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The War on Rupert Murdoch is the Real Story of the Hacking Saga.

27 June 2014

12:21 AM

27 June 2014

12:21 AM

The hacking scandal was about many things but the way in which it has played-out and, crucially, been reported reminds us that it has chiefly been about power. Not just the power of the press when weighed against the power of parliament but the relative positions of power and authority within the press.

In that respect it has been a confusing, complex kind of conflict. You might view the newspapers as over-mighty magnates whose powers should have been curbed long ago. In this picture, the press barons have been so revolting – in every sense – that their activities began to threaten the security – and decency – of the state itself.

But there has been another war too. A media civil war within the larger parallel conflicts between press, parliament and public. And that war has had a simple purpose: destroying Rupert Murdoch. It will make a great film: The Sweet Smell of Success meets Game of Thrones.

I should declare an interest. I write for The Times and I have plenty of friends who are, or at some point have been, on the Murdoch payroll. I also happen to think that Murdoch is a great proprietor. Not everyone who owns a newspaper loves newspapers. Murdoch does. Not many people who owned The Times would have kept it open these past thirty years. Murdoch has. I wouldn’t expect that to persuade those who hate him but I don’t think it’s trivial either.

I also don’t think it is wrong or disgraceful for The Guardian (with some assistance from the BBC) to try to destroy Murdoch. That’s their prerogative. But let’s at least be honest and acknowledge that’s the aim.

And, to be fair, Nick Davies makes little if any attempt to hide that in his latest account of the hacking drama. It is a curious article, however, not least in its determined attempt to paint the Crown as David against Murdoch’s Goliath. Perhaps the press has over-reached itself but the state is hardly powerless. For Davies, however, the hacking trial was also a story of ‘the peculiar values of this particular century – its materialism and the inequality which goes with it, the dominance of corporation over state.

According to Davies ‘Rupert Murdoch’s money flooded that courtroom’ and I think an ordinary reader sitting on his ordinary omnibus is entitled to infer something from that. There is an insinuation that this was not fair. The jury were not nobbled – perish the thought! – but they may have been bamboozled by the lawyers hired to defend the accused. The verdicts are unimpeachable – of course! – but there’s still, reading between the lines, a whiff of something rotten here.

And if you read Davies’ piece you are left with the impression that he – and perhaps his paper – hate two things above all: tabloid journalism and the influence wielded by Murdoch’s newspapers. Davies concludes his piece thus: ‘The jury at the Old Bailey returned true verdicts according to the evidence. They were not asked to do more.’

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Again, we are I think meant to understand that this is a bloody shame. Meant to realise that hacking – which went on, to one degree or another, at many newspapers that were not owned by Rupert Murdoch – is almost a side-issue. It is a convenient cause but the real scandal, at least according to The Guardian, is that Murdoch’s papers still exist and that, generally speaking and most of the time, they promulgate a right-of-centre view of the world and support the Conservative party.

Even if we agree that the News of the World was the paper most prominently enthusiastic about hacking phones we know that it was not the only paper to endorse such, er, story-getting techniques. I am sure The Guardian deplores allegations of dreadful behaviour at the Mirror  papers too. It’s just that you would hardly think so from reading The Guardian. I don’t suppose the Mirror’s status as a left-wing paper has anything to do with that. At any rate, you’d be encouraged to think this was just a Murdoch story. 

I don’t mean to suggest that because everyone was guilty no-one is really all that guilty. It is clear that some papers behaved worse than others and it is reasonable to construct a hierarchy of culpability. Nevertheless it is less than honest to foster the impression only papers owned by one proprietor were guilty of this behaviour even if they were, most likely, more frequently guilty of it than others. Equally, that no-one has hacked a phone in years now is something people might remember more often than is the case even as it does not justify past criminal activity.

I agree with everything in this paper’s editorial this week. Far from justifying – as Nick Davies seems to think – the Leveson enquiry, this trial shows how Leveson was hardly necessary in the first place. The rule of law may work slowly but it does, usually and in the end, work. So does journalism: this episode owes a lot to Nick Davies’ reporting. The question of quis custodiet ipsos custodes is answered easily: by the guardians themselves (especially Private Eye). That’s the great thing about the diversity of the British press, a diversity – in every respect – greater than that which exists in most other countries.

