Murdoch rode into town so sure of the BSkyB takeover that he threatened to abandon it if the bid was referred to the Competition Commission, as had been suggested might happen. Murdoch played this hand amidst new allegations that his European News International bribed Royal insiders for personal phone and email accounts of Senior Royals as well as allegations that the former Prime Minster was hacked. Apparently Britain isn’t yet owned by Murdoch (unlike the Junior Miss), as the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, responded swiftly by calling Murdoch’s bluff.
A referral was made.
Fleet Street Business Blog reported, “News Corp’s threat earlier today to abandon its undertaking to spin off Sky News if its bid for BSkyB was referred to the Competition Commission was an aggressive effort to seize control of events. It was duly followed by Mr Hunt announcing the referral.”
Video courtesy of The Telegraph:
It seems that even in the face of the usual Murdoch conservative preemptive cries of “partisanship”, Hunt showed some remarkable fortitude. Pay attention, as I doubt you’ll be seeing anything like this here in America, since our media ownership is no longer regulated and our “news” is wholly owned by corporations whose money (and hacking?) buys our politicians.
Allegations suggesting that reporters bribed Royal protectors for Royal Family private phone and email accounts surfaced today as well as a tape of a “conman working for The Sunday Times” (another News International paper) tricking staff at a solicitors’ firm into handing over information about the sale of (former Prime Minister) Gordon Brown’s flat.” Even more shocking are revelations that Gordon Brown’s children were targeted by News International. The Guardian reports Monday, “Brown has now revealed that his infant son’s medical records were obtained by the Sun. And the paper went on to publish a story about the child’s serious illness. Brown’s tax affairs were the subject of computer hacking. Lawyers were fooled into handing over details from the files.The sheer scale of the assault on Brown’s privacy is mind-boggling.”
Where was Scotalnd yard during all of this? Can you imagine the power of a news organization that can bribe any public official because they broke the law and hacked their way into the private lives of elected officials? If Scotland Yard was turning the other cheek, it doesn’t bode well for the US. In response to the Brown allegations, Sky News just published this NI statement on their website: “News International is “comfortable” that stories it obtained about Gordon Brown’s children came from legitimate sources”. One wonders how they explain this recording.
News Corp’s European News International appears to be using the BBC’s Robert Peston in a possible attempt to undermine the police’s anti-corruption investigation. This demonstrates rather perfectly the problems with one corporation owning substantial chunks of the media. Pesto was on the lunchtime news claiming that senior sources at NI gave him the scoop on the newest developments in the police investigation into their company. It would probably be helpful if Peston worked with police instead of using these seemingly arranged scoops to hinder the ability of police to investigate further.
Murdoch’s big bluff didn’t work; his BSkyB venture appears in doubt. British financial press is speculating that perhaps he will drop his attempts to control British media and instead focus on his very profitable American projects. Apparently they have the same faith in our willingness to put an end to Murdoch’s reign of propaganda as we do.
Yes, Murdoch, will stay in America where we let him get away with selling lies as news and who knows what else. We pay millions of dollars to him (by watching and reading) so that he can sow division and hatred. If Murdoch’s News International hacked Royals, the Prime Minister, 7/7 victims, and 9/11 victims, what exactly do we suppose is going on here, in America.
Murdoch’s “Watergate” is actually not “Watergate”, but the reversal of it. It’s corporate corruption manipulating government. Are you looking back at the spectacular sale of the Big Lies of weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq War, and the Florida election results or the corporate media running to cover for Fox News when President Obama tried to call them out, Former Representative Weiner’s twitter debacle, and so many other curious events and wondering who might have been hacked? I know I am.
This is a good time to ask if the conservative “investigative journalists” like Breitbart and O’Keefe, whose tactics mirror those of News International’s “reporters”, are truly acting alone, or are they a part of a broader political agenda and conspiracy.
Image: Gordon Brown with his wife Sarah and new baby boy James Fraser Brown in July 2006. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA