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JFK Researchers and the Murdoch Investigation


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It is a shame that most members of the Forum, with the notable exception of Doug Caddy, who very early noticed its significance, have shown little evidence of being interested in the thread on Rubert Murdoch (although page views show it has been very popular with non-members). The thread was started in July 2009. Here we have an example of where we are getting dramatic political change because of a media investigation. Much of this has been the result of internet campaigns. I believe this is far more important than Watergate, as this was an investigation that was carefully managed by the power elite.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14556

There are also close connections with another thread, "The Corruption of New Labour: Britain's Watergate". Started on 20th March 2006. This story was also suppressed by the media bosses (our own Operation Mockingbird). They have even used the same man to carry out the investigation of Rupert Murdoch/Tony Blair (John Yates). This thread has also largely been ignored by members, but not non-members (83,125 Views).

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6382

I wonder if JFK assassination researchers have taken a look at the way that people have used the internet to get the truth into the public domain. One of the interesting things is that people from a wide variety of different background, anarchists to mumsnet, are bringing down Murdoch. Could JFK researchers do the same?

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6382

Here is a good article by George Monbiot on the importance of what is happening:

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/07/11/a-hippocratic-oath-for-journalists/

Is Murdoch now finished in the UK? As the pursuit of Gordon Brown by the Sunday Times and the Sun blows the hacking scandal into new corners of the old man's empire, this story begins to feel like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The naked attempt to destroy Brown by any means, including hacking the medical files of his sick baby son, means that there is no obvious limit to the story's ramifications.

The scandal radically changes public perceptions of how politics works, the danger corporate power presents to democracy, and the extent to which it has compromised and corrupted the Metropolitan police, who have now been dragged in so deep they are beginning to look like Murdoch's private army. It has electrified a dozy parliament and subjected the least accountable and most corrupt profession in Britain – journalism – to belated public scrutiny.

The cracks are appearing in the most unexpected places. Look at the remarkable admission by the rightwing columnist Janet Daley in this week's Sunday Telegraph. "British political journalism is basically a club to which politicians and journalists both belong," she wrote. "It is this familiarity, this intimacy, this set of shared assumptions … which is the real corruptor of political life. The self-limiting spectrum of what can and cannot be said … the self-reinforcing cowardice which takes for granted that certain vested interests are too powerful to be worth confronting. All of these things are constant dangers in the political life of any democracy."

Most national journalists are embedded, immersed in the society, beliefs and culture of the people they are meant to hold to account. They are fascinated by power struggles among the elite but have little interest in the conflict between the elite and those they dominate. They celebrate those with agency and ignore those without.

But this is just part of the problem. Daley stopped short of naming the most persuasive force: the interests of the owner and the corporate class to which he belongs. The proprietor appoints editors in his own image – who impress their views on their staff. Murdoch's editors, like those who work for the other proprietors, insist that they think and act independently.

It's a lie exposed by the concurrence of their views (did all 247 News Corp editors just happen to support the invasion of Iraq?), and blown out of the water by Andrew Neil's explosive testimony in 2008 before the Lords select committee on communications.

The papers cannot announce that their purpose is to ventriloquise the concerns of multimillionaires; they must present themselves as the voice of the people. The Sun, the Mail and the Express claim to represent the interests of the working man and woman. These interests turn out to be identical to those of the men who own the papers.

So the rightwing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country. Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers.

The corporate media is a gigantic astroturfing operation: a fake grassroots crusade serving elite interests. In this respect the media companies resemble the Tea Party movement, which claims to be a spontaneous rising of blue-collar Americans against the elite but was founded with the help of the billionaire Koch brothers and promoted by Murdoch's Fox News.

Journalism's primary purpose is to hold power to account. This purpose has been perfectly inverted. Columnists and bloggers are employed as the enforcers of corporate power, denouncing people who criticise its interests, stamping on new ideas, bullying the powerless. The press barons allowed governments occasionally to promote the interests of the poor, but never to hamper the interests of the rich. They also sought to discipline the rest of the media. The BBC, over the last 30 years, became a shadow of the gutsy broadcaster it was, and now treats big business with cringing deference. Every morning at 6.15, the Today programme's business report grants executives the kind of unchallenged access otherwise reserved for God on Thought for the Day. The rest of the programme seeks out controversy and sets up discussions between opponents, but these people are not confronted by their critics.

