Category Archives: Murdoch

Propaganda Has Triumphed over Journalism, and the Consequences Are Enormous – We need a press that teaches the young to be agents of people, not power

I have always had time for John Pilger. An Australian crusading journalist  of the old school here is in a speech he gave a couple of days ago, railing against the changes in his profession. He has never been scared to take on a story head on – his pieces on Cambodia, East Timor and Gough Whitlam and so many more over the years have been landmarks of good journalism. That is not to says I always agree with him – here I think he underestimates the impact of Murdoch and probably overstates the US involvement with Fascists in the Ukraine. Its a great and important read for all that!

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By John Pilger December 5, 2014

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and theWashington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

This power to create a new “reality” has been building for a long time. Forty-five years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.”

I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only “culture” and introspection could change the world.

Within a few years, driven by the forces of profit, the cult of “me-ism” had all but overwhelmed our sense of acting together, our sense of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political, and the media was the message.

In the wake of the cold war, the fabrication of new “threats” completed the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a vehement opposition.

Continue reading Propaganda Has Triumphed over Journalism, and the Consequences Are Enormous – We need a press that teaches the young to be agents of people, not power

The S*n’s reporters called readers ‘plebs’, court told

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Use of the word is damaging to the newspaper, which is currently fighting the ‘Plebgate’ libel action by IAN BURRELL Tuesday 18 November 2014

Reporters at The Sun referred to their readers as “plebs”, a court has heard.

The Old Bailey trial of senior reporter Nick Parker, who denies charges of paying public officials, was given details of internal emails relating to a Sun story concerning the arrest of Chelsea footballer John Terry’s mother for shoplifting in 2009.

In seeking to establish the credibility of PC Alan Tierney, who had contacted the newspaper after being involved in the case, Mr Parker wrote to his Sun colleague John Sturgis asking for details of the car driven by Susan Terry’s accomplice Susan Poole, the footballer’s mother-in-law.

The email read: “great stuff – could u ask him if he knows the reg of Poole’s silver Beetle or could he tell us their addresses (stuff a pleb who’s read the papers would never know) – that will help corroborate. Will he speak to me in confidence? Does he want a bung?” Michael Parroy QC described the email as “very revealing” and said it showed that Parker was prepared to pay a police officer for information. “Mr Parker’s main interest is to confirm the provenance of Tierney and make sure the emails are not from one of The Sun readers, or in his word ‘plebs’,” he said.

The use of the word is damaging to the newspaper, which is currently fighting the “Plebgate” libel action against Tory MP Andrew Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell is suing publishers News Group Newspapers over an article in The Sun which alleged that he told police officers at Downing Street: “Best you learn your f***ing place… you don’t run this f***ing Government, you’re f***ing plebs.”

Original Article

Murdoch’s Monkey – Roger Ailes Chairman of Fox News

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Roger Ailes is the man who set up and still runs Fox News network for Rupert Murdoch.  He’s a famously harsh political operator with acknowledged skills in capturing the popular mood.  When he first set up Fox news and tried to pretend it was not a shamelessly manipulative  political vehicle for the right, he built the network to a position where it challenged more established competitors for no 1. Now 10 years after his networks was outed as  the ultimate tool of the ultimate political operator it is often seen as as irrelevant to the mainstream. However its devoted core audience of older white Republican voters continue to lap up the appalling right wing bilge – seemingly with little realisation of the manipulation behind it and many of the ‘TV generation’ seem so obsessed as to to base their world view on it.

This article is from a relatively supportive review of an official biography of him. Many of the links below are less generous – some indicate the darker depths he is prepared to plunge to and some the frothing  incandescent rage he manages to produce in liberal Americans. 

The Loudest Voice In The Room: Gabriel Sherman’s take on Fox News’ Roger Ailes reclaims the notion of ‘fair and balanced’

REVIEWED BY JOHN SEMLEY Published Friday, Jan. 24 2014, 3:23 PM EST

Title The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided a Country

It was 8:49 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. Sharon Fain, Fox News’s Atlanta bureau chief, was on an editorial conference call when she saw something on a monitor near her desk. “Oh my God,” she uttered, alerting her senior producers to the story of the decade, “turn on CNN.”

It would be four full minutes – ages in the hurried tempo 24-hour news cycle – before Fox News made mention of American Airlines Flight 11 fateful crash through the World Trade Center’s north tower. What traction the network lost breaking the story, they reclaimed defining it. 9/11 was a make-or-break moment for Fox News. And for its founding chief executive officer, Roger Ailes.

They acted fast.

As Gabriel Sherman puts it in his new book about Ailes, on Fox in the hours after the 9/11 attacks, “the defining tenets of the Bush years were coming quickly into relief: the with-us-or-against us defiance; the battering of political opponents as unpatriotic and unmistakable undercurrent of Christian messianism.” Within 30 seconds of another plane striking the south tower, anchor Jon Scott had named Osama bin Laden as public enemy number one. Later that same day, Ailes had instituted “the crawl,” that steady stream of bullet point headlines that rolls across the bottom of the screen.