Speaking of which, we might, when considering over-mighty media moguls remember that Murdoch is not the main player in the British media landscape. That honour belongs to the BBC. Nearly six times as many Britons watch BBC1 than read The Sun. The BBC’s website has more readers than any Murdoch title. And across all platforms, online, on television and on radio, the BBC does more to shape and mould public attitudes than any other media enterprise. This is so even if it also often takes its lead from the newspapers.

Now I cheerfully concede that Britain’s newspapers can be appalling creatures. Vain, hypocritical, sanctimonious, bullying, vicious, corrupt and criminal. And thank heavens for that. In general, that is. I actually think it is fine to break the law in pursuit of a story provided you are prepared to face the consequences and pay the price of doing so.

It may not be entirely true that the bestial nature of the British press is one reason why British politics is, despite everything, relatively clean and lacking in corruption (other countries with less invasive newspapers are also non-corrupt) but I can’t help but think it might be part of the reason for the relative cleanliness of British public life.

If I compare British politics with public life in the other two countries I know best – the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland – I’m pretty confident in saying that British politics is cleaner than politics in either of those splendid places. And British newspapers are better – if also more vicious – than newspapers in those countries too. I can’t say there is a link but nor can I dismiss the thought there might be.

That viciousness, remember, can be a very good thing. Ask FIFA. Everyone all over the world has known about FIFA for years but it was the British press – specifically the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times – that has proved it.

Nick Davies and The Guardian seem to think the Murdoch press makes people in this country stupider than they might be. Soften ’em up with salacious celebrity tittle-tattle and then they’ll drink the right-wing populism like its the grooviest kind of kool-aid. If only we got rid of Murdoch the public would be better!  But this is unlikely and we know this because the public in countries in which Murdoch has no press interest are just as likely to hold many mistaken beliefs.

So, yes, it’s about power but it’s really also about politics. The left fears Murdoch and hates him because they fear him. He’s like a baron with his own private army and it’s beyond time the state brought him to heel. Those who support Leveson would support a more powerful state. I’m not sure I think that’s such a great thing.

That’s not the story of Andy Coulson and others but it is the wider war in which their behaviour and fate is but a single front. Like I say, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily reprehensible about that (it will make a great movie) but let’s at least acknowledge this is what it’s really about. Power. It’s always about power.

 

 

 

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Show comments
  • tjamesjones

    Agree with all this.

  • The Masked Marvel

    So where was Massie over a year ago when many of were saying this was all about getting Murdoch and ensuring the BBC had more control over public discourse than anyone else? And it wasn’t just “with some assistance from the BBC”, either. The co-founder of Hacked Off and the main instigator is the former executive editor of the BBC College of Journalism, as well as a former Today boss (replacing the self-immolating Rod Liddle, as it happens). The group’s communications director worked under him on Today. The BBC covered this like it was the Nuremberg Trials or Watergate hearings. The Guardian doesn’t have anything like the muscle of the BBC, and media organization on the planet has the number of channels and programmes with which to beat the public into submission.

  • cartimandua

    Media has fed us meretricious tripe and opinion and elected itself suprademocratic.
    So cry me a river.
    Had they produced facts evidence and ooh I don’t know actual news…..
    Public space is poisoned by proprietors pushing their own agenda.
    The Telegraph might just as well be called “The Vatican mouthpiece”.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    I can never seem to make it past the titles of your drivel, lad. It’s so typical of you authoritarian socialists to be blind to what’s doing on in the world, right in front of you.

    This is about freedom and liberty.<————–PERIOD

  • ukfred

    Phone hacking was the excuse for Leveson. ~The real reason for Leveson was the fear in MPs about the uncovering of more scandals like the duck houses and flipping of main residences. It was far easier to paint Rupert Murdoch a “nasty wicked evil newspaper proprietor” whose behaviour had more in common with Ebeneezer Scrooge than the Barclay Brothers or any of the other proprietors. But in the “interests of fairness” the rules had to be extended to all.

