Tuesday, July 12, 2011

flying a balloon

Can we slay the tyrant, here?

The News of the World hacking scandal that I wrote about in April has become a worldwide phenomenon. The whole world knows how murder victims phones were hacked. More revelations will follow, with other tabloids, including News' other tabloid, the Sun, likely to be dragged in. 

News International repeatedly lied to the English parliament about phone hacking from 2006 to the present. It put the DPP on its payroll, after he had favourably limited the scoper of prosecutions in 2006. With News International's lies so brutally exposed, parliament faced a public challenge to its preeminent authority that could not be refused without conceding utter impotence.

In Britain the Rubicon has been crossed, and MPs, even Tories, are liberating themselves from their Murdoch demons. News Limited is perceived as a criminal enterprise and it is hard to imagine the BSkyB deal going through, where a week ago it was a done deal. The possibility of James Murdoch (and maybe even Rupert) facing criminal prosecution is being canvassed. News may even be forced to divest itself of its media holdings there.

But what of Australia? Fairfax has only perfunctory coverage of the affair on their sites and the Abbott/mad 'Lord' Monckton/News Ltd carbon hysteria carries on without a beat in Murdochland. What gives with feeding the public disinformation on climate change anyway, given its gravity. Should our leaders really pander to this tycoon who is misleading the public?

Editors and journalists working for News move from rag to rag around the empire, including to Australian titles, most of which are tabloids(of course the Australian is an altogether different kind of comic-book). Issues like collusion with police, phone-hacking and the activities of private investigators have to a concern. The other big issue is the too-close relations between some politicians and News, the perception(!) of secret deals, and the manipulation of the public through propaganda. Promoting fear and barracking for the police state.

Bob Brown has now called for an inquiry into the Murdoch press, given its near monopoly status, but without Labor party support it won't happen. Abbott has all too clearly thrown in his lot with the evil empire.

Now that the Carbon Tax is announced, I hope Gillard and the Labor leadership recognise the opportunity. Will they have the courage to slay the tyrant where it was born? The moment to do so has presented itself.

UK PM 'Dave' Cameron has seriously damaged himself by his serious misjudgement in hiring Andy Coulson, and getting too close to the Murdochs, not seeing this coming despite warnings. The whole affair exploded in his face. He is exposed as either stupidly naive or contemptuous of the public. Leaders of Australian political parties should ponder this fate.