Gordon Brown & the press

So Gordon Brown has broken his silence over the Murdoch press. I agree with what he says. Why do we tolerate the Murdoch press anyway? It is a pity that no Government in the past has really spoken out about the Murdoch press. For reasons of state successive governments have chosen successive governments have chosen to cuddle up to Murdoch because they are afraid of what he might say about them. Gordon Brown says that the Murdoch press has indulged in criminal activity. Presumably he is referring to the disclosures which have already come out; that is phone tapping & bribing the police. What the press does in this country is very wrong. The worst of it is the hypocrisy of it all. They seem to expect the rest of us, not just politicians to be as pure as the driven snow. Journalists themselves have reputation rightly or wrongly to be people of low character, sleeping around, alcoholics, drug taking, being hand in glove with criminals. The phrase, removing the beam from your own eye comes to mind. I don’t know how much of it is true but it was certainly true that in the recent past journalists did have a liking for alcohol. These days many of them claim to be teetotal but whether this is the case with tabloid journalists – the lowest of the low – I somehow doubt. The Sun is a disgusting paper with nothing but ridiculous xenophobic opinions, half naked girls & sport. I haven’t looked at the Sun for some years. But it seems to me to be unlikely that they would have anything to say about for example human rights abuses in Iran – or about human rights abuses anywhere in the world else come to that.

The argument has been put that it is not all one sided because the Times runs at a loss. I haven’t read the Times recently & it is true that it does cover human rights abuses in Iran, specifically the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. And generally it is still the newspaper of record. It has good coverage of the arts, the health section is excellent, the politics is generally fair & unbiased. The Murdoch press doesn’t do everything wrong. But a great deal of what it does is not just wrong but criminal. The argument is that because of Sky News & Sky Sports the Times, The Sunday Times are kind of ok, then on the whole Murdoch has been a force for good; that the balance is in his favour.  It is said that The Times is subsidised to the tune of £40m by the more popular papers Murdoch owns. There are parts of Sky which undoubtedly do not make a profit. Presumably Murdoch ran them to keep onside with critics of the sleaze papers which in fact make money. I think it should be said that the News of the World is no worse now than when Murdoch bought it. And it is possible that someone else will start up a News of the World part 2.  A very small amount of people watch Sky Arts. I have not ever seen it but looking at the schedule of the programmes it looks good.

I, personally, wouldn’t mind if Sky Sports went under. I can’t see what is so great about a continuous diet of sport on Sky or anywhere else. Though in fact Sky has been responsible for the watering down of sport, of the occasion that is. For example, lots of people used to watch the Cup Final. But now, on the whole people are not terribly interested in it. When sporting occasions cease to be special occasions then they are of less interest. When cable & satellite television was starting out, we were all told about a brave new world of choice. But on the whole there has no choice of intelligent programmes, just a choice of drivel. It is the same with radio. The majority, the vast majority of radio stations, churn out an endless diet of pop music & imbecilic chat.

When there were only a few television channels, television provided a certain social cohesion. At work we used to talk about last night’s television.

The amount of power & influence that not just Murdoch but many people with lots of money have is out of all proportion to what a human being who is after all just flesh & blood like everybody else should have. In fact it is ridiculous & insidious. These people seem to think they are gods. In reality they are sleazebags.

If it is shown that the Murdoch press has tapped into the answering service of the 9/11 victims, he is finished because American companies wouldn’t dare to advertise with him.

Murdoch is often compared to Robert Maxwell who also was one of the bad guys but I really don’t think Maxwell was as bad. For a start he was (sort of) a voice of the left. And I do know & I remember that he always paid to small businesses money that was owed to them. He didn’t have this money but….  I think he thought that in the end all would be well & that somewhat miraculously his business would start making enough money to pay off his debts & then at least break even.

These days newspapers are not much read. I haven’t seen the figures but I would assume that the free newspapers are read more than the non-free papers. On the whole people get their news from the internet which is more immediate. The latest news pops up at you as you are working away doing something else. Indeed the latest news on the Murdoch is come up on MSN continuously as I type this..

Let them all go to the wall. They are as bad as each other. Murdoch is a pernicious & nasty character who exercised too much influence. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin said that the press “exercised power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.” This should be remedied.

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