Updated May 7th 2003

Murdoch: Don't touch that dial (or else)
Well, he certainly killed decent television around the world. The truth is, television has never been very good, but it sure as hell was better in the past than it is today. When TV started there was truly an interest in educating people through the medium. There was some sense of respect for a very powerful, and new, outlet to the people, especially the poor people.

You know, me, I just watch BBC World. Call me a dag if you like, but I really don't need lots of fancy graphics and "news alerts" flashing across my TV screen every 5 seconds. But it's not just those tedious "urgent awareness techniques" that TV loves using. It's like, well, I actually want news. You know, where the man on the TV tells you stuff that's actually happening.

Rupert Murdoch is one of the most powerful mediamen in history. I live in Sydney Australia on a beach called Bondi . It's renowned as the most popular beach in the Southern hemisphere. Don't get me wrong. I'm just a poor bugger living in a popular place. Rupert Murdoch's son Jamie, sold his apartment at the end of my street, a year or so ago. I often watched as the cameras followed him around the beach, as he had the usual fraccas with the girl. Eventually (or not so eventually) he divorced the girl, just like Dad did with his mother after 30 odd years.

Rupert Murdoch owns a massive chunk of the media we experience in our daily lives. And if you ever believe that there's any truth coming out of that media, you'd better have a ton of salt to throw over your shoulder. Let's have a look at Murdochs's personal timeline:

Full name: Keith Rupert Murdoch
Born: 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Australia.
Parents: Sir Keith and Dame Elizabeth Murdoch, née Green.
Married: 1956 - Patricia Booker. Together they had one child, Prudence, born in 1959. The couple divorced in 1960.
1967 - Anna Trov. They met while she was a trainee reporter on The Sydney Daily Mirror and were married for 31 years and divorced in 1998. They had three children, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James.
1999 - Wendy Deng. Murdoch's present wife, grew up in China and met Murdoch whilst working for Star TV. They presently live in New York. Education:
1950 - 1953 Worcester College, Oxford, England.

So why should we not believe in the Murdoch TV we watch? Here are some reasons, given by long-time Free-lance writer Russ Baker (US):

  • "Murdoch did what he could to prevent Bill Clinton's election in 1992, including running stories in his British papers, which were then picked up and published stateside ("blowback" in espionage argot) about matters like Clinton's visit to Moscow during his college days." Murdoch is a supporter of any power that allows for total freedom of broadcasting, to the point that you can use propaganda on your network. A democratic government didn't exactly work for him!

  • "Murdoch uses his diverse holdings, which include newspapers, magazines, sports teams, a movie studio, and a book publisher, to promote his own financial interests at the expense of real newsgathering, legal and regulatory rules, and journalistic ethics. He wields his media as instruments of influence with politicians who can aid him, and savages his competitors in his news columns. If ever someone demonstrated the dangers of mass power being concentrated in few hands, it would be Murdoch."

  • "At the same time, the launch of Murdoch's Fox News Channel (FNC) was treated in the Post with the same sort of urgency as his Australian Pay TV launch in his Australian papers. When FNC was told by Time Warner that the New York City cable position it expected would go instead to MSNBC, Murdoch filed suit. Giuliani intervened on his behalf, on the ground that FNC meant jobs for New York. The Post, too, swung into action. Day after day, it ran headlines, gossip items, and cartoons that alternately tweaked and slammed Time Warner vice chairman Ted Turner (who once intemperately compared Murdoch to Hitler)."

    Have you ever watched FOX NEWS? Gee, what an experience. Murdoch owns this cable network, the most popular news network on cable in the United States, beating CNN hands down. Hey, he also owns Britain's Sky News (bed-buddies), and it certainly showed through the recent war in Iraq, where both the networks borrowed each others "live" coverage of the eh... freedom of Iraq.

    Look, I am an ex-broadcaster, and I know the little tricks we all play to get the news out. But what concerns me is that the fate of a war is no longer dependent on the amount of artillery, or even the skills of an army, it is dependent on the media.

    To win a war in the past, a country had to be defeated in the simplest and most basic (if not, barbaric) terms - that was disgusting in itself. But now it's also about how the media displays what is happening, or how the media distorts it. Of course, propaganda is as old as war itself, but was never as effective as it is today. Murdoch owns over a third of the western world's media. When a war is raging, we're all concerned. But are we being fed a real story on what's actually happening? Well, if one guy who is severly right wing (and not for moral purposes, but for financial ones), is controlling what the "masses" believe, should we be worried? Shit, yeah!

    As someone who used to report the news, I am more than somewhat concerned at how things are going, because they ain't going too good. If the average person believes what they read/hear/see in the news, they are getting a disturbingly distorted view. If that "average" person amounts to the massive audiences watching Fox News (US) or Sky TV (UK) or the other thousands of affialiates around the globe, we have a problem.

    But I don't report the news anymore.

    And I don't watch it/read it/hear it on those networks either. If there's a story I just go to the BBC, the last bastion of real reporting left on the world platform. Shame it's such a secret these days, the old Beeb.

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