Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Rupert Murdoch Propaganda Machine

Rupert Murdoch lies for profit. Coincidentally, his newspapers and broadcast companies function as the propaganda arm of the Republican Party here and the conservatives in Britain. Their power is his power and he does very well for them.

The News of the World, the infamous London tabloid, fools millions of working class Brits every week with its addictive sleaze and distortion. Their methods are outrageous. The most recent revelation involves the Murdoch tabloid reporters and editors hacking into the cell phone of a kidnapped child, leading frantic parents to believe she was still alive, stripping the privacy and dignity of crime victims to sell newspapers. The story was broken by reporter Nick Davies of the Guardian.

This is predatory journalism. Actually, to use the word journalism degrades that important and often heroic profession. What Rupert Murdoch's company engages in isn't journalism, it's just predatory. Rupert Murdoch thinks of the reading public as so many defenseless and deceivable chumps.

This behavior isn't any different at FoxNews here in the U.S. TruthOut published a very good piece recently about the set of tactics used. The "news" operation is run by Roger Ailes, who is not a newsman but one of the most egregious practitioners of smear politics and dirty tricks, and a deep-dyed Republican. Rolling Stone recently published an excellent and damning portrait of Ailes.

FoxNews makes no pretense of actual truth or decency. Beyond its cynical slogan of "Fair and Balanced" there is no attempt to be either. The stream is all pro-Republican and harshly anti-Democratic 24 hours a day. News is a team sport. it's about winning the political game to push Murdoch's right-wing agenda as hard as it can be pushed and thereby increase Murdoch's personal wealth and corporate power.

The Murdoch operation is a throwback to the ugly press of an uglier time. Shades of Germany in the 1930s, and a period in this country when newspaper magnates bragged about starting wars in order to sell newspapers. The goal of the Murdoch organization isn't to inform but to provoke.

They are willing to intentionally distort and misrepresent clear facts about the most critical issues of our time to toe an ideological line and win a political ballgame. (This piece by Shawn Otto describes how Fox took a Reuters headline about global climate change and changed it to give it the opposite meaning, helping stall efforts to head off the looming calamity.)

What Fox does is insulting and beyond dishonest, it's criminally dishonest. FoxNews has demonstrated again and again that it doesn't deserve to be allowed anywhere near the public airwaves, any more than an embezzler should be handed the presidency of a bank.

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