  • Mr Grumpy

    “Equally, that no-one has hacked a phone in years now is something people might remember more often than is the case even as it does not justify past criminal activity.”
    Hardly worth the bother now we’re in the Social Media Age, is it?

    • rtj1211

      If you think for one moment that the Press don’t get hold of your private information, you’re even more deluded than most.

      Ever heard of keystroke hacking?? It happens.

      You’ll be telling me next that you think your banks keep your account details private. By which I mean how much money is in it, not what the account number is.

      Mine have miraculously leaked out on more than three occasions and I have very little doubt they will do so again in future.

  • jj

    Perhaps the elephant in the room is How much of our media should Mr Murdoch own & Should this amount be considered damaging to our democratic institutions?

    • HookesLaw

      This was the point of Massie’s argument. The Guardian attacked the NOTW because it did not want NI to fully take over SKY.
      Murdoch owns The Times and The Sun. How many other newspapers are there?

      • rtj1211

        Express, Mail, Mirror, Guardian, Independent, Scotsman, Glasgow Herald, Liverpool Echo, Yorkshire Post, Star, Sport.

        Not a great choice, but Murdoch only owns two.

        • cartimandua

          and some of the other are owned by offshore proprietors who push their own agendas.

  • jj

    the elephant in the room seems to be how much of our media does Mr Murdoch actually own & whether this is a good thing for our democracy?

  • HookesLaw

    You are far too kind to The Guardian and the BBC Mr Massie.

  • William Battersby

    You are completely correct. The Guardian and the BBC have used the phone-hacking scandal nakedly to try to get a commercial advantage over a rival. Listening to the voicemails of people who are too trusting or stupid to password-protect their voicemails is a crime. What is also an identical crime is the method the Guardian used to entrap Jonathan Aitken:

    ” the owner of the Hotel was Mohammed Al Fayed, and in a complicated plot, he and the editor of The Guardian, had arranged for a copy of Aitken’s bill to be provided to The Guardian, on false pretences. Al Fayed, you see, did not want to be seen as the source of the information, and so while he knew, The Guardian had arranged for a “cod fax” to be sent to the hotel, asking for a copy of Aitken’s bill.

    A “cod fax” you say? This was a fax falsely placed on House of Commons letterhead (which is totally illegal), falsely stating that it was from Aitken, asking that a copy of his bill be faxed to the newspaper”. (http://defamationwatch.com.au/?page_id=455)

    There is no difference whatsoever between what the Guardian did and ‘phone-hacking’.

    • rtj1211

      Absolutely correct.

      But unfortunately, until the People have their own online rag which defends them, not the interests of a tax-avoiding publisher, you kind of have to rely on the dog-eat-dog world of UK newspapers to rip each other to pieces over one story or another.

      Hypocritical yes, but the best worst option.

  • http://english-pensioner.blogspot.co.uk/ english_pensioner

    The prosecution for hacking the Millie Dowler phone, I suspect, was because the incompetence of the police had been brought to light. Surely her phone’s voice mail should have been one of the first things that they looked at and saved as potential evidence.

  • Andy

    It always has been a war against Murdoch. Actually it is the left, in all its various forms, who are seeking total control over all the media. The Left already controls over 70% of the broadcast media by its control of the BBC and now it is seeking to close down the only area of opposition to its evil power by controlling the print media which it doesn’t dominate. And Cameron has helped them: a useful idiot.

    • rtj1211

      Both sides are as bad as each other. The right say it’s all a Leftie conspiracy and the Left say it’s all a right wing conspiracy.

      The truth is both lots have been hacking with alacrity since 2000 or even before. Tony Blair’s office were doing it. Sky Sports was doing it. Football clubs have been doing it. Russell Group Universities do it.

