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Rupert Murdoch is effectively a member of Blair's cabinet


Lance Price
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Rupert Murdoch has never been a man to let details get in the way of a good headline. This week he accepted the accolade of being the most influential Australian of all time, even though by his own admission there were others on the shortlist who'd done a lot more to make the world a better place.

Surely he should be stripped of his title without further ceremony - and not because of the inconvenient little fact that he's been an American citizen for the past 21 years. His editors insist that he never influences the way they produce their papers. The politicians maintain that, for their part, they act in the best interests of the country, not those of Rupert Murdoch.

He may carry some clout in the boardroom, but in the cabinet room? Mr Murdoch should throw up his hands, give back the award and admit that he has no more influence over government policy than you or me. Less, in fact. At least we have a vote in this country.

In my spin-doctoring days I might have tried an argument like that, although not without that tell-tale flicker of a smile. It's true that Rupert Murdoch doesn't leave a paper trail that could ever prove his influence over policy, but the trail of politicians beating their way to him and his papers tells a different story.

There is no small irony in the fact that Tony Blair flew halfway round the world to address Mr Murdoch and his News International executives in the first year of his leadership of the Labour party and that he's doing so again next month in what may prove to be his last.

I have never met Mr Murdoch, but at times when I worked at Downing Street he seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet. His voice was rarely heard (but, then, the same could have been said of many of the other 23) but his presence was always felt.

No big decision could ever be made inside No 10 without taking account of the likely reaction of three men - Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Rupert Murdoch. On all the really big decisions, anybody else could safely be ignored.

The rest of this article can be read here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/st...1810266,00.html

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Rupert Murdoch has never been a man to let details get in the way of a good headline. This week he accepted the accolade of being the most influential Australian of all time, even though by his own admission there were others on the shortlist who'd done a lot more to make the world a better place.

Surely he should be stripped of his title without further ceremony - and not because of the inconvenient little fact that he's been an American citizen for the past 21 years. His editors insist that he never influences the way they produce their papers. The politicians maintain that, for their part, they act in the best interests of the country, not those of Rupert Murdoch.

He may carry some clout in the boardroom, but in the cabinet room? Mr Murdoch should throw up his hands, give back the award and admit that he has no more influence over government policy than you or me. Less, in fact. At least we have a vote in this country.

In my spin-doctoring days I might have tried an argument like that, although not without that tell-tale flicker of a smile. It's true that Rupert Murdoch doesn't leave a paper trail that could ever prove his influence over policy, but the trail of politicians beating their way to him and his papers tells a different story.

There is no small irony in the fact that Tony Blair flew halfway round the world to address Mr Murdoch and his News International executives in the first year of his leadership of the Labour party and that he's doing so again next month in what may prove to be his last.

I have never met Mr Murdoch, but at times when I worked at Downing Street he seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet. His voice was rarely heard (but, then, the same could have been said of many of the other 23) but his presence was always felt.

No big decision could ever be made inside No 10 without taking account of the likely reaction of three men - Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Rupert Murdoch. On all the really big decisions, anybody else could safely be ignored.

It is said that reason that Tony Blair did some sort of deal with Rupert Murdoch in 1997 is that he feared he could not become prime minister without his media support. Reference is often made to Neil Kinnock’s defeat in 1992. Many people in the Labour Party seem to believe that it was Murdoch’s newspapers that destroyed Kinnock’s campaign.

There might be some truth in this but I suspect that such was the state of the Conservative Party in 1997, Labour could have won without Murdoch’s help. However, it is undoubtedly true that Murdoch’s media empire has given Blair and his government an easy ride over the last nine years.

The important question is what does Murdoch want from Blair? It is often stressed that Murdoch is keen for Blair not to be too pro-Europe. Personally, I think this is a smokescreen. The subject that interests Murdoch most of all is the government taxation policy. Understandably, he is very much against high top-rates of income tax. He also likes those loopholes that means he pays very little tax in this country.

Blair, like Thatcher and Major before him, have carried out Murdoch’s orders on taxation. They have been well-rewarded for their work. All three obtained multi-million royalty advances for their memoirs from HarperCollins, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch. It is believed that Blair has been promised £3.5 million for his memoirs. Of course, their royalties will never reach such figures. However, it is a great way to pay a bribe.

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The important question is what does Murdoch want from Blair? It is often stressed that Murdoch is keen for Blair not to be too pro-Europe. Personally, I think this is a smokescreen. The subject that interests Murdoch most of all is the government taxation policy. Understandably, he is very much against high top-rates of income tax. He also likes those loopholes that means he pays very little tax in this country.

I live in Australia, where Rupert Murdoch has been an ex-officio member of every national cabinet in recent memory.

