The growing and very dirty scandal in Great Britain involving Rupert Murdoch and phone hacking has revealed what Murdoch really thinks about democracy. He thinks it is for sale.
"What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will never do an evil thing ... he will just bit by bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance. Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women." From Broadcast News: screenplay by James L. Brooks
He believes he can own it by writing a check. Liberals have always hated him. Now conservatives should be even more appalled. He wrapped himself in a conservative costume, but he was just an ordinary crook underneath.
The phone hacking at the root of the British mess gives us a whiff of the real smell of corruption underneath, at Murdoch's News Corp.
The revelations began in 2006, when members of the royal family began to notice that the voice messages on their phones--which they had not listened to yet--were being filed away as if they had.
We all have remote ways to listen to our voice mail, and reporters in London had figured out how to subvert this and listen to practically anybody's messages--Prince's William and Harry in particular.
When the story broke five years ago, a reporter for Murdoch's News of the World and a private investigator were convicted of invasion of privacy and given short prison sentences. End of problem, Murdoch figured.
Meanwhile, the practice seems to have not just continued, but expanded. In addition, staff from News Corp. ended up in cushy jobs at the top of Britain's government, and, surprise surprise, at Scotland Yard. With all that, officials of the government, celebrities, murder victims' families, and anyone involved in any news story whatsoever noticed that odd thing happening: cell phone messages they hadn't listened to, rolling over as if they had.
The on-going cover-up of the on-going hacking turns out to have been even worse than the hacking. And it seems to rest on Murdoch's desire to purchase the rest of a multi-billion dollar British satellite news system, BSkyB. Billions at stake there.
So what has this to do with us in the United States?
A liar is a liar wherever he goes, and Murdoch has worked so hard with his lawyers to pay off the victims of his reporters' hacking, it is obvious the knowledge of this went straight up to him.
In the US, we should now find all Murdoch news outlets suspect: especially Fox News, where Murdoch is known for putting potential Republican presidential candidates--from Sarah Palin to Newt Gingrich--on his payroll. You must ask yourself what he expects for his money.
For my money, the Wall Street Journal, and Fox News are both now tainted. And though I had welcomed a new point of view on the air, and have enjoyed watching Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly--both well-informed, well-educated, former Washington correspondents now working for Fox--they too must now look to their values.
Do they really want to be associated with this guy? Yes, his news babes are all blonde and beautiful. ("And he'll get all the great women.")
Rupert Murdoch is no conservative. He's a corrupt opportunist.
Buy a subscription to National Review. Murdoch, with Marx, belongs on the ash heap of history.
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