  • FrankieThompson

    Oh how the Guardian worldview has so much difficulty incorporating the jury system. In that whirlwind worldview , juries SHOULD be a good thing. They are randomly selected , hopefully from all walks of life, and , without any prejudging, or hopefully , prejudice, they listen to the evidence and reach a verdict.
    But, sometimes, that verdict doesn’t suit the Guardian worldview, the Brooks verdict being a good example. The flame-haired woman, Murdoch’s woman, had to be burnt at the stake as a heretic, and the jury refused to comply. But they can’t bring themselves to say what they really want. People, just like them, thinking like them, and looking like them, sitting in judgement on the rest of us, applying the Guardian’s norms, which are self-evidently true and valid at all times, is what they really really want.
    The jury is the last bastion of justice in this society.

    • Jimmy R

      What has upset the Guardian and also the BBC, along with certain other similar partisan groups, is that despite their persistent and constant propaganda over the last few years they failed of brainwash the members of the jury who, as they are duty bound to do, made their decisions on the evidence they heard from the prosecution and the defence and not on the version those involved in a tawdry witch-hunt wished was the version they should accept. Their continued attempted character assassination of those the jury found innocent exposes their absolute disdain for any form of justice which does not support their own jaundiced views.

  • saffrin

    In my book, Murdoc should be banned from owning any news publications in Britain, along with his monopoly on satellite TV.

    • HookesLaw

      What monopoly on Satellite TV? I never cease to be amazed at how thick some people are.

      • Wessex Man

        takes one to know one.

      • saffrin

        A bit rich coming from someone that believes Cameron intends to hold an in/out referendum in 2017.

    • rtj1211

      He had a monopoly on EPL football for about 15 years, which is now a duopoly. He gets exclusive rights to lots of sports through bidding processes.

      But he has no monopoly on setting up and selling satellite TV services.

  • Kitty MLB

    100 million pounds!! That is how much we paid those leftie
    lawyers at the preposterous Leveson enquiry, which had no real
    authority and couldn’t ask questions that mattered because of
    the police inquiry.
    It was nothing more then a stage, entertainment value, and
    leveson decided no one did anything wrong, even the police
    and Coulson, he had a moan about the power of the press before
    flying to Australia to give a speech about free speech and before
    that he said the internet was a problem!!!!!

    • southerner

      Remind me whose knee jerk response was to launch Leveson?

      • Wessex Man

        old knee jerker himself but i still gave an up tick because she was mostly right.

    • rtj1211

      That’s the way the Establishment operates. Every opportunity they see for the taxpayer to write a cheque, they pile in. Did you see how slowly and precisely the interrogator at Leveson asked his questions?? It’s called a lawyer watching the clock and stringing things out. He would have been on a day rate, not a fixed fee, you see.

      Amazed the Government hasn’t put an upper limit on legal fees for enquiries like Leveson. After all, once you’ve past 10 examples, how many more do you need to know someone is a serial philanderer??

  • Kitty MLB

    The hacking scandal was most certainly not about the true victims
    such as Millie Dowler. It had been going on for years whilst
    Blair and Brown were toadying up to Murdoch .
    It only bacame an issue when we thought the News of the World
    hacked in to Millie Dowlers phone, and as far as the public were
    concerned when that was proved untrue they lost interest.
    Another reason is the utter disgrace the hacking scandal, was
    taken over by those miscreants Hacked Off, who made it about
    them and the Labour party who just wanted revenge for Murdoch
    over the Sun abandoning them.

    • southerner

      It only became an issue when Dave responded to criminality at one newspaper by launching the ludicrous Leveson inquiry. Frightened by the possibility of revelations regarding his own closeness to Brooks but with no consideration of the potential consequences. No thought. No regard for the basic principles and pillars of our country. Certainly not a shred of conservatism. It’s what you socialist Camerloons do.

      • Kitty MLB

        David Camerons Friendship with Brooks?He was
        friends with Mr Brooks since university, should he
        have ended that friendship because of who Mr Brooks
        married?
        I think Tony Blairs friendship with Rupert Murdoch
        was far more significant, being God Father to the
        Murdoch baby. Did Murdoch also have influence
        with government when Labour were in charge.
        The leveson inquiry was that not in response to
        Millie Dowlers phone.

        • southerner

          Totally avoid the issues I raised. Well done. It’s what you socialist Camerlooons do.