So what can be done? Because of the peculiar threat they present to democracy there's a case to be made for breaking up all majority interests in media companies, and for a board of governors, appointed perhaps by Commons committee, to act as a counterweight to the shareholders' business interests.

But even if that's a workable idea, it's a long way off. For now, the best hope might be to mobilise readers to demand that journalists answer to them, not just their proprietors. One means of doing this is to lobby journalists to commit themselves to a kind of Hippocratic oath. Here's a rough stab at a first draft. I hope others can improve it. Ideally, I'd like to see the National Union of Journalists building on it and encouraging its members to sign.

'Our primary task is to hold power to account. We will prioritise those stories and issues which expose the interests of power. We will be wary of the relationships we form with the rich and powerful, and ensure that we don't become embedded in their society. We will not curry favour with politicians, businesses or other dominant groups by withholding scrutiny of their affairs, or twisting a story to suit their interests.

"We will stand up to the interests of the businesses we work for, and the advertisers which fund them. We will never take money for promulgating a particular opinion, and we will resist attempts to oblige us to adopt one.

"We will recognise and understand the power we wield and how it originates. We will challenge ourselves and our perception of the world as much as we challenge other people. When we turn out to be wrong, we will say so."

I accept that this doesn't directly address the power relations that govern the papers. But it might help journalists to assert a measure of independence, and readers to hold them to it. Just as voters should lobby their MPs to represent them and not just the whips, readers should seek to drag journalists away from the demands of their editors. The oath is one possible tool that could enhance reader power.

If you don't like it, suggest a better idea. Something has to change: never again should a half a dozen oligarchs be allowed to dominate and corrupt the life of this country.

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It is a shame that most members of the Forum, with the notable exception of Doug Caddy, who very early noticed its significance, have shown little evidence of being interested in the thread on Rubert Murdoch (although page views show it has been very popular with non-members). The thread was started in July 2009. Here we have an example of where we are getting dramatic political change because of a media investigation. Much of this has been the result of internet campaigns. I believe this is far more important than Watergate, as this was an investigation that was carefully managed by the power elite.

http://educationforu...showtopic=14556

There are also close connections with another thread, "The Corruption of New Labour: Britain's Watergate". Started on 20th March 2006. This story was also suppressed by the media bosses (our own Operation Mockingbird). They have even used the same man to carry out the investigation of Rupert Murdoch/Tony Blair (John Yates). This thread has also largely been ignored by members, but not non-members (83,125 Views).

http://educationforu...?showtopic=6382

I wonder if JFK assassination researchers have taken a look at the way that people have used the internet to get the truth into the public domain. One of the interesting things is that people from a wide variety of different background, anarchists to mumsnet, are bringing down Murdoch. Could JFK researchers do the same?

John,

Online and private discussions have been ongoing about this very thing. We are looking to involve a lot of different groups and organizations in our campaign.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/203775696333877?ap=1

This group was started by someone going through hell in earth-quake ravaged New Zealand. That is REAL commitment.

http://educationforu...?showtopic=6382

Here is a good article by George Monbiot on the importance of what is happening:

http://www.monbiot.c...or-journalists/

Is Murdoch now finished in the UK? As the pursuit of Gordon Brown by the Sunday Times and the Sun blows the hacking scandal into new corners of the old man's empire, this story begins to feel like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The naked attempt to destroy Brown by any means, including hacking the medical files of his sick baby son, means that there is no obvious limit to the story's ramifications.

The scandal radically changes public perceptions of how politics works, the danger corporate power presents to democracy, and the extent to which it has compromised and corrupted the Metropolitan police, who have now been dragged in so deep they are beginning to look like Murdoch's private army. It has electrified a dozy parliament and subjected the least accountable and most corrupt profession in Britain – journalism – to belated public scrutiny.

