The revolt against Murdochracy: a view from Oz

by John Quiggin on July 10, 2011

The ever-expanding scandal surrounding hacking, bribery, perjury and obstruction of justice by News Corporation in England has already brought about the closure of the venerable (at least in years) News of the World newspaper, but looks likely to go much further, with significant implications for the Murdoch press in Australia, where Murdoch started out in my hometown of Adelaide (I should mention that, despite being born here, Murdoch is not an Australian by either citizenship or residence. He took out US citizenshup citizenship quite a while ago to further his ambitions there) .

The scandal over hacking and other criminal behavior has now become an all-out revolt of UK politicians against Murdoch’s immense political power , which has had successive Prime Ministers dancing attendance on him, and rushing to confer lucrative favors on his News Corporation. Those, like Labour leader Ed Miliband, who are relative cleanskins, are making the running, while PM David Cameron, very close to the most corrupt elements of News, is scrambling to cover himself.

The hacking and bribery scandals appear (as far as we know) to be confined to the UK, but the greater scandal of Murdoch’s corruption of the political process and misuse of press power is even worse in Australia. The Australian and other Murdoch publications filled with lies and politically slanted reporting aimed at furthering both Murdoch’s political agenda and his commercial interests. Whereas there is still lively competition in the British Press, Murdoch has a print monopoly in major cities like Brisbane.

It seems likely that News International will be refused permission for its impending takeover of BSkyB on the grounds that it is not “fit and proper” for such a role. That would have important implications for Australia (and perhaps also for the US, though Australian regulators are more likely to be influenced by UK precedents).

Regardless of how the current scandal plays out, we need to remember that while the Australian productions of News Corporation may be papers, what they print is certainly not news.

{ 70 comments }

1

Ayrdale 07.10.11 at 2:09 am

…betraying your Kiwi roots Sir ?

“citizenshup”

2

John Quiggin 07.10.11 at 2:40 am

D’oh!

3

John S. Wilkins 07.10.11 at 2:41 am

Well that last comment is not entirely true. They sometimes print news by accident.

4

Matt 07.10.11 at 3:20 am

I should mention that, despite being born here, Murdoch is not an Australian by either citizenship or residence. He took out US citizenshup citizenship quite a while ago to further his ambitions there

In Australia, if you take another citizenship, do you have to renounce your Australian citizenship? I ask because the U.S. does not require naturalizing citizens to renounce other citizenships, so one may become a naturalized U.S. citizen and retain other citizenships. (I suppose Murdoch might have renounced Australian citizenship even if not required to do so, too.) It’s not the main issue, but one I’d be curious about if you know.

5

John Quiggin 07.10.11 at 3:57 am

When Murdoch made the switch you had to renounce Oz citizenship. Partly because some pro-Murdoch politicians thought this a bad thing, we now allow dual citizenship, but amazingly, no retrospective exception was made for Murdoch (or perhaps he didn’t ask).

6

John Quiggin 07.10.11 at 4:00 am

@JSW That (and the fact that there are still some decent journalists working for the Oz) only makes things worse. If the stories were reliably false they would have information value.

7

john c. halasz 07.10.11 at 4:40 am

The Church of England investment council has announced that they are considering withdrawing/selling their investment in News/Corp., due to unethical practices and failure of corporate governance, and expresses the hope that others might undertake the same consideration for the same reasons.

8

Myles 07.10.11 at 4:52 am

When Murdoch made the switch you had to renounce Oz citizenship. Partly because some pro-Murdoch politicians thought this a bad thing, we now allow dual citizenship, but amazingly, no retrospective exception was made for Murdoch (or perhaps he didn’t ask).

Well, I suppose they didn’t go as far as Jean Chrétien, who forced Conrad Black to renounce his Canadian citizenship voluntarily in order to take a peerage. (And it looks like Conrad is heading back to jail for another year. And he was a pretty exemplary newspaper owner: most of the time when he disagreed with his editors, he expressed his opinions in letters to the editor alongside their editorials. Oh well.)

9

Joe 07.10.11 at 5:51 am

I’ve always wondered how a person like Murdoch would be viewed in his home country. With a mixture of pride and revulsion I imagine, kind of like how Georgians view Stalin or Canadians view Jim Carrey.

10

Random Lurker 07.10.11 at 8:25 am

Ha Ha! We have Berlusconi but you, you have Murdoch!
Schadenfreude.

11

Steve Williams 07.10.11 at 9:48 am

‘It seems likely that News International will be refused permission for its impending takeover of BSkyB on the grounds that it is not “fit and proper” for such a role.’

‘Likely’ seems too strong to me. I’d go for ‘just about theoretically possible’, instead.