          • Kitty MLB

            Camerooons? I am just a Conservative sweetie,
            notice the higher case letter.
            Do come up with some new insults though,
            the ones you use are somewhat old, predictable,
            monotonous, repetative, unimaginative and
            basically dull…..Yawn !

            • southerner

              Yes but you are not a conservative. Notice the lower case letter.

              • Kitty MLB

                Oh I am a Conservative, not one to run away to
                another party and throw stones just because
                of the current leader, they come and go.
                But I suppose if it makes you feel better.

                • southerner

                  Watching my country being destroyed by you socialists doesn’t make me feel better in the slightest.

          • HookesLaw

            Same old thick rubbish – are you another one to who everyone is a socialist unless they were a black shirt and jackboots? Take your goosestep somewhere else.

            • southerner

              Nope not everyone’s a socialist.
              But you are.

              • HookesLaw

                No – you are a nutjob happily polishing his jackboots.

                • Wessex Man

                  You really are a nasty nasty piece of work arn’t you, you quote facts that arn’t facts, stories that arn’t stories, you throw abuse and accuse everyone and their mother if they don’t agree with Call me Dave or you, roll on the election!

        • telemachus

          Kitty
          It was not just Brooks but the weekend meetings with Elisabeth Murdoch in Chipping Norton
          These folk were the effective Cabinet from 2010 until Dowler

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Except all this happened while Labour, the party of lies, lying and liars, was in power.

        • HookesLaw

          These events took place under a socialist govt when the NOTW was supporting labour.
          Levenson, or a public enquiry, was demanded by parliament… Labour were in the forefront and public opinion was not far behind – not least because there were clear paid links between the press and public officials. its absurd to suggest these could be ignored
          There needed to be an enquiry. The press want to be a law unto themselves and there is ample evidence of terrible behaviour with little redress.

          Unlike what Mr Nelson and the Spectator thinks the law is clearly not a good arbiter in these matters … this trial has cost the public purse a fortune. What is needed is a proper code of practice and proper regulation. The Royal Charter approach (a Charter on ‘self regulation’ remember) seems perfectly suitable and is not political control of the press as the press hysterics claim. And of course Cameron was criticised by the left for his proposals – it was Labour who called for full implementation. Yet the nutjobs on the extreme right go into kneejerk mode and attack Cameron.

          • southerner

            Spoken like the true socialist that you are. Attacking a free press. It’s what you fascists do.

            • HookesLaw

              Nowhere do I attack a free press. You are a thick ignorant bigot. Should the press be above criticism? Levenson’s proposals and Cameron’s dilution of them were entirely voluntary.

              • southerner

                Displacement and faux outrage. It’s what you socialist Camerloons do.
                How’s Dave’s negotiation with his European partners to stop Juncker going by the way?

                • HookesLaw

                  Faux outrage? Do you never actually read any of the rubbish you write?
                  What has Junkner got to do with anything? Don’t you want him to argue against Junkner?
                  You are just another nasyt bigot given airtime by the speccy. Crawl back under your stone.

                • Kitty MLB

                  No he doesn’t want Cameron to argue against
                  Juncker, because by doing so Cameron is defending the UK, in the same way Miliband
                  doesn’t want Cameron to argue against Juncker.
                  Parties before country.

                • Wessex Man

                  erm, Miliband was on R5 this morning saying he backs Cameron with regard to Juncker, Country before Party!

                • Wessex Man

                  You nitwit, you are now starting to embarrasss the other few Tories left, it takes a nasty bigot to recognise one!

                • rtj1211

                  It could of course be the case that he is egging Europe on to appoint Juncker so he has a strong base from which to withdraw the UK from the EU??

                • Wessex Man

                  Call me Dave has just lost and could only get one other country to vote no- magic! you can’t trust the Tories vote UKip!

                • southerner

                  Indeed. You can’t trust Dave to deliver anything. If the fools that regularly post on here believe that he will be able to negotiate anything they are living in cuckoo land. You know who you are Hooky / Kitty and the rest of the socialist Camerloons.

              • Wessex Man

                because he doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make him a bigot it makes him one of the good guys!