The cracks are appearing in the most unexpected places. Look at the remarkable admission by the rightwing columnist Janet Daley in this week's Sunday Telegraph. "British political journalism is basically a club to which politicians and journalists both belong," she wrote. "It is this familiarity, this intimacy, this set of shared assumptions … which is the real corruptor of political life. The self-limiting spectrum of what can and cannot be said … the self-reinforcing cowardice which takes for granted that certain vested interests are too powerful to be worth confronting. All of these things are constant dangers in the political life of any democracy."

Most national journalists are embedded, immersed in the society, beliefs and culture of the people they are meant to hold to account. They are fascinated by power struggles among the elite but have little interest in the conflict between the elite and those they dominate. They celebrate those with agency and ignore those without.

But this is just part of the problem. Daley stopped short of naming the most persuasive force: the interests of the owner and the corporate class to which he belongs. The proprietor appoints editors in his own image – who impress their views on their staff. Murdoch's editors, like those who work for the other proprietors, insist that they think and act independently.

It's a lie exposed by the concurrence of their views (did all 247 News Corp editors just happen to support the invasion of Iraq?), and blown out of the water by Andrew Neil's explosive testimony in 2008 before the Lords select committee on communications.

The papers cannot announce that their purpose is to ventriloquise the concerns of multimillionaires; they must present themselves as the voice of the people. The Sun, the Mail and the Express claim to represent the interests of the working man and woman. These interests turn out to be identical to those of the men who own the papers.

So the rightwing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country. Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers.

It's the old PR art of getting people to act or take on beliefs against their own interests. The term "public relations" was only coined when the word "propaganda" started being used in the pejorative. And that's all the media is now: a free public relations (read "propaganda") vehicle for the powerful.

The corporate media is a gigantic astroturfing operation: a fake grassroots crusade serving elite interests. In this respect the media companies resemble the Tea Party movement, which claims to be a spontaneous rising of blue-collar Americans against the elite but was founded with the help of the billionaire Koch brothers and promoted by Murdoch's Fox News.

I hear it every day in my shop, John: workers and pensioners parroting in resignation or outrage, the latest from talk-back radio or the gutter press on why who we should hate/fear/blame, and why.

Journalism's primary purpose is to hold power to account. This purpose has been perfectly inverted. Columnists and bloggers are employed as the enforcers of corporate power, denouncing people who criticise its interests, stamping on new ideas, bullying the powerless. The press barons allowed governments occasionally to promote the interests of the poor, but never to hamper the interests of the rich. They also sought to discipline the rest of the media. The BBC, over the last 30 years, became a shadow of the gutsy broadcaster it was, and now treats big business with cringing deference. Every morning at 6.15, the Today programme's business report grants executives the kind of unchallenged access otherwise reserved for God on Thought for the Day. The rest of the programme seeks out controversy and sets up discussions between opponents, but these people are not confronted by their critics.

So what can be done? Because of the peculiar threat they present to democracy there's a case to be made for breaking up all majority interests in media companies, and for a board of governors, appointed perhaps by Commons committee, to act as a counterweight to the shareholders' business interests.

Here is my only disagreement. There is no threat to real democracy. It doesn't exist. Murdoch's media "antecedents" helped create a type of democracy that is illusory. What is needed is for all the magicians to have their pants pulled down so everyone gets a dose of the cankerous reality. If those magicians can be forced to skulk off; the $64.00 question is what happens next?

I think it would be a mistake to believe it AUTOMATICALLY leads to a good outcome, let alone Utopia.

But even if that's a workable idea, it's a long way off. For now, the best hope might be to mobilise readers to demand that journalists answer to them, not just their proprietors. One means of doing this is to lobby journalists to commit themselves to a kind of Hippocratic oath. Here's a rough stab at a first draft. I hope others can improve it. Ideally, I'd like to see the National Union of Journalists building on it and encouraging its members to sign.

'Our primary task is to hold power to account. We will prioritise those stories and issues which expose the interests of power. We will be wary of the relationships we form with the rich and powerful, and ensure that we don't become embedded in their society. We will not curry favour with politicians, businesses or other dominant groups by withholding scrutiny of their affairs, or twisting a story to suit their interests.