In Oz, US citizen Murdoch controls aprroximately 80% of the national daily readership and has major satellite TV interests. Let's just say it helps keep Australian politics Murdoch-friendly. By my count, Murdoch hasn't lost a Federal election since the early 70s at least. Down under, it isn't even necessary to rig the vote, USA-style. Truly. this is the land of sheep.

John, while I agree that economic policy is a key issue for Murdoch, I believe it's also evident that one of his key 'requirements' is slavish support for Israel.

In the USA, Murdoch has been widely portrayed as a mass media 'outsider' - an Australian gentile who supports traditional conservative politics. This stretches the truth.

Murdoch is a committed Zionist and manages his empire accordngly.

His newspapers, electronic media and approved talking heads go after royalty, or churches of any denomination, with gay abandon. They are happy to expose 'corporate crimes' (not their own, of course!) They revel in terror and war.

But in Murdoch's media, middle eastern politics - and discussion of Jewish affairs and history - is presented through the distorted prism of Zionist analysis. The apartheid nature of Israeli society - and Israel's international network of supporters who play fast and loose with the laws of lands they are in - is skillfully concealed from view. (I regret the situation is not much better in the BBC these days).

Murdoch staff know the rules. If they forget or overlook them, they are expelled from the empire.

Murdoch-approved politicians also know the rules. The handful who are sufficiently principled to take even a modest stand against Zionist interests are subjected to remorseless attack, typically followed by their removal. The political demise of the late Robin Cook is one recent instance, but there are many - and they stretch back a long way into the past, pre-dating Murdoch and his global web of evil.

Blair helped deliver the Iraq War – and British Government complicity in the bogus ‘War on Terror’ - to Murdoch and the interests that stand behind him. That's more important to them than extra perks for the UK super-rich.

It may well be that the reason Blair lingers on, so long after his use-by date, is that he's deemed more reliable in the event of possible forthcoming Zionist-inspired atrocities such as foreshadowed US/Israeli attacks on Iran and Syria.

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In the USA, Murdoch has been widely portrayed as a mass media 'outsider' - an Australian gentile who supports traditional conservative politics. This stretches the truth.

Murdoch is a committed Zionist and manages his empire accordngly.

His newspapers, electronic media and approved talking heads go after royalty, or churches of any denomination, with gay abandon. They are happy to expose 'corporate crimes' (not their own, of course!) They revel in terror and war.

But in Murdoch's media, middle eastern politics - and discussion of Jewish affairs and history - is presented through the distorted prism of Zionist analysis. The apartheid nature of Israeli society - and Israel's international network of supporters who play fast and loose with the laws of lands they are in - is skillfully concealed from view. (I regret the situation is not much better in the BBC these days).

Is it the case that Murdoch is “a committed Zionist and manages his empire accordingly”? If so, what is his motivation?

It is true he forced every one of his 179 newspapers to support the invasion of Iraq. This did coincide with the foreign policy of Israel. Murdoch’s explanation was that he believed the invasion would result in lower oil prices and an increase in share prices. I suspect Murdoch genuinely believed that and like Bush’s advisors, he got it completely wrong.

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For the last 17 months Tony Blair has been refusing to disclose the dates of his large number of private meetings with Rupert Murdoch. Blair’s spokesman has claimed that “disclosure would undermine the prime minister’s ability to hold free and frank discussions in the future”. This does not make sense as the requests by Lord Avebury only concern the dates of the meetings, not what was said. Blair is obviously concerned about the large number of meetings he has had with Murdoch. The information commissioner has rejected Blair’s excuses and ordered him to reveal the dates under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Is it the case that Murdoch is “a committed Zionist and manages his empire accordingly”? If so, what is his motivation?

It is true he forced every one of his 179 newspapers to support the invasion of Iraq. This did coincide with the foreign policy of Israel. Murdoch’s explanation was that he believed the invasion would result in lower oil prices and an increase in share prices. I suspect Murdoch genuinely believed that and like Bush’s advisors, he got it completely wrong.

Ideological commitment to a cause constitutes a motivation in its own right, or so I would have thought.

Of course, sharing a commitment to Zionism with other media magnates would scarcely have harmed (and may well have benefitted) Murdoch's business interests in the west in recent decades - although it may have restricted his empire's advance in the Arab world :)

Was Murdoch's 'intelligence' on the likely consequences of invading Iraq so bad that he actually believed a middle eastern war would deliver lower gasoline prices? Personally, I doubt it. But in the absence of Murdoch fessing up, it may be hard to prove either way.

He certainly helped promote the notion widely. Many decent people on the left bought the story and parroted the ineffectual and misleading 'No War for Oil' slogan in the run up to the Iraq War.

Is Murdoch commited to Zionism?

He seems to think so - and while he doesn't trumpet the fact, has said so on more than one occasion in suitable company. See THIS reference for example:

...he said, his global media company, from the beginning, “has been supportive of the Jewish national cause.”

