post publishing a negative story about the Mayor. In the newspaper business they call this keeping the story alive, so that like a virus, it infects the minds of the public who see it.
There were 80 stories published by the NY Post in the first 24 days of April. That's eighty stories – more than three per day - and not a single one was positive [a few were neutral]. And in looking back on the Murdoch's NY Post's headlines since the Mayor took office, I didn’t really find any headlines that I would classify as positive. This appears to be what I'd call Billionaire Media Mogul propaganda where they treat and repeat allegations as if they were facts.
Murdoch Has History of Editorial Meddling
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 British and American journalists covering Billionaire Publisher Murdoch and the war were skeptical of that claim and implicit in his statement is an admission that he has meddled in the editorial content of his papers in the past.
Eight years later, in a July 19, 2011 report by Reuters the story includes in its headlines that Billionaire Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch is a "hands-on newspaperman”, who it seems, makes sure that the people who work for him know what he expects. The story ended with the following quote,
"He [Murdoch] is not necessarily a bloke who wants to discuss ethics in journalism."
Remember as you read the NY Post, the Wall Street Journal and watch Fox News that all of these media outlets are controlled by the same multi-billionaire, and when he wants them to - he can make them speak with 'THE ONLY ONE' voice that really matters - the voice of Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch.
FOX: A Disinformation News Source?
7 Independent Studies Show Frequent Fox Viewers Are More Likely Disinformed
Billionaire Media Moguls know that if they keep repeating something often enough on the TV and in the press - regardless of whether it's true - some people will start believing it. And that over time it can become the [false] truth for a sizeable segment of the not well informed people in the population.
Abraham Lincoln said,
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
Is Billionaire Keith Rupert Murdoch trying to fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, to gain a competitive advantage for his organization and make billions more for himself?
In the free world we still call this propaganda, but in the free world it seems that propaganda is used to increase profits, not promote an ideology. But in both cases the means are the same - punishing those who defy and promoting those who will submit.
Media Matters, a non-profit media watchdog group, cited seven different, independent studies by a multitude of respectable non-profit and for profit organizations [including Murdoch's own Wall Street Journal] showing that frequent viewers of Fox News are also frequently misinformed about key subjects.
According to Media Matters the studies were conducted by:
- Kaiser Health
- Ohio State University researchers
- Program on International Policy Attitudes
- Stanford University and the National Science Foundation
- University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes
- Farleigh Dickinson University
- NBC / Wall Street Journal poll
Suggestion for New FOX Slogan: 'We Decide by Disinforming You'
As previously stated, Billionaire Murdoch's News Corp once used the slogan - We Report. You Decide
But while working on this story I came up with what seemed to me to be a better fitting slogan for them - We Decide by Disinforming You.
V. Is 'Citizen Murdoch' Single-Handedly Trying to Oust Mayor?
It appears that Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch's organization doesn't respect laws, and by association, the citizenry of the nation.
One need not look far to find evidence supporting this statement given the Murdoch organization’s history of hiring people who break laws, as well as the string of 'coincidences' wherein following the election of Murdoch supported candidates - laws are changed, negotiations on no-bid deals are begun, and regulatory processes are overseen by Murdoch organization supported administrations.
Billionaire K. Rupert Murdoch's NY Post's coverage of the NYC Mayor appears to smell like propaganda. Murdoch's NY Post coverage of the Mayor appears to be repetition of opinions, allegations and innuendo. The NY Post has resorted to name-calling, reposting and replaying 'hot button' amateur video, and has been providing the public with one-sided, out of context, negatively biased headlines disproportional to the facts. This sort of behavior by a powerful Billionaire Publisher is reminiscent of the sad character portrayed in the movie Citizen Kane.
Murdoch's NY Post's targeting of the NYC Mayor, has the appearance of Murdoch's organization's pattern of using their media assets to convince voters to 'elect' government officials friendly to the Murdoch organization's wishes. Murdoch's organization seems to use the same headline to announce their choices on different continents - THE ONLY ONE / OUR ONLY HOPE - even though Murdoch insists he no longer has time to interfere with editorial content.
I don't know if the Mayor has done anything wrong or not, but I believe in the American axiom of due process, and so far it seems most of what the NY Post has done is to keep repeating their opinions, along with allegations & innuendo.
It's worth noting something mostly absent in the NY Post reporting on the matter, which is that,
"It is not clear how direct a role, if any, the mayor played in some of these matters." NYT April 29, 2016
Is Murdoch Org Skirting Campaign Finance Laws?
Aren't Incessant Advocacy or Attack Reports - Really Infomercials Presented as News?
Is Propaganda Media Malpractice?
Is the Murdoch organization's apparent use of its media properties as propaganda tools media malpractice?
Isn't this sort of apparent relentless barrage of advocacy or attack reports - really infomercials disguised as news - since it appears to depart from the professional standards of American journalism? And thus isn't the Murdoch organization making huge, undisclosed, independent expenditures to promote or punish candidates seeking public office, and hence skirting campaign finance laws?
Billionaire Mogul Murdoch was adamant about due process when the authorities were hunting down the criminals who worked for his organization, but Murdoch's organization dismisses due process when it comes to the NY Post's reporting of recent allegations regarding the Mayor's fundraising.
I spent my time working on this story to inform the public about an increasingly important issue ... and for Rosebud, Mr. Murdoch. Thanks for reading this.
Thomas Jefferson said that,
"Eternal vigilance is the price of democracy."
There will always be greedy people who no matter how much money and power they have, will always want more. They behave like drug addicts who can never get enough, and whose unbridled greed and lust for power, can be harmful to numerous other humans in a free functioning society.
Additional Reading - Books & Websites
For further reading about Billionaire Media Mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch, you might find this site of interest - http://thwaites.com.au/wp/murdochs-private-spies/ and the Dial M for Murdoch book is available on Amazon.uk.
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