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NEWS OF THE WORLD July 24, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Global Electoral Politics.

Now it seems that the phone hacking scandal may have been extended to The Sunday Mirror.

The extraordinary reflection about last weeks big news story from London involving the appearance before the House of Commons’ committee of Rupert Murdoch, was not the hacking and bragging of the pressed newsroom employees, but the corruption of the police causing the resignation of two senior Scotland Yard Officers.

Rupert Murdoch has been the most successful newspaper mogul of all times. Now he may be the last, as his company moves its profitable business into the 24 hour, global television news. He seems to have understood that newspapers are about political power, not simply profitability. He developed The Australian to this end, even though it was then and perhaps now was a lose making venture. He supported Whitlam, and then turned on him.

Seemingly, he was able to exercise extraordinary power in the UK, with the threat that anyone who crossed him, including prime ministers and leaders of the opposition would suffer, and often did suffer, the political consequences of his displeasure. His tabloids were powerful political instruments.

And yet in the United States, the managers of the oligopolist television states are supposedly deferential to wishes of the Washington public officials. The owners of the television networks apparently control the elected officials, or at least they run the elections establishing who is an acceptable candidate.

The control over the agenda is not just an issue for a public meeting, but for the democratic process, and representative democracy. The minions at News have overstepped the mark acting under pressure, and more importantly have been found out, despite the hush payments and influence peddling that apparently included the police.

Despite the self-proclaimed tribunes of the people, the deeper issue is that the people in their plurality must each speak for themselves – and that has never been easy, or for some practical.

The fourth estate is a historical artifact. I like the idea of the written word as a form of expression. For me it is the way to formulate ideas. As Tony Abbott points out it is really the only way that politicians can be held to account. Despite their biases, provide a wide and diverse range of information and reporting, I hope that quality newspapers survive.



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