His faith in the great potential of Israel, Murdoch said, is evidenced by NDS, his digital television technology company based in Jerusalem, which has grown from 20 to 600 employees in the last ten years.

“I have always believed in the future of Israel and the goals of the international Jewish community,” he said.

I can't seem to find parallels in Murdoch's cited remarks regarding 'the international Moslem community' or the 'future of Palestine'. Like Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction', I suspect they don't exist.

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Ideological commitment to a cause constitutes a motivation in its own right, or so I would have thought.

Of course, sharing a commitment to Zionism with other media magnates would scarcely have harmed (and may well have benefitted) Murdoch's business interests in the west in recent decades - although it may have restricted his empire's advance in the Arab world :)

I am not convinced that Rupert Murdoch does anything for purely ideological reasons. No doubt he makes more money by supporting Israel over the Arab world.

In the 1980s Murdoch appeared to be a strong opponent of communism. However, this changed when he realized there was a lot of money to be made from Communist China. His media operation in Asia is now very reluctant to complain about China’s appalling civil rights record. In fact, he goes along with attempts by the Chinese government to suppress dissent.

Murdoch is no more a Communist than he is a Zionist. He is a capitalist who does not understand the meaning of morality.

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Ideological commitment to a cause constitutes a motivation in its own right, or so I would have thought.

Of course, sharing a commitment to Zionism with other media magnates would scarcely have harmed (and may well have benefitted) Murdoch's business interests in the west in recent decades - although it may have restricted his empire's advance in the Arab world :D

I am not convinced that Rupert Murdoch does anything for purely ideological reasons. No doubt he makes more money by supporting Israel over the Arab world.

In the 1980s Murdoch appeared to be a strong opponent of communism. However, this changed when he realized there was a lot of money to be made from Communist China. His media operation in Asia is now very reluctant to complain about China’s appalling civil rights record. In fact, he goes along with attempts by the Chinese government to suppress dissent.

Murdoch is no more a Communist than he is a Zionist. He is a capitalist who does not understand the meaning of morality.

(With apologies to Lance Price, who started this topic but may not welcome the direction discussion has taken)

John, there may be something to be gained speculating about the psychological motivations of Rupert Murdoch.

My main interest, however, is in the impact of his actions, largely there for all to see.

Whether Murdoch is in reality cynical about Zionism and pokes fun at Zionist verities in private - or takes it all so seriously that he indulges in clandestine worship of the six-pointed star - is not the main issue. From a practical perspective, the reality is that mass media under his control are extremely pro-Israel. That’s socially and politically significant.

You argue that Murdoch follows the Zionist line only because he perceives that it's good for his business. Perhaps so - but the consequence is the same. He shows a strong bias towards Israel and its interests - and contributes actively to Zionist myth-making essential to the bogus 'War on Terror', such as helping to forge the absurd official story about 9-11 and defending it through thick and thin.

Suppose I had a media empire that routinely presented biased and highly favourable coverage of news, current affairs and history pertaining to Roman Catholics. Suppose I routinely praised the activities of Catholics and denigrated their perceived opponents. Suppose I helped gloss over murderous hoaxes perpetrated by Catholics, in order to frame the perceived enemies of Catholics and rationize 'Just Wars' against them? (For those who, despite the evidence, don’t yet believe Israeli ‘intelligence’ was involved in the murder of JFK or 9-11, I submit the undisputed Lavon Affair as Exhibit One – a topic you’ll never find covered by Murdoch media!)

Would you, John, be at pains to argue that I’m not probably not really a Catholic, nor even really a Catholic sympathizer - but was merely following my commerical interests?

OK. In a world where extreme pro-Catholicism is of clear commercial advantage, you’d have a point. In a world – such as ours – where it is not, your point would be silly.

If you are right – and Murdoch has no ideological commitment to Zionism whatsoever but is merely pursing commercial gain – then focusing on the intentions of an individual is wasting effort on the trivial. We need instead to inquire why pro-Zionist bias is a pre-requisite for success as a western media baron in our time?

Is there really such deep, systemic bias in our media ‘system’? If so, what are the consequences of such bias? Is it appropriate? If not, how can it be remedied?

I agree that these are more pertinent and important questions than ‘is Rupert a Zionist true-believer?’

The reluctance of intelligent, decent people to call a spade a spade when it comes to Zionist power and other related intellectual ‘no-go areas’ says a great deal about the systematic, deep-level bias that has evolved in our culture in favor of this fairly recent, sectarian and highly divisive movement.

To be fair, Murdoch did not invent this bias - but he does follow it without deviation and helps entrench it. I guess it HAS been good for his business. Would his empire have prospered in the USA if he'd been pro-Palestinian - or genuinely even-handed regarding Zionist interests? That is hard to imagine!