                • southerner

                  Anybody who argues against the Camerloons is a bigot or a big WAYcist or both. They just want to close down debate. It’s what socialists do.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Don’t knock it when you can use the word RACIST all the time as a way to msnipulate and
                  get the sympathy vote….its worked so far..
                  You might even get one single purple cushion
                  one day….Oh wait a moment you dont have one
                  single seat to put it on…

                • Wessex Man

                  oh how cutting, still never mind we’ll have at least 18 after the next GE, if you don’t believe me check with your Party HQ because it was them that said it.

                  Our terms for alliance will include the banishment of Call me Dave and Hooky babe.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Well he deserved for me to be cutting.
                  Besides, dearest where are the other 17 Nigel
                  Farage’s coming from….is he being cloned
                  already..good heavens!

                • tjamesjones

                  man, that southerner’s a prat isn’t he.

    • dado_trunking

      That’s how Britain works though, isn’t it?
      We *never* talk about the stuff what really went on, what really matters.
      We use diversions to prepare society for change.

      Milli D in phone hacking mattered as much as the endless regurgitations of one single Jimmy S and his abuse, blaming retail banking for the collapse in investment banking, waffling on about a living wage to those subsisting on a minimum wage, the chitchat about the loss of morals of extremist Muslims when it is us who have long stopped going to mass, the talk about a break up of Europe when in fact Britain is about to.

      The reason we know that *every single one* of these battles will eventually be lost is simply because we know that those in defence of the weaker argument are not honest to themselves and will therefore be overrun by the course of history – just like all the other Honeckers of this world. Peacefully.
      That’s how Britain works though, isn’t it?

      • rtj1211

        Going to mass or the Mosque is not synonymous with morals, you know. It is synonymous with being a good little boy or girl and doing what the religious elders tell you to. Or at least, acting that out in public whilst doing rather different behind closed doors…….

        • dado_trunking

          All what you state is true or better, will hold some other truths within it that do not relate to my post.

  • edithgrove

    You lost me at “British politics is relatively clean and lacking in corruption” since we know it isn’t. And what could you mean by the public’s “mistaken beliefs”. The BBC is far from a side player here. Wednesday they announce Cameron had brought a criminal into the heart of Westminster. No such acknowledgement yesterday when it was revealed the BBC had brought Beelzebub himself to the hearth of British life and kept him there for a lifetime, the DG only escaping the consequences by taking a job in the US.

    • facwit

      Do you understand the meaning of the word “relatively?”

      Apart from that I agree with the rest of your post!

      • edithgrove

        I think he compares British politics and public life with Ireland and the US. I can’t speak for Ireland but US domestic politics and public life are arguably more open and less opaque than here. The US loves a perp walk, even of its bankers. We prefer to install them in the House of Lords.

    • rtj1211

      Relative means ‘as compared to the EU, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, most Middle Eastern potentates etc etc’.

  • Bob339

    So much brown-nosing! I hope it helps your career Mr. Massie.

    • Wessex Man

      no that’s beyond help.

  • D Whiggery

    Now this farce is over maybe we can ditch the royal charter idea and attack the real problem i.e. harassment. Journalists have the right to investigate and publish any story they like, but that doesn’t mean that a pap or a reporter has the right to harass people in public or in private. It’s already illegal, the law just needs to be applied.

    Oh and Rupert, release the hounds.

  • Tahitiholiday

    Her name is Rebekah, Massie, so spelled. You’re a journalist?

    • bengeo

      Sub editors are an expensive luxury here 🙂

      • Tahitiholiday

        They should hire me: I’m good and I’m aristocratic.

  • Tahitiholiday

    How about the power of the state? That’s the scariest part of all.

    The Coalition may not be responsible for this anti-liberal, mind-blowingly expensive prosecution, but as the government it has allowed this travesty to happen — pillaging the taxpayers, imposing on the citizens, oppressing the innocent (250 mainly harmless journalists have or will have their lives ruined by arrests), and all for what?

    Could this nation, this government, find no better cause to spend 100 million pounds sterling on?

    Where is the outrage? Who will do something about this trespass on our freedoms?

