Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Little Rupert Likes To Play

His Dream: To Be Reborn as Joseph Goebbels

Little Rupert Watches His Bestest Favorite Movie, Leni
Reifenstahl's Triumph Of The Will (Graphic: Mongo)

I don't like Little Rupert Murdoch, and I've said so repeatedly. He's spent his entire adult life pouring sewage into the eyes and ears of everyone his blighted, scabrous media touches. He, and the people working for him, are the functional equivalent of pimps, putting girls he knows are HIV-positive out to turn tricks, because there's a buck in it.

Little Rupert's done more to reduce the idea of journalism to nothing but stupefying propaganda, a venue to sell advertising, than even the legendary William Randolph Hearst -- though Rupert hasn't yet outdone his hero, Little Joey Goebbels. Rupert doesn't give a damn what lies he or his people tell, or what they do -- so long as there's a buck (and political influence) in it.

This began with revelations in Britain that between roughly 2001 - 2006, News Of The World, the flagship newspaper of Little Rupert's UK print media empire, had hacked into voicemail accounts of a number of well-heeled and upper-crust members of British society (see "We Regret We Did Not Pay Off The Coppers Better" for background).

The cases were handed over to the British Metropolitan Police, who moved slowly and without much enthusiasm -- possibly because they were being paid, or told, not to. There was even some evidence that members of the Met were being paid by Little Rupert's people for information.

Then, Rupert's former editor at News Of The World became Communications Director [Press Secretary] to the newly-elected conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron -- quite a coup for Little Rupert. However, the poor man finally had to resign this past January when it became clear he may have been involved in decisions to hack those voicemail accounts. Emails have surfaced which indicate he was making what totaled tens of thousands of Pounds in payments to Met Police officers.

It was a scandal with legs, as they say -- and wouldn't go away, even as Rupert moved to pay off some of the victims by settling out of court to the tune of $34 Million US, but others aren't going so quietly. But it was all managble; he could go on doing what he's done before -- make money, buy political influence, spread disinformation and pave the way for his Issue to continue running a right-wing media empire. It's Oligarchical fun at its best, at the peasants' public's expense.

However, News Of The World didn't stop with the access to society gossip their hacking voicemail accounts gave them. The New York Times noted this morning that
A furor has been building in England for months after disclosures that journalists from The News of the World, a mass-circulation Sunday tabloid, hacked into the voice-mail messages of celebrities and other prominent people. But, this week, the extent of the alleged hacking has broadened dramatically with reports that the newspaper hacked the cellphone of a 13-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in 2002...

Additionally, Scotland Yard detectives were also investigating whether the phones of some families of victims of the bombings of three London subway trains and a double-decker bus in July 2005 had also been hacked, according to relatives of the dead...

As the catalog of allegations widened on Wednesday, the BBC reported that News International, the News Corporation’s British newspaper division... had passed material to the police relating to e-mails that seemed to show that payments made to the police for information had been authorized by Mr. Coulson, a former editor of The News of the World who later became [current British Prime Minister] Cameron’s head of communications.
The really fun part here -- whoever at News Of The World was listening to the voicemail account of Milly Dowler heard the anguished, tearful messages of her parents, and then deleted them. As the The UK Guardian, one of the last actual newspapers left in England, said in breaking the story last week:
...As her friends and parents called and left messages imploring Milly to get in touch with them, the News of the World was listening and recording their every private word.

But the journalists at the News of the World then encountered a problem. Milly’s voicemail box filled up and would accept no more messages. Apparently thirsty for more information from more voicemails, the paper intervened – and deleted the messages that had been left in the first few days after her disappearance. According to one source, this had a devastating effect: when her friends and family called again and discovered that her voicemail had been cleared, they concluded that this must have been done by Milly herself and, therefore, that she must still be alive. But she was not. The interference created false hope and extra agony for those who were misled by it.
This made it appear to the police that the 13-year-old girl was checking her own messages and just run away from home -- when she had in fact been brutally murdered. The appearance that Milly was alive made it a missings-persons matter, and not a homicide case. And the difference in what kind of police resources or alert levels would be applied for each is quite different.