12

Guido Nius 07.10.11 at 9:50 am

Cameron must have profited substantially to be on the inside of so much ‘news’. Now it is going to be all about plausible deniability. After all, now they got him there they’ll need to cut their losses to save the bigger benefit to big society.

13

ejh 07.10.11 at 10:54 am

The Church of England investment council has announced that they are considering withdrawing/selling their investment in News/Corp., due to unethical practices and failure of corporate governance, and expresses the hope that others might undertake the same consideration for the same reasons.

Prior to the last few days, of course, they can have had no idea what sort of people ran News International, nor what sort of things that corporation produced.

14

NomadUK 07.10.11 at 11:04 am

They, as so many others appear to be, were shocked — shocked, I tell you.

15

Randy Paul 07.10.11 at 12:02 pm

He took out US citizenship not merely to further his ambitions in the US, but specifically because Federal law has specific limits on foreign ownership of broadcasting entities. His obtaining US citizenship was done precisely in order to purchase the six Metromedia television stations that formed the nucleus of Fox Broadcasting.

16

peter 07.10.11 at 2:54 pm

I thought Rupert Murdoch’s renunciation of Australian citizenship was accompanied by the transfer of ownership of some his Australian companies to his mother, so that his companies could still satisfy the then rules on domestic ownership of media companies.

17

roger 07.10.11 at 5:58 pm

I think it is pretty optimistic to think that Murdoch won’t eventually take BSkyB. I’d be pleased and frankly astonished. But Murdoch’s reach, into New Labour and the Conservatives alike, isn’t going to be cut off by a tempest that will endure, at most, for two weeks. Instead, I look for some nice face saving gestures – perhaps a takeover partnered with an impartial outside observer board, consisting of people like Tony Blair, as a warrant of integrity.
Never underestimate the power of the wealthy in the age of plutocracy. Surely you must have noticed that the zombie ideas you shot down are triumphing, now, in austerian D.C. – and the anti-regulatory mantra is up and running.

18

Steven 07.10.11 at 8:21 pm

I have to laugh at the ideas of “consequences” and “ramifications.” This is all but a momentary stumble by a giant. He will regain his confident gait in a few steps and continue to plant his boots in our faces for the duration.

By way of clarification: Murdoch does not have “political interests.” What you term as such are strictly commercial interests carried on by other means.

19

bert 07.10.11 at 8:35 pm

Fatalism is often the attitude to have regarding wealth and power.
It means you’re never disappointed.
But I think the chances are you’ve misread this one, Roger. Most obviously, you’re wrong about this being “a tempest that will endure, at most, for two weeks”. All the signs are that the new police investigation is not messing around. As it progresses, we can assume a steady stream of leaks along the lines of the Dowler story. When they do eventually hand it over to prosecutors, people will be charged. You can bet your house on that. It won’t just be ‘rogue’ royal correspondents getting locked up.
On BSkyB, a good early indicator will be what happens with the Labour-sponsored motion in Parliament this week. They’ll be having parliamentary draftsmen working on it right now, getting it to dovetail with the existing rules and procedures. If they can get it right — so that it doesn’t come across as partisan, or just declaratory — it’ll go through with Labour, LibDem and possibly a surprising amount of Tory support. After this week, MPs won’t be in any doubt about their constituents’ views on this. In fact, we might even see the Government preempting the vote with action of their own. If the takeover can be delayed, it’ll be in abeyance until the criminal cases and judicial inquiries are all done, at which point we’ll be in a different world.
Keeping the takeover on track will have been top of Murdoch’s list when he flew in at the end of the week. But where does he apply pressure? On Cameron? He’s not running this.
So, keep faith, and keep following the story. There’s more in this yet.

20

bert 07.10.11 at 9:10 pm

John, am I right that Murdoch’s first business venture, as a kid in Adelaide, was selling horseshit door to door?

21

John Quiggin 07.11.11 at 1:33 am

@bert I haven’t heard that story, but it’s a good one. And certainly, at that time in Adelaide it wouldn’t have been inconceivable. Murdoch has a couple of decades on me, and I can still remember a “bottle-o” with a horse drawn cart, who collected bottles and took them in for what would now be called recycling.

22

P O'Neill 07.11.11 at 1:48 am

Not exactly sure how, but the New York Times continues to have good sources on this one.

23

PHB 07.11.11 at 3:08 am

The real question is whether the investigation will cause the News of the World firewall to be breached. If there are arrests at the Sun it is game over for Murdoch in the UK. The Times loses money and always has done. Sky TV is largely kept running by continuous plugs in the Murdoch press.

If Murdoch ends up forced to sell the Sun he will likely have to shutter his whole UK operation.

Murdoch does not seem to be doing too well in the US either. They just sold MySpace and shuttered other online projects. Avatar goosed profits for a short while but now all the studios have got in on the 3D craze and its no longer such a novelty. Fox News audiences have been dwindling as the Tea Party fever subsides.

News International may have applied the most rigorous standards of public accounting or their books may be as crooked and dishonest as their journalism. If that turns out to be the case there could well be a sudden Enron-style collapse.

24

JP Stormcrow 07.11.11 at 5:28 am

or their books may be as crooked and dishonest as their journalism.

I’ve fantasized about considered the possibility of Murdoch following media mogul form with a Maxwellian implosion of his empire, but I don’t get the sense that there are any legitimate warning signs on the fiscal front. Sigh.

25

Henri Vieuxtemps 07.11.11 at 7:33 am

Fatalism is often the attitude to have regarding wealth and power.

Well, perhaps fatalism in this case is not the belief that Murdoch is Dr.Evil who can’t be defeated; rather it’s that Murdoch’s methods will persist, in one form or another, whether he (as an individual, business owner) is defeated or not.

26

John Quiggin 07.11.11 at 7:45 am

With reference to this specific case, defeating Murdoch would not mean that the press would be transformed into a beacon of truth, but it would nonetheless mean a significant improvement in chances for progressive action throughout the English speaking world.

And that’s typical of the point about fatalism in the broader context: no final victory over capitalism is likely, and every gain can be reversed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make gains and hold them for long enough to greatly improve the lives of ordinary people.

27

belle le triste 07.11.11 at 9:24 am

in just a week, a too-close relationship with a press tycoon has been converted from a net plus into a significant negative for a generation of politics: of course this won’t last forever as a general rule, and yes murdoch is wily, and may be lucky with the poor political skills of some of his foes — though he’s also old, and far from smart about the internet; he’s certainly not lucky with the revealed cross-party scale of the camp suddenly hostile to him, and mutually enthused by this revelation

plus i suspect cameron’s press conference on friday is going to be a scare story for some little while, for any budding prime ministers watching it…

28

Henri Vieuxtemps 07.11.11 at 9:33 am

Well, if one was to view Murdoch’s methods as an innovation in the media and entertainment industry, which certainly seems justified considering that they gave him a market share this large and made him a multi-billionaire, then what is the chance it can be held back long enough?

29

belle le triste 07.11.11 at 9:37 am

The chance is exactly 43.21%

What a silly question.

30

john b 07.11.11 at 9:56 am

The Times loses money and always has done. Sky TV is largely kept running by continuous plugs in the Murdoch press. If Murdoch ends up forced to sell the Sun he will likely have to shutter his whole UK operation.

Yehbutnobut. The Times and Sunday Times are heavily lossmaking and kept afloat by the Sun – but BSkyB is massively profitable, reaches almost 10 million households, and would barely be affected at all if the Sun and Times stopped running plugs for it. That’s why News Corp was planning to pay billions of pounds to buy the 60% of BSkyB it doesn’t own.

31

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 10:21 am

Well, if one was to view Murdoch’s methods as an innovation in the media and entertainment industry, which certainly seems justified considering that they gave him a market share this large and made him a multi-billionaire, then what is the chance it can be held back long enough?

That depends on how far you imagine he has been caught flat footed by a successor innovation: Mason is on sparkling form discussing this. He may be right or he may be a bit off, but it’s a contribution of a different order to most stuff floating about ….

32

Richard J 07.11.11 at 11:01 am

The Times and Sunday Times are heavily lossmaking and kept afloat by the Sun – but BSkyB is massively profitable, reaches almost 10 million households, and would barely be affected at all if the Sun and Times stopped running plugs for it.

Thing is, barely four years back, the Sunday Times was one of the group’s reliable cash cows. NI’s newspaper business is now a low margin business with a very high (as we can see now…) tail risk. If it wasn’t for Murdoch viewing himself as the Great White Hope of the newspaper industry, they’d have flogged it off years bak.

33

Alex 07.11.11 at 11:07 am

Politically, it’s the newspapers that are interesting, though. Sky News’s reach is trivial compared to the national newspapers, the BBC, ITN, or Channel 4 News. The only BSkyB product with reach is Sky Sports.

Actually, come to think of it, take away the football and the whole UK operation would fold up like a house of cards as there is really no other selling point for Sky TV, Sky TV revenues support the papers, and the papers’ political influence protects the whole thing.

The only problem is that the Premiership and the FA are about the only institutions in Britain more whorish than the News of the World, so good luck trying to shame them.