The crawl is one of those things now so essential to cable news that, until reading about it in Sherman’s book, would never have occurred to me needed to be invented. The crawl gives a sense of news happening, of narrative unfolding, literally revealing itself as it flows from right to left. It gives cable news networks the license to state that they’re ostensibly reporting the news in a conventional, meaningful sense in the guise of “un-biased” bullet points. As it ticks by, it keeps the pulse of cable news’ cynicism.

Remarkably, The Loudest Voice In The Room doesn’t resort to this same level of cynicism. It’s not the nastiest book about Ailes – that’d be 2012’s The Fox Effect, by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt of media watchdog Media Matters. But Sherman’s book distinguishes itself in its diligent characterization of Ailes as something more than just some political P.T. Barnum.

Continue reading Murdoch’s Monkey – Roger Ailes Chairman of Fox News

The Ebola Panic Mysteriously Disappeared Last Tuesday

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RIP, “the Ebola threat” – How a toxic narrative served its political purpose. There are no cases of Ebola in the U.S., and panic seems to have subsided. It’s almost like an election just ended! by JIM NEWELL WEDNESDAY, NOV 12, 2014 08:10 PM +0000

The Ebola was supposed to have killed us all by now. Or at least a couple hundred million of us, give or take. Jaundiced, hemorrhagic carcasses were supposed to be lining the streets, while the few survivors retreated to isolated bunkers in the Badlands or the Rocky Mountains to weather the storm and procreate for the eventual reconstruction of civil society.

If the level of attention and panic displayed in the media and in politics toward “the Ebola threat” were proportional to the reality on the ground, this is what America on Nov. 11, 2014, should have looked like: a nightmarish hellscape of near-extinction, somewhat comical in its rapid erasure of human progress. Of all the possibilities, it was the Ebola that did us in. Who’da thunk it? You just have to laugh.

As it stands, though, there are currently zero (0) cases of Ebola in the United States. Craig Spencer, the New York doctor who was isolated after testing positive for the Ebola hemorrhagic virus in late October, is now free of the virus. He has been released from the hospital and is being fêted. Look at him, hugging that big softie lug of a mayor they have in New York City. “It is a good feeling to hug a hero,” the mayor said. Everyone’s having a great time.

When news came out last night about Spencer’s release, it was seemingly the first big news story about Ebola in the United States in the past week — quite a change from even two weeks ago, and for weeks before that, when Ebola was the top news story in the United States. It was pure frenzy. After Spencer tested positive for Ebola, we had governors throwing healthy women in parking lot tents in Newark. That nurse, who bravely won her freedom, is apparently going to move from her home in Maine to get away from all the attention and start over. She needn’t bother. The panic is over.

Continue reading The Ebola Panic Mysteriously Disappeared Last Tuesday

Political Bias in the Uk Newspaper market 2014

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The newspaper market in the UK is absolutely dominated by seven news groups

The largest by far is the Murdoch controlled News UK which controls well over a third of the newspaper market and includes the S*n, which is inexplicably still the most widely read “newspaper” in the country, despite the lies they published about the Hillsborough disaster, phone hacking at their now defunct sister paper the News of the World,  and their unyielding support for Margaret Thatcher, Both the Times and the Financial Times are part of this group and also promote the group’s owners right wing agenda.

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The next largest is the Daily M*** Group which has nearly 20% of the market share (plus the most visited “news” website in the UK). The Daily M*** is owned by the tax-dodger Jonathan Harmsworth and is famed for its long history of supporting a Far Right ideology and printing mostly disgusting bilge.

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The third largest newspaper group is the Mirror group, which puts its allegiance behind the New Labour party

Mirror front 6 June

The fourth largest is the Northern & Shell Group which is run by the pornographer Richard Desmond, who also owns Channel 5. The largest circulation paper Desmond owns is the Daily Express, which runs the Daily Mail close for the title of most extreme right-wing paper in the UK.

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The other three are minnows in comparison. The Telegraph (owned by the reclusive Barclay brothers) preaches the same right wing politics as Murdoch, Harmsworth and Desmond. It is notable for its core following of delusional right-wing ranters (check the comments section beneath virtually any Telegraph article for all the evidence you need). It deserves some journalistic credit for its campaign to expose abuses of MP’s expenses.

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The Guardian used to be a left-wing newspaper, but after 13 years of apologising for New Labour,  they transferred their allegiance to the Liberal Democrats in the last election. The saving grace for the Guardian is the Comment is Free section which occasionally publishes articles that are explicitly critical of the political orthodoxy. They were also the paper that published Edward Snowdon’s revelations on quite how much domestic phone tapping the US govt was actually doing.