"We will stand up to the interests of the businesses we work for, and the advertisers which fund them. We will never take money for promulgating a particular opinion, and we will resist attempts to oblige us to adopt one.

"We will recognise and understand the power we wield and how it originates. We will challenge ourselves and our perception of the world as much as we challenge other people. When we turn out to be wrong, we will say so."

I accept that this doesn't directly address the power relations that govern the papers. But it might help journalists to assert a measure of independence, and readers to hold them to it. Just as voters should lobby their MPs to represent them and not just the whips, readers should seek to drag journalists away from the demands of their editors. The oath is one possible tool that could enhance reader power.

If you don't like it, suggest a better idea. Something has to change: never again should a half a dozen oligarchs be allowed to dominate and corrupt the life of this country.

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Share on other sites

It is a shame that most members of the Forum, with the notable exception of Doug Caddy, who very early noticed its significance, have shown little evidence of being interested in the thread on Rubert Murdoch (although page views show it has been very popular with non-members). The thread was started in July 2009. Here we have an example of where we are getting dramatic political change because of a media investigation. Much of this has been the result of internet campaigns. I believe this is far more important than Watergate, as this was an investigation that was carefully managed by the power elite.

http://educationforu...showtopic=14556

There are also close connections with another thread, "The Corruption of New Labour: Britain's Watergate". Started on 20th March 2006. This story was also suppressed by the media bosses (our own Operation Mockingbird). They have even used the same man to carry out the investigation of Rupert Murdoch/Tony Blair (John Yates). This thread has also largely been ignored by members, but not non-members (83,125 Views).

http://educationforu...?showtopic=6382

I wonder if JFK assassination researchers have taken a look at the way that people have used the internet to get the truth into the public domain. One of the interesting things is that people from a wide variety of different background, anarchists to mumsnet, are bringing down Murdoch. Could JFK researchers do the same?

John,

Online and private discussions have been ongoing about this very thing. We are looking to involve a lot of different groups and organizations in our campaign.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/203775696333877?ap=1

This group was started by someone going through hell in earth-quake ravaged New Zealand. That is REAL commitment.

http://educationforu...?showtopic=6382

I have applied to join the group.

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Interesting comments Greg. like he said ''they're a weird mob''. It's an uphill battle, but unless it's fought it can't be won.

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I wasn't following the Murdoch Mob until they decided to do away with a hundred year old media institution because of some phone hacking.

It just didn't make sense.

Why not fire those who did it?

It's also a crime to do that so why weren't they prosecuted.

Instead, Murdoch dissolves the entire production, putting everybody out of work except the person responsible for the hacking?

I'm sure there's more to it, but it reminds me of the Philadelphia Bulletin, the afternoon daily for decades, was purchased by a Florida media conglamorate that was tied in to the Watergate scandal, and they just did away with the Bulletin, so it just no longer exists.

Then in the article John Simkin posted as an analysis, because Murdoch is what he is, all privately held media companies should be forced to break up in order to maintain democracy.

What kind of a solution is that?

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The first russian revolution was in 1905 then in 1917 followed by a counter revolution. these seesaws are to be expected. Ultimately it is the education of wage slaves that at some point leads to a unified class consciousness. This is often forged in fire. It's no wonder that a main bastion is at some point seen for what it is. Distrust and confusion leading people clutching at straws, anything that assuages and answers.

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I wasn't following the Murdoch Mob until they decided to do away with a hundred year old media institution because of some phone hacking.

It just didn't make sense.

Why not fire those who did it?

It's also a crime to do that so why weren't they prosecuted.

You need to read this thread for the answer to this question:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14556

Closing the News of the World does make economic sense. Because of the internet campaign, virtually every major corporation announced it would not advertise in the newspaper. It is impossible to make a profit from newspapers without advertising. As the Times and the Sunday Times, also now implicated in dirty tricks against the Labour government, do not make a profit, they will also probably be closed down. It is also questionable whether the Sun can continue in this mood. You really have to be living in Britain to understand the current feelings against Murdoch and his newspapers.

