Friday, 8 July 2011

News through Sabotage: NEWS OF THE WORLD

When News of the World was founded in the UK in 1843, the intended readership was the working class, covering stories that Henry Mayhew describes in London Labour and the London Poor (1861); that is stories about the underclass that included street people, prostitutes, and petty criminals. The Sunday edition of the paper became so popular in the next 150 years that it encouraged copycats. With success came the tilt of paper toward the establishment, but with a right-wing populist streak that remained even after media mogul Rupert Murdoch bought the company in 1969.  

Murdoch is known for his ownership of various media organizations, all inexorably designed to inculcate indoctrination into the readers through sensationalized stories. The paper will pause publication on 10 July 2011, after a mega political/crime scandal that only Murdoch media outlets would cover so well that people would forget the real problems with the economy, politics and society.

But wait, the scandal is about how institutions like Murdoch's media empire exert inordinate influence in politics, economy and society; so much so that they manufacture news stories and/or obtain information through illegal means; so much so that giant multinational corporations have distanced themselves from Murdoch who is finally damaged good within the coporate world.

News media/entertainment is a business no different than any other in so far as its first loyalty is to the stockholders first, advertisers second, the political establishment third, and lastly to the readers that they endeavor to influence so that they can make money and enjoy political influence. Concealing its operations under 'freedom of speech' corporate media organizations go to any length to manufacture news, even to the extent of illegally hacking the private lines of politicians, celebrities and any other citizen whose story the news organization wishes to catch.

Those who are familiar with Murdoch's mega-media scandal that implicates Britain's Conservative Party - Murdoch-Gate scandal - know that the line between large corporate money, media and politicians are blurred to the detriment of society at large. That media barons around the world have the power to make or break politicians should be disturbing to all people, including businesspeople who want to project a wholesome image.

That media moguls break the law and violate constitutions should be as disturbing as bank executives and stock brokers defrauding their stockholders and customers. That Murdoch paid more than one million pounds sterling to settle cases that threatened to expose News of the World journalists using illegal methods to obtain stories should be disturbing to anyone who believes that democracy exists. But wait, democracy is a myth that the media manufactures in order to engender mass conformity.

It remains to be seen the degree to which Scotland Yard will pursue this scandal. It also remains to be seen the degree to which the FBI will investigate Murdoch's US operations, especially given past conflicts between the bureau and Murdoch's organizations. My guess is that media moguls own politicians to the degree that not much at all will change. Politicians need money and media coverage to win elections, and that gives all the leverage to the media.

Even when Woodrow Wilson was president, his secretary of state warned him that the media serving corporate interests could ruin him if the US did not become involved in the First Great War in some capacity, first by allowing financial transactions and then sending troops to Europe. Nothing has changed in 100 years regarding the dominant role that coporate media exercises over politics.

No comments: