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How will the Emperor strike back?

If Rupert Murdoch is unfit to lead his British journal empire, doesn’t that suggest that he is unfit to lead his American news empire as well?  From the NYTimes article on the subject:

The report said that Mr. Murdoch exhibited “willful blindness” toward wrongdoing at his organization and saidNews Corporation, his conglomerate based in New York, had made “huge failings of corporate governance.” The consequences of the panel’s findings were not immediately clear.

The committee’s report said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications.”

“This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organization and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International,” its British newspaper subsidiary.

“We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

In a statement from its New York headquarters, News Corporation said it was “carefully reviewing the select committee’s report and will respond shortly.” It also said the company “fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World” — the now-shuttered Sunday tabloid at the heart of the scandal — “and apologizes to everyone whose privacy was invaded.”

One dissenting Conservative, Philip Davies, told reporters: “To me, very clearly, Rupert Murdoch is a fit and proper person to run a major company.”

In a statement after the report was published, Ofcom, the British media regulator, said it had a legal duty “to be satisfied that any person holding a broadcasting license is, and remains, fit and proper to do so. Ofcom is continuing to assess the evidence — including the new and emerging evidence — that may assist it in discharging these duties.”

In its report, the committee itself did not use the full term “fit and proper” in its condemnation of Mr. Murdoch.

Oh, those silly Brits, splitting hairs and taking care to not quite meet the legal definition of criminal incompetence.  They just can’t come right out and say the Rupert Murdoch needs to be stripped of his broadcast and “journalism” licenses- yet.  Maybe they’re all busily calling their wives and mistresses and boyfriends with “a bit of bad news” before they bring the hammer down on Murdoch.  It can’t come a minute too soon.  If they bring the bloody bastard down, I say we kiss and make up and offer Britain a US statehood.  Rupert Murdoch has been a bigger threat to the world than Osama bin Laden ever was.

Now, if we could only get the FCC to investigate Pat Robertson…


18 Responses

  1. “…Rupert Murdoch has been a bigger threat to the world than Osama bin Laden ever was.

    Now, if we could only get the FCC to investigate Pat Robertson…”


  2. “We conclude, therefore, that Zimmerman is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major neighborhood security watch.”

    Florida Judicial Review (were we too harsh?)

  3. Murdoch and education privatisation (British spelling)

    Dear Riverdaughter,

    You, as a proponent of charter schools, should be aware of this:

    In searching the Internet I’m finding tantalizing tidbits that point to (among other things) a unity of purpose between our Democratic president and the man who owns the network Democrats cite for 
    “persistent Republican partisan bias.”

    Now former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is busy making big bucks at News Corp., but he’s apparently not too busy for some extra-curricular activities: Namely, serving as chairman of the board of the advocacy group Education Reform Now. 

    Education Reform Now* — which pushed hard for raising the state cap on charter schools as part of last year’s fight for federal Race To The Top school funding…

    The British education secretary meets Rupert Murdoch frequently and is an enthusiastic backer of the ideas of Joel Klein*, the head of Murdoch’s new education division. Within a week of his promotion in 2010, the minister was at dinner with Murdoch, according to officially released details of meetings.

    Confidential briefing documents prepared for MPs by one of the main teaching unions reveal concerns that Gove is on a mission to turn hundreds of “underperforming” schools into academies [Charter Schools], run by external sponsors “regardless of the wishes of the school community”. The document adds: “The figure could run into thousands of schools if the criteria outlined by the government for forced conversion are carried through in all cases.” It says that it sees “forced academy conversions to be all of a piece with the government’s efforts to dismantle state comprehensive education, in particular maintained local authority schools”.

    A leader of a teaching union told the Observer that Gove was clearly preparing the way to “marketise” state education: “It is obvious. The agenda is to remove all schools from local authority control, bring in the market and allow the private sector to make a profit. It is the great untold story of what Gove is up to.”

    Before the last election he said he had no intention of allowing private companies involved in state education to make profits. Now he says he has no ideological problem with their doing so. 

    Ever since he started in the job Gove has set a scorching pace, removing obstacles in his way with a ruthless determination. In the summer of 2010 he faced criticism from both Labour and Tory MPs for using parliamentary procedures normally reserved for emergency counter-terror laws to rush through legislation to create more academy schools. 

    The powers he has given himself include rules allowing him to acquire land from local authorities and private companies to help him increase the number of academies… There are 1,529 academies in England now, compared with 200 in May 2010.