    • rtj1211

      Look, mate, until you change the justice system to: ‘I say he’s guilty so sentence him/her’, then every trial has the possibility to have a different outcome to expected.

      At the end of the day, plenty of cases’ evidence isn’t so cast iron that a conviction happens after 15 minutes. It’s a fine judgement as to whether to proceed or not sometimes.

      It’s a bit like venture capital investing. You make most money by investing in quite a few duds as well as a few winners. As you don’t know which the winners will be at the start, you have to invest in lots to make a decent return.

      Are you telling me we should never invest in young companies because a few go bust??

  • dado_trunking

    Power in the wrong hands vs the abuse of power
    The story of our lives.

    • telemachus

      Power in the wrong hands
      And abuse of power
      That is the story of Murdoch
      *
      When he arrives at Heathrow he must be met by Special Branch
      William I built the Tower for such

      • Alexsandr

        you dont think liblabcon monopoly are the wrong hands too then? where is the mandate for federal EU? Unlimited immigration?

        • telemachus

          The mandate is in reason and concern for the future wellbeing of our citizens
          *
          If the voters do not know it yet they will

          • southerner

            Yeess… a slightly embarrassing misunderstanding about what the word mandate means….

            • telemachus

              No misunderstanding
              Sidney Silverman had no mandate but he did right

          • rtj1211

            The justification of every scoundrel in history: ‘I know what’s best for them’…..

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …you socialists would know about scoundrels, no doubt.

          • Wessex Man

            go away you slimy liar.

      • Kitty MLB

        Oh yes Labour wanting their revenge.Especially Brown
        those pyjama parties at Chequers didn’t work, whilst
        they and their little showbiz friends hyjacked the
        whole affair and made it about them.
        Labour even had Tom Watson as detective on this
        (was this his Watson aka Sherlock Holmes moment.

        • telemachus

          hijacked
          *
          This is what happens at pyjama parties

          • Kitty MLB

            No that happens when you have a pyjama party
            in a tent…I am not too sure you’ll get that !

        • telemachus

          PS

          As you mention Tom Watson

          This is what he concluded in the Guardian on Wednesday

          “And now that we have a verdict, I hope the party leaders ask themselves: do we tackle the problems relentlessly and ensure nothing like this ever happens again to vulnerable, powerless people?”
          As asked Millie Dowlings sister
          So just what are the DT, Speccie etc going to allow?
          *
          More doorstepping of sick politician’s fathers?

      • Bert3000

        Murdoch hates Britain and has worked all his life to destroy it. He’s taken something away from the life of every British person. Special Branch? We’ve got an air force, with very expensive fighters. How on earth are we stupid enough to allow any aircraft carrying him into our airspace?

        • telemachus

          Hated
          Yes
          But also used it as a vehicle to further his financial and political aims

          • saffrin

            Miliband loves Murdoc, as seen by the advertisement.

            • rtj1211

              He doesn’t love him, he just wonders how he has to use him if he ever wishes to get into Downing Street. If he could get there by hating the guts out of him, he would.

              • saffrin

                Miliband is a wimp. He couldn’t lead a dog if he was tied to it.

        • Wessex Man

          I thought it would be impossible to out halfwit Hooky babe and slimy tele but along come you,

      • Wessex Man

        you slimy liar, you can never walk a straight road.

  • GIN1138

    I suspect popular press, The Sun and the Daily Mail will be going long after The Guardian has gone bust – That this is so obviously true must drive the folks at The Guardian mad with anger.

    • Kaine

      Rather unlikely. The Guardian has had a strategy of slowly metamorphosing into an online media organisation for some time now. It has 5 million daily readers online. The Sun meanwhile has seen circulation fall by 200,000 a year for the last four years. It is entirely possible that we will come out of election season next year with the Sun below 2 million.

      In all fairness the Mail has done a superb job of acclimatising to the online presence as well, with a potent brew of reactionary populism, clickbait, and pictures of celebrities in compromising positions.