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:) we've been living with it here for decades. I think most feel pretty powerless, but certainly can understand, good luck
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If Murdoch gets shut down in Britain, good. But then what can be done about his FoxNews in America? It's not just the politics, which is to be expected, but why does it have a lineup of talking heads that I and a lot of other people simply can't stand? I'm talking about Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Greta van Susteren (whose voice is like fingernails on a blackboard)? With commentators like Dick "Let Me Suck Your Toes" Morris and Bill "You Can Thank Me for PNAC and Iraq" Kristol. What a torture chamber. Fortunately viewing is voluntary, but this crew is what perhaps a majority of Americans get their "news and analysis" from.

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Murdoch's media empire is better viewed as an intelligence operation created with specific political goals in mind. You start making progress on understanding the issues involved when you begin assessing the hacking as spying.

It's somewhat like the Time/Life situation in the 50's and 60's -- Henry and Claire Booth have these little magazines which operate as propaganda vehicles and sometimes even more.

Edited by John Navin
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Murdoch's media empire is better viewed as an intelligence operation created with specific political goals in mind. You start making progress on understanding the issues involved when you begin assessing the hacking as spying.

It's somewhat like the Time/Life situation in the 50's and 60's -- Henry and Claire Booth have these little magazines which operate as propaganda vehicles and sometimes even more.

Well said, John. In fact, if one recalls the campaign against Harold Wilson, and compares it to that waged against Gordon Brown, we appear to be looking at a more or less identical operation - only we must substitute News International for BOSS and Gordon Winter. In both instances, MI5 (and GCHQ) melted into the background, permitting the bugging, burgling and blagging to run unchecked, presumably as intended. How MI5 and GCHQ have evaded scrutiny in the face of hacking on this (industrial) scale beggars belief. But the former is doubtless too busy celebrating the wholesale discrediting of the Met's counter-terrorism directorate to spare much time for a public accounting.

Gordon Brown must have felt the Sun was out to destroy him

News that the Sun obtained details of the former prime minister's son's illness will confirm his entourage's worst suspicions

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/11/gordon-brown-sun-destroy?INTCMP=SRCH

The news that the Sun newspaper obtained details from the medical records of Gordon Brown's disabled son, Fraser, is likely to confirm the worst suspicions of the Brown entourage that News International has long been morally corrupt, but also determined to destroy him politically.

Ever since the Sun dramatically withdrew its support from Labour in September 2009, Brown has no doubt felt the paper not just betrayed him, but killed his premiership. Like Tony Blair, he had done his best to cultivate good relations with the Murdoch executives, just as he had worked hard over the years to persuade Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail that he was a moral and serious figure.

The loss of the Sun's support mattered less for its editorial comment than for the way in which the paper then slanted its daily coverage, for instance, pursuing Brown for letting down British troops in Afghanistan.

But it would seem the loss of trust between Brown and News International preceded the Sun's defection. Two months earlier, after Guardian revelations about phone hacking and the mounting evidence of a News International cover-up, Brown started to agitate for a judicial inquiry. For at least a fortnight he was in discussion with the home secretary, Alan Johnson. Brown and Lord Mandelson held discussions with Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, to get a clearer understanding of the scandal.

Labour says Sir Gus O'Donnell, head of the civil service, blocked the inquiry. The civil service says O'Donnell resisted Brown's idea on the basis that it would be drawing the judiciary into a political process less than a year before a general election. Johnson also found himself hemmed in by civil servants, so he looked at whether an independent investigation could be launched into the original police investigation. The plan for an inquiry fell away.

After the election Brown continued to be concerned by phone hacking, encouraging lines of inquiry, firing off emails and closely following the course of a New York Times investigation into the scandal, that was finally published in September 2010.

It was around then that Brown wrote privately to the Metropolitan Police to ask whether his phone had been hacked. His suspicion was that his phone had been hacked between 2005 and 2007 when he was chancellor. By January this year, as the fact of his inquiry became known, the Met had not replied.