When discussing Zionism in the ‘western world’, instead of an ideological "level playing field" we have a steep slope with a well-provisioned fortified turret at the top and a deep, unpleasant ditch at the bottom.

This is not acceptable to those of us who believe in the essential equality of humankind and in peaceful co-existence based on respect for universal rights - key propositions rejected by the Zionist movement in practice.

This morning, I turned on the radio and listened to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news. Then I switched on my TV and tuned to the BBC World Service. (I can't stomach Fox or CNN before breakfast). Both these 'reliable', ‘public’ media services mentioned the latest Israeli assault on Gaza. Neither felt able to report the Israeli re-invasion without justificatory commentary - and proffered the improbable 'explanation' that Israel’s continuing assault is intended to save a single captured Israeli soldier. (This ‘assault’, of unlimited duration, has already resulted in the death of scores of Palestinians, the maiming of many more, the mass arrest of Palestinian Parliamentarians and the willful destruction of key elements of Gaza’s life-preserving infrastructure).

By reporting events in Palestine in such a manner, both of these public broadcasters serve, in effect, as functionaries of the international Zionist PR machine.

It's true that on relatively rare occasions the (Australian) ABC, the BBC - and even elements of the Murdoch media, for that matter - allow dissenting voices, within well-defined but not explicit limits. It is true that some individual journalists within these organisations sporadically dissent - up to a point - from the prevailing pro-Zionist orthodoxy.

But these cases are like occasional tadpoles swimming upstream against a strong current. Where Zionism is concerned, the overall flow of discourse is overwhelmingly in one ideological direction. That's why, I suspect, it simply goes unnoticed by most mass media consumers. The words of Ariel Sharon ring true, when he claimed that Zionism proved, in the long run, to be the only successful 20th century revolutionary movement.

In my opinion, this ubiquitous bias gives us pause to reflect once again on McLuhan's book title: The Media IS the Massage.

Is Murdoch really a passionate Zionist? Who really cares? Perhaps Jesus put it best: “By their fruits ye shall know them”

Murdoch’s ‘adaptation’ to Chinese censorship requirements is clearly different in kind. This was a case of Murdoch toadying to an authoritarian and rather powerful Government to gain substantial share in a vast new market. The fact that the tussle between News Ltd and China Inc. became a widely reported media event demonstrated its relative innocence. In that case, what we saw is what we got. The unstoppable force met the immoveable object and blinked – at least for the time being. Anyhow, it helped Murdoch spin the popular myth that IN GENERAL he has a strong, clear commitment to free speech and an open, uncensored flow of information.

By contrast, all mainstream media in the west avoid the topic of Murdoch’s Zionist bias. Doubtless, it is widely deemed an improper subject for public discussion.

That alone signifies the extent of ideological bias in favour of the Zionist cause.

The aggregate efforts of many individuals such as Murdoch have woven this bias into our culture to such an extent that it distorts the very fabric of our public discourse.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In THIS NEW TOPIC John Simkin says: "Apparently, Blair is after becoming a member of the News Corp board after he retires."

I suspect this is closer to the truth than "Rupert Murdoch is effectively a member of Blair's cabinet".

The Observer reported yesterday that "Cabinet in open revolt over Blair's Israel policy".

The timing of the revolt is awkward for Blair, forcing him to choose whom to upset: his colleagues back home or his two main hosts on the five-day trip to the US. President Bush and Rupert Murdoch both back the Israeli military action. The Prime Minister is due to make a major speech in California today at a conference hosted by Murdoch. He is expected to argue that his Washington talks with Bush were geared towards an 'urgent cessation of hostilities'.

It doesn't seem being a mere member of Mr Blair's cabinet would carry sufficient weight for Mr Murdoch.

I imagine he prefers serious converations with Tony in private, on his turf.

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It doesn't seem being a mere member of Mr Blair's cabinet would carry sufficient weight for Mr Murdoch.

I imagine he prefers serious converations with Tony in private, on his turf.

Tony Blair gave a speech to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp executives yesterday. It gave Blair the opportunity to outline his political philosophy. He argued that the political debate in Europe and the US is “no longer between socialists and capitalists but instead between the globalisers and the advocates of protectionism, isolationism and nativism”. He went on to add that “the true divisions opening up across the world were not between left and right, but between advocates of modern, open societies and closed, traditional ones.” This he argued, was somehow linked to the fight to defeat terrorism.

Apparently, Blair is after becoming a member of the News Corp board after he retires. I suppose Murdoch would have been impressed with this attempt to cover-up the real conflict that takes place within and between societies. As Aristotle pointed out a long time ago: “When quarrels and complaints arise, it is when people who are equal have not got equal shares.” This fight for equality will continue despite what Blair might say. Blair is not willing to accept this reality. As Upton Sinclair once said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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