      As someone who keeps an eye on global news, the Guardian and the Mail are the two newspapers constantly referenced by foreign pundits, because they have the best online operations and between them pick up more or less every story.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “reactionary populism”

        Tee-hee. That’s a good one! Aka anything not conforming to your own political creed. What’s the opposite of “reactionary populism” – “elitist progressiveness” or maybe “unpopular radicalism”?

      • HookesLaw

        Are they making money form their online operations?
        5 million people who look at the headlines and 500 nutjobs who spout on their comments boards.
        You read or glance at the Guardian because it is free. The Mail on line is full of nothing but pathetic dross.

        • rtj1211

          Online media operations, just like the old print versions, only make money from advertising. The reason the right wing papers made money and the left wing ones didn’t is that they understood this truism, whereas the Left were full of self-righteousness about advertising being ‘grubby’.

      • rtj1211

        You mean, they write something inaccurate about things they wish the masses to read about.

        I was banned from the Guardian because I got ever more peremptory in hauling paid journalists through the coals because their basic facts were wrong on too many stories to name. Not to mention them having a staff of extremely sexist women who ran a never ending number of men-hating epistles, about which Alan Rusbridger did precisely nothing.

        The Mail Online censors every comment which doesn’t fit their own agenda. They have no place callng for Press Freedom, as their view on Press Freedom is that they can print what they choose but we must have our comments subject to their political censor. Press Freedom in the 21st century means ‘allowing all opinions to be expressed which do not incite violence, hatred or other crimes against humanity’. The Daily Mail would be horrified if that were the definition demanded for a license to run an online media operation. In fact they would decamp to some jurisdiction which let them do what they are currently doing, which tells you precisely what their views on ‘Press Freedom’ are.

        The Spectator isn’t that much better to be honest. The censor it operates has some quite scandalous abuses of Free Speech online, none of which could remotely be regarded as offensive.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Sounds like nobody has it right but you, lad.

          Have at it. Get stuck in. Get busy with your genius ideas.

    • bengeo

      Most striking and encouraging has been the continued strong growth in digital revenues, which exceeded the decline in print.

      The Guardian was able to weather continuing heavy annual losses because of the financial backing of Guardian Media Group’s cash and investment fund (The Scott Trust Limited). It was worth £253.7m at the end of the financial year, up from £225.8m after the £70m sale the group’s radio stations to Global Radio.

      While it has sought to cut costs, Guardian News & Media also invested in newsrooms and websites in the United States and Australia as it aims to become an international news brand. Guardian Media Group chief executive Andrew Miller said there was “a clear global appetite for our views and content” but the company did not release separate data on the performance of its overseas ventures.

      In one respect the Guardian is better off than most. It is backed by the Scott Trust, which is designed to ensure it survives “in perpetuity”. The Guardian Media Group probably has around £250m in cash and an investment fund, as well as stakes in companies, notably the publisher of Auto Trader, which it could liquidate for at least £500m. The newspaper could survive for more than a decade even if its losses continue at the current rate. But not in perpetuity.

      The sole shareholder in Guardian Media Group, the Trust was created in 1936 to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian. In 2008 it became a limited company, with the same protections for the Guardian enshrined in its constitution. Its core purpose is to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity.

      The Scott Trust was created in 1936 following the death of CP Scott and his son Edward in 1932. Edward’s brother John was left as the sole owner, and was faced with the threat of death duties, which would have crippled the business and jeopardised the future independence of the newspaper.

      To avoid this, and to secure his father’s legacy of the Manchester Guardian’s independent liberal journalism, John Scott voluntarily renounced all financial interest in the business for himself and his family, putting all his shares – worth more than £1 million at the time – into a trust.

      • Alexsandr

        pretty dodgy tax position too. Tad hypocritical…

        • rtj1211

          NO worse than Murdoch’s. No worse than the Barclay Brothers. No worse than Richard Desmond I’d wonder….

      • GUBU

        Cut and paste is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

        • bengeo

          Yes. Surprising how easy it is to find out the facts before sounding off, eh?

    • dado_trunking

      Does it matter?
      As long as the product is good all is well, right.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and as long as you and all your sockpuppets are happy…

    • Wessex Man

      They are all pretty awlful, we need something new and bold t match the new political climate now spreading across the country.

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