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The smallest of the seven is the Independent, which is controlled by the Russian oligarch Alexander Lebidev and his son Evgeny. It is by far the youngest of the seven having been founded in 1986. The Independent has a history of neutrality at general elections (instead of telling their readership how to vote as the other six do). The Independent has the least right wing editorial line of the big seven (for example: Owen Jones’ “Agenda for Hope” extols traditional social democratic values) but they have a tiny market share of less than 3%.

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Original Article

Newspaper support in UK general elections since 1945

The Sun Complaining The Metropolitan Police Snooped On Its Reporters Is Rather Ironic

The Sun has been left red-faced after calling for the abolition of the Human Rights Act – only to have to rely on it just days later to protect its journalists.

The tabloid has launched legal action against the Metropolitan Police after officers seized the phone records of political editor Tom Newton Dunn to identify his anonymous police source who tipped him off about the Plebgate scandal.

Britain’s biggest selling daily will take the force to the Investigative Powers Tribunal to challenge the seizure and will use the Human Rights Act (HRA) to argue its case.

This is at odds with the position the paper took last week, when it rapturously applauded David Cameron, who said a Tory majority government would ditch the act, which was described by the paper “hated” and is enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and used in UK courts.

the sun cameronThe Sun’s headline last week, in which it referred to the HRA as ‘hated’

A spokesman for the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper confirmed to The Huffington Post UK that The Sun would use the HRA in its case before the Investigative Powers Tribunal. The appeals body monitors the use of the Regulatory Investigative Powers Act (Ripa) which police used to seize the records.

He said: “The Sun is using the Human Rights Act in our submission to the Investigative Powers Tribunal as it is the primary source on which to base our petition under the law as it is now.

“However, it is notable that the use of covert powers to access The Sun’s phone records occurred despite the existence of the HRA, and we therefore continue to support its replacement with a British Bill of Rights that would enshrine proper protections for journalistic sources.”

The paper did not state which part of the HRA it would use, though it would likely be Article Eight, which protects the right to privacy.

Ironically, The Sun’s stories about the abolition of the HRA were written by Mr Newton Dunn, whose phone records were seized by the Met.

One described the act as “deeply discredited” and said The Tories’ plans would “end decades of human rights laws abuse once and for all”.

the sun human rightsThe Sun ran this graphic showing its support for putting the HRA in ‘the dustbin of history’

After the paper reported it was taking the legal action, many on Twitter noticed the irony of opposing the HRA one week and using it defend itself the next.

Barrister Harriet Johnson tweeted: “The Sun complains about its calls being tapped by police; simultaneously supports end to #HumanRights Act #Facepalm”.

Media law analyst David Banks told HuffPost UK that the Sun’s claim that the HRA’s failure to prevent the seizure of phone records demonstrated the need to abolish it “defied logic”.

“The HRA is a law that can be broken like any other, and the cops might have broken it here,” he said.

Charon QC, the legal blogger who writes under psuedonym, tweeted: “One can only marvel at The Sun… I am marvelling away!”

Ms Johnson, who practices with Doughty Street chambers, wrote that binning the HRA could have consequences for everyone.

“Repealing the Human Rights Act is being sold as a common sense thing to do, as if we were giving up something we never used anyway,” she wrote after the Tories made their announcement.

“The Conservative Party are not saying to white, middle-class, educated voters: ‘we want to tap your phones’.

“They have couched their policy in terms designed to make the country think this only applies to Other People, to those who are damaging ‘society as a whole’.

“But repealing the Human Rights Act, and withdrawing from the (European Human Rights) Convention, doesn’t happen one right at a time, or on a person-by-person basis. If it happens, it happens to us all.”

Speaking about The Sun’s Ripa case, she told HuffPost UK: “It is interesting to note their argument that because this alleged breach has happened while the HRA was in force, it somehow supports the argument for repealing it – rather than the argument for keeping it.

“That’s like having your wallet stolen and saying ‘criminal laws are clearly useless, let’s repeal them…’.

“Some might argue the answer isn’t to repeal the law, it’s to enforce it – as The Sun is doing by relying on HRA as part of their complaint against the police.”

Original Article

George Clooney Directing Film About Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal

George Clooneyby Kara Brown

George Clooney will direct a film about the News International phone hacking scandal. The script will be an adaptation of Nick Davies’ book Hack Attack: The Inside Story of How the Truth Caught Up With Rupert Murdoch.

The scandal shut down News of the World in 2011 after 168 years in print. It also brought us that display of straight up ride or die realness from Wendi Deng Murdoch when she leapt over several people to block her husband from a pie attack.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that George Clooney, the son of a journalist, kind of has a thing for telling the stories of journalists and real life events.

“This has all the elements — lying, corruption, blackmail — at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London,” said Clooney in a statement. “And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”

I would like to preemptively give the Oscar to the person in charge of crafting all wigs for the actor tasked with playing Rebekah Brooks and I would also like to stress the importance including the Wendi Deng Murdoch pie-deflection onscreen.

Original Article

A book review that probably wouldnt be published in a British Newspaper describes the state of British Media in the wake of the Phone hacking scandal

Rebekah Brooks – How the F*** did she not know….