Some observers, even former cabinet colleagues, thought Brown's concern was the result of him still coming to terms with his electoral defeat. But it would appear Brown was convinced that, but for the opposition of News International, he might have been able to garner enough votes to form a viable coalition with the Liberal Democrats. If he had launched the judicial inquiry while in office, perhaps he could have exposed his tormentors.

That view might have been fuelled by one of his closest allies, Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, one of the politicians who has stuck to the News International story most doggedly. Indeed, some wrongly believe Watson's pursuit of this issue is solely driven by his loyalty to Brown.

Watson quit his job as a defence minister in 2006 as part of a battle to dethrone Tony Blair and install Brown. He believes those actions made him an enemy of Rebekah Brooks, then editor of the Sun, and a supporter of Tony Blair.

In a speech to the annual conference of the GMB last month, Watson recalled: "I was told then that Rebekah Brooks, then the editor of the Sun, now the chief executive of News International, would never forgive me for what I did to her Tony. They said she would pursue me for the rest of my life.

"They have; I can tell you from personal experience it's not very nice."

Watson rejoined the government, but in April 2009 the Sun wrongly accused him of being involved in an operation run by Damian McBride, Brown's spin doctor, to smear Conservatives. The Sun refused to withdraw its allegation and, around the same time, strangers started to look through the bins at Watson's home.

He said: "When the neighbours complained that this time their bins had also been gone through, my family was at breaking point. When our three-year-old hid behind the sofa because there was another nasty man at the door, I snapped."

In June 2009 Watson quit the governmentA week before he attended his first select committee hearing on 14 July that year, the Guardian published its story that News International had paid more than £1m to victims of phone hacking. Watson, already in litigation against the Sun, suddenly found himself drawn into a direct battle with News International.

His first committee taking evidence was with executives from News International, the organisation he was suing. He faced a choice. He explained: "When you're faced with that daily fear, you really only have two choices: give in and get out, or give as good as you get."

At that first evidence session, Tom Crone, legal manager of News Group Newspapers, the NI subsidiary that published the News of the World and the Sun, tried to prevent Watson sitting on the inquiry because he was suing NI. Parliamentary legal counsel told Crone that Watson would not be removed. In October 2009 the Sun was forced to accept in the high court that its story about Watson had been wrong.

From there on, Watson decided he had a cause.. He said: "I stood up in parliament and, for the first time, I told the truth that dare not speak its name – that we were scared, that the whole of British politics had been terrified into silence, become complicit in a cover-up of the illegal methods of a corporate beast that was out of control."

As the scale of the intrusion into Brown's privacy becomes known, Watson looks vindicated.

A piece that wouldn't look out of place in Ramsay & Dorril's Smear: Wilson and the Secret State (London: Fourth Estate, 1991): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Smear-Wilson-Secret-Stephen-Dorril/dp/0586217134

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Let's see here, what other similarities. Aha. Allegations of Murdoch "journalists" paying off corrupt policemen for information -- does the name Jack Ruby ring a bell? Was he posing as a journalist among his many friends at the police station? Was he working for an intelligence operation at the time?

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Murdoch’s Watergate?

His anything-goes approach has spreadthrough journalism like a contagion. Now it threatens to undermine theinfluence he so covets.

by Carl BernsteinJuly 11, 2011

http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/71-71/6573-murdochs-watergate

The hacking scandal currently shaking RupertMurdoch’s empire will surprise only those who have willfully blinded themselvesto that empire’s pernicious influence on journalism in the English-speakingworld. Too many of us have winked in amusement at the salaciousness withoutconsidering the larger corruption of journalism and politics promulgated byMurdoch Culture on both sides of the Atlantic.

