Rupert Murdoch, American Citizen?By
There’s been little talk here at ScruHoo about the News Corp. phone hacking scandal, but we should shine a light on it. In brief, let me quote Carl Bernstein from Newsweek:
“The facts of the case are astonishing in their scope. Thousands of private phone messages hacked, presumably by people affiliated with the Murdoch-owned News of the World newspaper, with the violated parties ranging from Prince William and actor Hugh Grant to murder victims and families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The arrest of Andy Coulson, former press chief to Prime Minister David Cameron, for his role in the scandal during his tenure as the paper’s editor. The arrest (for the second time) of Clive Goodman, the paper’s former royals editor. The shocking July 7 announcement that the paper would cease publication three days later, putting hundreds of employees out of work. Murdoch’s bid to acquire full control of cable-news company BSkyB placed in jeopardy. Allegations of bribery, wiretapping, and other forms of lawbreaking—not to mention the charge that emails were deleted by the millions in order to thwart Scotland Yard’s investigation.”
Murdoch’s influence in British politics has been such that no candidate has become Prime Minister in decades without his approval. No wonder Tony Blair acted nothing like the “liberal” he was touted to be. Murdoch’s influence put perhaps a fourth of Scotland Yard in his pocket via payoffs, if Hugh Grant’s informant is to be believed.
Why do more Fox employees not blow the whistle? Apparently Fox is adept at blackmail.
One nice result of this uproar s that the UK Guardian, long the only British paper brave enough to take on Murdoch’s Moloch, seems now to be getting the respect it deserves. The Murdoch machine would have loved to see the Guardian destroyed. Feeling’s mutual there. On this side of the water, Media Matters for America has routinely documented Fox News lies, and Fox is trying to have Media Matters’ tax-exempt status improperly revoked.
Now Congress may investigate, and we might dare hope Faux News will get its long-deserved comeuppance. Did News Corp succeed in hacking 9/11 victims’ phone records? I’d wager they did. There’s no good reason to assume the same illegal tactics that were in full swing across the water were not also in full swing here. Roger Ailes should be placed under oath on this:
“Deep in the bowels of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, News Corporation’s New York headquarters, was what Roger called the Brain Room. Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News. But unlike virtually everybody else, because I had to design and build the Brain Room, I knew it also housed a counterintelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”
Fox’s activities would appear to fall under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And I’d argue that Fox is even more foreign and corrupt than most of its “patriotic” fans realize. After Murdoch, the largest shareholder in News Corp. is Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal at 7% stake. The Saudi aristocracy are not our friends: they want to keep the US addicted to their petroleum as long as it lasts; David Brin is on point on this issue:
…the main “news” outlets pushing the [Global Warming] Denier Movement are largely owned by those same petro-moguls. (Just one Saudi prince holds 7% of Fox, while other princes own smaller shares, plus a lot of Rupert Murdoch’s debt, stock and commercial paper. Russian oligarchs and international oil companies own more.) Because of this, the Skeptic has moved away from getting any of his news or sense of “reality” from propagandists who are paid to keep America divided, weak, passively addicted to dependence, respectful of aristocracy, and mired in “culture war.”
Australian-born Murdoch became a US citizen in 1985 just so he could own more media here. The Reagan administration appears to have fast-tracked his citizenship, and Reagan started the relaxation of ownership rules, allowing a few media giants to own more and more stations and newspapers. In return the corporate media, Fox being a major culprit, conducted a long-running and ongoing campaign to make this very bad president into Saint Ronald. Later on, News Corp. told the IRS that it was foreign-owned (to save on taxes) while telling the FCC that it was true-blue American (since it couldn’t own all its stations if it were otherwise). The GOP success in the 1994 elections derailed a possible congressional investigation.
Since then, Fox News (though not Fox News alone) has given the United States such gifts as the Clinton impeachment, the illegitimate president George W. Bush, two illegal wars, a general rot in the role of journalism and civil discourse, a divided nation, lies about global warming, and so much more.
If I were President, I’d have long ago issued an executive order stripping King Rupert of his citizenship and deported him back to Australia, simultaneously throwing News Corp.’s US ownership of many stations and papers into chaos. “Unconstitutional!” would be the cry of Faux News supporters. Maybe. Maybe not. This I can say: if he were a Communist they’d have done that long ago. If he were some stripe of Muslim radical, they might have Gitmo’d him. How obvious is it nowadays that only the rich and powerful receive every benefit of Constitutional protections, every jot and tittle of procedure. Some US citizens can be ground up at the government’s whim while others, well, just seem to stand far above the law.
In any event, this much is clear to me: the United States of America is like a club devoted to upholding certain principles of democracy, government of, by and for the People, inalienable rights for all, and not rule by aristocrats and crooks. Its doors are open, at least in theory, to anyone who agrees with these principles. Murdoch, however, only wanted to join the club so he could fuck it up for the rest of us.
Throw him out.