    *A Surprising Alliance
    Though Mr. Klein did not see eye to eye with Mr. Murdoch on many political issues, they agreed on a core set of education principles: that charter schools needed to expand; poor instructors should be weeded out; and the power of the teachers union must be curtailed.

    Now former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is busy making big bucks at News Corp., but he’s apparently not too busy for some extra-curricular activities: Namely, serving as chairman of the board of the advocacy group Education Reform Now. 

    Education Reform Now* — which pushed hard for raising the state cap on charter schools as part of last year’s fight for federal Race To The Top school funding — also plans to “focus its efforts in 2011 on expanding successful school models, like high-performing public charter schools, encouraging states anddistricts to develop and adopt value-added teacher evaluations, and ensuring that proven reform programs remain funded at the federal, state and district levels.”


    • I think I must clarify: I am a proponent of *public* charter schools. I think there is room in the American educational system for experimentation and for educators to collect and analyse data from those charter schools to be incorporated into the general education community. I am not in favor of private, for profit charter schools. I am not in favor of non-union teachers teaching at charter schools. I am in favor of the unions to look on public charter schools as an opportunity to professionalize their craft.

      • Thanks for clarifying your position on charter schools. The original stated aim of charters was much the same as you describe: a laboratory where new ideas could be tried and then if successful, those ideas would bebrought into other public schools. The whole idea has (surprise) been hijacked by venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, outstanding citizens like the Waltons, Gates, Broad, and now Murdoch. So as a union educator, it’s tough for me to see at this point, how to separate this charterization from the demise of my profession. Since Reagan’s bogus fear mongering using the flawed report “a Nation at Risk,” the education “crisis” has been a sales tool for de unionizing and privatization. Maybe in your community a nuanced dialog about what “kind” of charter school advances universal public education and recognizes the value of organized labor is possible, but I don’t think such a place exists. Today charters are integrat to the lethal coctail of high-stakes testing > branding “failing schools” > firing teachers with bad scores > offering Corporate remediation: eg:

        “Pearson, one of the giants of the for-profit industry that looms over public education, produces just about every product a student, teacher or school administrator might need. From textbooks to data management, professional development programs to testing systems, Pearson has it all—and all of it has a price. For statewide testing in Texas alone, the company holds a five-year contract worth nearly $500 million to create and administer exams. If students should fail those tests, Pearson offers a series of remedial-learning products to help them pass. Meanwhile, kids are likely to use textbooks from Pearson-owned publishing houses like Prentice Hall and Pearson Longman. Students who want to take virtual classes may well find themselves in a course subcontracted to Pearson. And if the student drops out, Pearson partners with the American Council on Education to offer the GED exam for a profit.

        The emphasis on testing opened the door to MORE FOR-PROFIT Companies. In addition to the BIG TESTING CONTRACTS, No Child Left Behind requires schools that fail to meet requirements… offer free tutoring. [More for-profit] Companies soon rushed in to fill the need. By 2008 tutoring for standardized tests amounted to a $4 BILLION industry [racket]. AND Charter schools can subcontract their entire operations to for-profit companies.”
        -from the Texas Observer

  4. You’ve missed the point, RD. So did I until “The Fox Effect” came my way.

    Murdoch owns Fox, technically. But there are a number of sources testifying that he doesn’t LIKE Fox. He may be a control freak, but he doesn’t control what Roger Ailes is doing.

    Murdoch is an awful person, and Fox is an awful network. It is natural for us to presume that the King of Awfulness is in charge of the Awful Kingdom.

    But something else is going on here. I’m still not sure what that “something else” is.

    If what I am saying here seems a little weird — all I can do is beg you to read that book, and maybe you’ll start to see it too.

    The effort to remove the Murdochs from the Murdoch empire means that the people who are REALLY in charge have decided to brush away the front men, now that they are proving inconvenient. (This kind of thing has happened before. Howard Hughes comes to mind.)

    Didn’t it strike you as odd that Murdoch supported Obama even as the Fox crew was hitting him with everything they had? You and I don’t like Obama. That antipathy blinded me, and may still blind you, to what is going on at Fox.

    Again, read the book. It says distinctly that Murdoch and those around him not only dislike the Fox network but actually FEAR it. That’s the word they use: Fear.

    We need to get our heads around the implications of that word. We need to come up with a whole new theory as to what the Fox Network really IS. It ain’t Murdoch. Something bigger than Murdoch created that thing, and something bigger than Murdoch controls it.