The facts of the case are astonishing in theirscope. Thousands of private phone messages hacked, presumably by peopleaffiliated with the Murdoch-owned Newsof the World newspaper, withthe violated parties ranging from Prince William and actor Hugh Grant to murdervictims and families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The arrest of Andy Coulson, former press chief to PrimeMinister David Cameron, for his role in the scandal during his tenure as thepaper’s editor. The arrest (for the second time) of Clive Goodman, the paper’sformer royals editor. The shocking July 7 announcement that the paper wouldcease publication three days later, putting hundreds of employees out of work.Murdoch’s bid to acquire full control of cable-news company BSkyB placed injeopardy. Allegations of bribery, wiretapping, and other forms oflawbreaking—not to mention the charge that emails were deleted by the millionsin order to thwart Scotland Yard’s investigation.

All of this surrounding a man and a media empirewith no serious rivals for political influence in Britain—especially, but not exclusively, among the conservativeTories who currently run the country. Almost every prime minister since theHarold Wilson era of the 1960s and ’70s has paid obeisance to Murdoch and hisunmatched power. When Murdoch threw his annual London summer party for theUnited Kingdom’s political, journalistic, and social elite at the Orangery inKensington Gardens on June 16, Prime Minister Cameron and his wife, Sam, werethere, as were Labour leader Ed Miliband and assorted other cabinet ministers.

Murdoch associates, present and former—and hisbiographers—have said that one of his greatest long-term ambitions has been toreplicate that political and cultural power in the United States. For a long time his vehicle was the New York Post—notprofitable, but useful for increasing his eminence and working a wholesalechange not only in American journalism but in the broader culture as well. PageSix, emblematic in its carelessness about accuracy or truth or context—butoh-so-readable—became the model for the gossipization of an American presspreviously resistant to even considering publishing its like. (Murdoch accomplisheda similar debasement of the airwaves in the 1990s with the—tame by today’sfar-lower standards—tabloid television show HardCopy.)

Then came the unfair and imbalanced politicized“news” of the Fox News Channel—showing (again) Murdoch’s genius at building anempire on the basis of an ever-descending lowest journalistic denominator. It,too, rests on a foundation that has little or nothing to do with the besttraditions and values of real reporting and responsible journalism: the bestobtainable version of the truth. In place of this journalistic ideal, theenduring Murdoch ethic substitutes gossip, sensationalism, and manufacturedcontroversy.

And finally, in 2007 The Wall Street Journal’ssquabbling family owners succumbed to his acumen, willpower, and money,fulfilling Murdoch’s dream of owning an American newspaper to match theinfluence and prestige of his U.K. holding, TheTimes of London—one thatreally mattered, at the topmost tier of journalism.

Between the Post, Fox News, and the Journal, it’s hard to think of any otherindividual who has had a greater impact on American political and media culturein the past half century.

But now the empire is shaking, and there’s notelling when it will stop. My conversations with British journalists and politicians—allof them insistent on speaking anonymously to protect themselves fromretribution by the still-enormously powerful mogul—make evident that theshuttering of News of theWorld, and the officialinquiries announced by the British government, are the beginning, not the end,of the seismic event.

News International, the British arm of Murdoch’smedia empire, “has always worked on the principle of omertà: ‘Do not say anything toanybody outside the family, and we will look after you,’ ” notes a former Murdocheditor who knows the system well. “Now they are hanging people out to dry. Themoment you do that, the omertà is gone, and people are going to talk.It looks like a circular firing squad.”

News of the World wasalways Murdoch’s “baby,” one of the largest newspapers in the English-speakingworld, with 2.6 million readers. As anyone in the business will tell you, thestandards and culture of a journalistic institution are set from the top down,by its owner, publisher, and top editors. Reporters and editors do notroutinely break the law, bribe policemen, wiretap, and generally conductthemselves like thugs unless it is a matter of recognized and understoodpolicy. Private detectives and phone hackers do not become the primary sourcesof a newspaper’s information without the tacit knowledge and approval of thepeople at the top, all the more so in the case of newspapers owned by RupertMurdoch, according to those who know him best.

As one of his former top executives—once a closeaide—told me, “This scandal and all its implications could not have happenedanywhere else. Only in Murdoch’s orbit. The hacking at News of the World was done on an industrial scale. Morethan anyone, Murdoch invented and established this culture in the newsroom,where you do whatever it takes to get the story, take no prisoners, destroy thecompetition, and the end will justify the means.”