As a former investigative Dog with some homicide experience, the farther out in time from the commission of a murder an investigation begins, the harder finding the murderer can become. The actions of Little Rupert's people crosses so many lines that I would have begged a Crown Counselor or District Attorney to throw the fabled Book at whomever was responsible -- everything that would stick, every statute that would apply.

In Milly Dowler's case, her body was found; the perp was caught, tried and convicted. And it is true that the UK press has a reputation for being little more than sensationalistic 'rag sheets' -- News Of The World was a Sunday-only newspaper with a tabloid look, feel and reputation when Little Rupert bought it; but, then, he didn't care. Sensationalism is his metier, and he just wanted an entry into the UK print media market.

This is Murdoch's business model -- to take what had been more-or-less traditional media outlets and turn them into tabloids, where the 'news' leaps from crisis to scandal to titillating gossip and back again. The most important thing isn't accuracy of the newspaper or televison network -- it's readership, ratings; market share. It's about providing "entertainment", even if it's supposed to be news, so that he can charge the highest advertising rates possible.

When, after a long and intense campaign, Rupert finally pried The Wall Street Journal out of the hands of the family which had owned it for generations, legitimate journalists, analysts and commentators left the paper in droves. They knew what was coming, and voted with their feet.

Rupert managed to hold on to enough of the analytic staff to maintain some of the WSJ's reputation for reporting on the Market -- but the rest of the paper has slowly turned into something much less than the New York Times, and just slightly better than the New York Post, another classy Rupert tabloid possession (which put nude shots of Democratic then-governor Elliot Spitzer's rented girlfriend on it's front cover).

Rupert pumps sewage on his customers because he doesn't have a high regard for human beings, generally -- I've always assumed that you lie to or steal from people you don't respect. Little Rupert must hold humanity in utter contempt, since all his media provides is a formulaic, lowest-common-denominator style of entertainment. No truth at all; no accuracy, and no information that isn't right-wing propaganda.

And when you hold your customers (i.e., other people) in contempt, Rupert, you scumbag -- like you, the people who pump that sewage believe they can do whatever they want in pursuit of your goals. You set the example for them to follow. They did what they did because you rewarded them for doing so then and continue to do so, now.

In England, though, it's all very polite. There will be some folderol, but there are more important things than weeping over some dead girl's family; my god, have a bit of perspective. Little Rupert wants to obtain his monopoly of the British television market by purchasing BSkyB, a satellite/cable network -- and the conservative government of Davy Cameron (whom Little Rupert helped to elect) is poised to give it to him. This is important (Oh, and that's the same Davy Cameron who is imposing 'The New Austerity' upon Britain, which is turning his nation's economy into an ugly, unmitigated disaster).

Illegal phone hacking; payoffs to Metropolitan police; and a crafty old Digger trying to muscle control of Britain's television from a bought politician. Doesn't sound like anything unusual in the Oligarch's world, does it? This fracas is all a decided detraction from Rupert's fun and empire-building, and really must cease; they have lawyers to deal with nuisances from the hoi poloi. And, our wealthy elders and betters can't be denied their fun.

O, silly little people: Can't you see it's all just the tears and upset of a bunch of peasants? And that you just can't stop progress?

Or, can you?

Mehr, Mit Hund u. Pferdchen Performanz: Little Rupert makes a public statement, wherin he claims to be shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment, and acts the Good Corporate Citizen:
For the first time, Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corporation, released a statement on the scandal. “Recent allegations of phone hacking and making payments to police with respect to the News of the World are deplorable and unacceptable,” he said.

While promising full cooperation with police investigations, he strongly defended the head of the company’s Britain operations, Rebekah Brooks, who has become a focus of the scandal and was urged to resign on the Parliament floor on Wednesday. “I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations and that is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’ leadership,” he said. “We are committed to addressing these issues fully and have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again.”

Mr. Murdoch said that Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor and current head of the News Corporation’s education unit, would “provide important oversight and guidance” in the investigations while Viet Dinh, a former assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and non-executive director of the company, would keep the company’s board informed of all developments.
Die Nachste: An emotional, personal apology by Little Rupert on British teevee; his voice will even tremble: "Mistakes were made. I take full responsibility", as a lot of people get fired. People will respond Awww; he's just a poor old man.

Following this, Little Rupert gets his monopoly of UK cable teevee, just like he wanted, and was going to have handed to him by the Tories anyway.

Can't stop progress!