    • I guess we just look at the evidence differently, Joe. Maybe he doesn’t “like” Fox, for a number of possible reasons. Maybe he’s afraid it will get away from him. But it doesn’t take much effort to look at where Rupert’s empire has had the most access to the public and watch what has happened to those countries over the last couple of decades. It wasn’t too long ago that the Canadians were Fox and Murdoch free but as soon as his brand of journalism moved in, suddenly, they have a conservative government. Britain has suffered the same fate. In fact, anywhere in the English speaking world that you see Fox or Murdoch (remember, he now owns the WSJ), you see a trend towards neo-feudalism. Is the American version more toxic? Yeah, probably. We have half of the country that seems to have never gotten over the Civil War and resented desegregation. You’d think they would have adjusted by now but the South keeps saving its Dixie Cups hoping to rise again. There is a strain of ugliness that permeates the current American discourse that I thought I would never see.
      BTW, it wasn’t just Obama who went on Fox. Hillary also girded her loins and took O’Reilly on in a brilliant interview. She also took on Richard whatshisname who ran her husband into the ground. Sometimes, you have to meet your enemies and show them you are not afraid of them.
      But I know that during the Bush years, I wondered why so many politicians caved to the right. I’m sure I’m not the only person who speculated that someone was collecting personal stuff on politicians who wouldn’t eat their poison. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out if Fox and Murdoch were behind that.
      The fish rots from the head. That is what this report is saying. It’s saying he is unfit without deliberately calling him criminal. That’s probably the next step and with all the power that Murdoch has to smear his opponents, the truth is likely to be far, far worse than we think.

      • The fish does indeed rot at the head. What I’m saying is that Murdoch is not the head of Fox. He is the face-mask; he is replaceable; he is being replaced as we speak. Yet the fish will continue as before, will grow, will become more odious.

        Watch and see. You’ll soon understand that your “Murdoch controls all” idee fixe simply does not work as a Theory of Fox.

        James Murdoch has said some very “off script” things (from a neocon POV). I’m hardly the only person to argue that the phone hacking scandal was engineered to keep an uncontrollable person from attaining power. Obviously, this argument should not be taken as an excuse for his outrageous behavior; we have to get beyond the good guy/bad guy template to understand these things.

        For many years, Fox made no sense from a business standpoint.

        Murdoch had some very spooky friends early in his career. There’s a whole subterranean story there which most people can’t see — frankly, I have only the barest glimpse of it.

        • Murdoch had some very spooky friends early in his career. There’s a whole subterranean story there which most people can’t see — frankly, I have only the barest glimpse of it.

          FOX perhaps being a vehicle to advance the aims of the John Birch Society? Or of something more primal? Dark Ocean Society, Thule Society, Vril Society?

          • I think JC means the CIA or some similar US Govt. agency.

          • Or possibly a secret cabal of libertarians whose goal is to eliminate democracy entirely, and the break the country up into a number of pieces, some for sale to oligarchs, others to foreign powers (Japan, China, India, etc.).

          • Which actually has a certain plausibility to it, come to think of it.

          • David Emory ( Spitfire List, Anti-Fascist Radio, For The Record, etc.)
            has been exploring those very names and issues among others. I have only heard a few of his broadcasts at random and have barely visited and skimmed his site(s). It(they) seem to be a mix of clear vision and tinfoil. But the tinfoil may also be reality-based. David Emory might, in general, say that MurFox is a vehicle for the Underground Fourth Reich in particular, and certain elements of the Fascist International in general. In one of his broadcasts, titled The Engineer Intends To Wreck The Train, he discussed the Bush tax cuts as being designed on purpose to put America into a position of un-recoverable bankruptcy and insolvency after that. In Emory’s view, the proximal goal is to create the “money crisis” needed to excuse abolishing Social Security, medicare, Medicaide, etc.; privatising all the money, and redistributing it up the ladder to the OverClass. He stated his belief that the ultimate goal is to break the United States up into several smaller neo-feudalized and fascised countries. The motive is revenge for America having helped the Allies win the battle which is called World War Two. In Emory’s view, the Fascist International considers the defeat of the Axis to be the loss of a battle, not the End of the Long War. The last time I checked, the name David Emory was on Mr. Joe Cannon’s Cannonfire blogroll. It may still be there and still clickable.

          • (It turns out that the David Emory blogroll item which Cannonfire has on its blogroll is the one called For The Record).

  5. How come you aren’t in NYC?

  6. A public shaming for Murdoch.
    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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