“In the end, what you sow is what you reap,” saidthis same executive. “Now Murdoch is a victim of the culture that he created.It is a logical conclusion, and it is his people at the top who encouragedlawbreaking and hacking phones and condoned it.”

Could Murdoch eventually be criminally charged? Hehas always surrounded himself with trusted subordinates and family members, soperhaps it is unlikely. Though Murdoch has strenuously denied any knowledge atall of the hacking and bribery, it’s hard to believe that his top deputies atthe paper didn’t think they had a green light from him to use suchuntraditional reportorial methods. Investigators are already assemblingvoluminous records that demonstrate the systemic lawbreaking at News of the World, and Scotland Yard seems to believewhat was happening in the newsroom was endemic at the highest levels at thepaper and evident within the corporate structure. Checks have been foundshowing tens of thousands of dollars of payments at a time.

For this reporter, it is impossible not toconsider these facts through the prism of Watergate. When Bob Woodward and Icame up against difficult ethical questions, such as whether to approach grandjurors for information (which we did, and perhaps shouldn’t have), we soughtexecutive editor Ben Bradlee’s counsel, and he in turn called in the companylawyers, who gave the go-ahead and outlined the legal issues in full. PublisherKatharine Graham was informed. Likewise, Bradlee was aware when I obtainedprivate telephone and credit-card records of one of the Watergate figures.

All institutions have lapses, even great ones,especially by individual rogue employees—famously in recent years at The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the three original TV networks. But can anyone whoknows and understands the journalistic process imagine the kind of tacticsregularly employed by the Murdoch press, especially at News of the World, being condoned at the Post or the Times?

And then there’s the other inevitable Watergatecomparison. The circumstances of the alleged lawbreaking within News Corp.suggest more than a passing resemblance to Richard Nixon presiding over a criminalconspiracy in which he insulated himself from specific knowledge of numerousindividual criminal acts while being himself responsible for and authorizinggeneral policies that routinely resulted in lawbreaking and unconstitutionalconduct. Not to mention his role in the cover-up. It will remain for Britishauthorities and, presumably, disgusted and/or legally squeezed News Corp.executives and editors to reveal exactly where the rot came from at News of the World, and whether Rupert Murdoch enabled, approved,or opposed the obvious corruption that infected his underlings.

None of this is to deny Murdoch’s competitivegenius, his superior understanding of the modern media marketplace, or hisdead-on reading of popular culture. He has made occasionally dull newspapersfun to read and TV news broadcasts fun to watch, and few of us would deny thereare days when we love it. He’s been at his best when he’s come in from theoutside: starting Sky News, which shook up a complacent British broadcastingestablishment; contradicting conventional American media wisdom that a fourthTV network (Fox) could never get off the ground; reducing the power ofBritain’s printing trade unions that were exercising a stranglehold on the U.K.press.

But Murdoch and his global media empire have a lotto answer for. He has not merely encouraged the metastasis of cutthroat tabloidjournalism on both sides of the Atlantic. But perhaps just as troubling, authorities in Britain may respond to popular outrage at the scandal by imposing thekind of regulations that cannot help but undermine a truly free press.

The events of recent days are a watershed for Britain, for the United States, and for Rupert Murdoch. Tabloid journalism—and ourtabloid culture—may never be the same.

Bernstein’s most recent book is A Woman inCharge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Correction: This article initially described Newsof the World as a daily paper.

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Here is BreakForNews' take on "MurdochGate":

http://breakfornews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6499

Also, there is some possible evidence that NotW was involved (to some extent) in the 9/11 conspiracy/coverup:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/2011/07/11/phone-hacking-9-11-victims-may-have-had-mobiles-tapped-by-news-of-the-world-reporters-115875-23262694/

P.S - Regarding Simkin's first post, I too am shocked that JFK Jr. has gotten so little "play" regarding his death. It would have been great if professional researches would have dug into that more as it stinks terribly....I was shocked he doesn't have a topic or thread here as I find his death quite significant given the circumstances at that time and before.

Edited by B. A. Copeland
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