[trying a different video that hopefully will embed]
[This is one of my all-time favorite songs – play it while you read, because this is a little long.]
On September 9, 2009, Sky News (until just recently, almost a shoe-in to join Rupert Murdoch’s empire) reported that The Sun (owned by Rupert Murdoch), would no longer support Gordon Brown’s Labour Party:
The Sun newspaper paper has ditched the Labour Party and switched its allegiance to David Cameron’s Tories. Sky’s political editor Adam Boulton described the move as “a nail in the coffin of the Prime Minister”. But Gordon Brown told Boulton: “The people decide elections, not the newspapers and it’s people who make up their minds.”
Right, Gordon. We all know how that turned out.
If you lived in England then, you’d be forgiven for thinking things would never change; that Murdoch’s empire would continue to control your country’s politics.
We all know how that turned out. Former Tory Press Secretary: arrested. News of the World shut down. Former editor of News of the World and the Sun, current (until last Sunday) CEO of News Corp: arrested. Head of Scotland Yard: resigned.
If you live in the United States now, you’d be forgiven for thinking Fox News (owned by Murdoch) will never change; that Roger Ailes will continue to control our country’s politics. As Tom Dickinson wrote last May in Rolling Stone:
To watch even a day of Fox News – the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that’s held to the same standard of evidence as a late-October attack ad – is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican Party. As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer’s in 1984, shamelessly stoked racial fears to elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, and waged a secret campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco to derail health care reform in 1993. …
The network, at its core, is a giant soundstage created to mimic the look and feel of a news operation, cleverly camouflaging political propaganda as independent journalism.
But: a couple things. First of all, Ailes is not beloved in Murdoch Land.
Again, from Dickinson:
Many within Murdoch’s family have come to viscerally hate Ailes. Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi, has worked to soften her husband’s politics, and his son James has persuaded him to embrace the reality of global warming – even as Ailes has led the drumbeat of climate deniers at Fox News. Matthew Freud, Murdoch’s son-in-law and a top PR executive in Britain, recently told reporters, “I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’ horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.” [Ed note: well, we all know how that turned out]
“Rupert is surrounded by people who regularly, if not moment to moment, tell him how horrifying and dastardly Roger is,” says Wolff, the Murdoch biographer. “Wendi cannot stand Roger. Rupert’s children cannot stand Roger. So around Murdoch, Roger has no supporters, except for Roger himself.”
It will take more than pressure from Murdoch’s family, though to bring Ailes down, considering that some of his family are having their own difficulties right now. But then there’s this interesting little tidbit, from The Nation:
“Has Roger Ailes been keeping tabs on your phone calls?”
That’s how Portfolio.com began a post back in 2008, when a former Fox News executive charged that Ailes had outfitted a highly secured “brain room” in Fox’s New York headquarters for “counterintelligence” and may have used it to hack into private phone records.
Now, this is an old story, and Fox denied it in early 2008:
A Fox News spokeswoman says there’s no truth to the claim that the network has the capability to snoop through phone records.
We live in America, not England, and we can certainly be forgiven for thinking things will never change; that Murdoch’s empire, led by Roger Ailes, will continue to control our country’s politics.
But did you listen to the song?