34

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 11:22 am

Alex: no argument from me on your assessment of the morals of the football industry. But they don’t care who pays them, do they? If Sky was owned by someone else they wouldn’t care as long as the moolah kept flowing…

35

Nababov 07.11.11 at 11:23 am

Re#31. Oh yes. I don’t think all the players have all quite grasped yet what and how what’s being played out now but there’s no doubt there’s a bunch of lessons, or least funky new feedback moves, in it all that won’t be lost on future players. “Hacking Rupert” Got a ring to it, hasn’t it?

And as a counterpoint, a last two fingers up sign through the crossword puzzle is so very old school Fleet Street.

36

Guido Nius 07.11.11 at 11:41 am

Thank you for 31. I don’t necessarily think that the upside is twitter or facebook but that the upside rather is that people will learn to make their own minds up and be nonplussed by the drama that is being staged for them. The purpose of the drama is to keep people in a spell where they go in for the preconceived binary divisions presented in the drama. As long as people are in this spell they will not ask questions on what is going on back-stage.

If anything on-line discussions of various sorts (including this sort) tend to play off from the cues of the staged drama. I once tried to coin the term ‘selectorate’ trying to show how the electorate was fully free to choose out of a horrifying few pre-selected options or politicians. I think that same idea is the idea behind the article linked in 31. But current on-line mechanisms are not a threat to that model. Vice versa, with all of the facebook groups they are presently just a re-enforcement of the drama potential; a useful means to up the ante of the drama to keep better and better educated people spell-bound.

Breaking the mechanism of the selectorate requires breaking the spell. The fact that it was impossible for either Murdoch or Cameron to control the NOTW thing means that the pressure on the model is hopefully becoming too big. Not because of twitter or FB or blogging but because information cannot be managed as effectively anymore and in the end that is entirely due to better education and critical thinking skills. Sure, these skills make use of new technology but it is not the technology that needs to get credit for the way it is being used.

Also, the Berlusconi empire is crumbling. These are bad days for command & control. Something to be happy about. Let’s just hope we don’t get a convincing populist able to bring comfort in all of this uncertainty. In the end, crisis situations in which traditional command & control systems collapse are more correlated with populism than with the kind of woolly revolution that never really happened (instead the revolutions that did happen were nothing else as some meta-drama staged by future tyrants).

Glad to have that off my chest ;-)

37

Henri Vieuxtemps 07.11.11 at 11:56 am

The fact that it was impossible for either Murdoch or Cameron to control the NOTW thing means that the pressure on the model is hopefully becoming too big.

Or that they’ve gone too far this time, found the limit.

38

Guido Nius 07.11.11 at 12:19 pm

Well, no, the limit is moving and it has found them.

39

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 12:23 pm

#34.

Perhaps you’re right. Things are so fast moving at the moment it would be ridiculous to rush to judgement. But I do note a Paul Mason tweet this am:

“O25% of conversations on Twitter mentioning #NOTW keywords also mentioned one of the targeted brands.” http://t.co/QwVDAoo

I am edging towards a feeling that we should stop trying to append a ‘gate’ suffix to this crisis al la Watergate, and up the stakes in the naming game. The NYT has spoken of ‘a British spring’ and ‘democracy breaking out’. I keep playing with analogies with the last days of East Germany in my head but can’t find a way to construct a phrase out of this line of thinking which doesn’t sound ridiculous.

Or doesn’t sound ridiculous at this time, anyway.

40

Henri Vieuxtemps 07.11.11 at 12:24 pm

I hope you’re right.

41

Guido Nius 07.11.11 at 12:26 pm

That makes two of us.

42

SamChevre 07.11.11 at 12:32 pm

Following this at a distance and feeling like I missed something–is this still the “News fo the World was tapping government officials phones” scandal, or something else.

All things considered, I’m rather in favor of more, not less, scrutiny of government officials.

43

Doug 07.11.11 at 12:49 pm

Prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act would be dandy, a prosecutor with the stones to break out RICO would be better still.

44

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 12:50 pm

#42 It feels like something else entirely now. NOTW was just a jumping off point.

It’s about direct police corruption & the structural cravenness, verging on corruption, of an entire political class for a generation or more.

The beeb is saying the royal family’s security was put at risk as the NOTW bribed the police security for their contact details; Gordon Brown is due to make a statement on ‘the activities of the Sunday Times’ this pm; the LibDems seem certain to vote with Labour to prevent News Corporation’s BSkyB takeover bid going ahead before all the phone-hacking inquiries have concluded. Miliband appears to have grown a pair at last, and Cameron seems off balance.

I’m now toying with the idea that the Italian manu pilute moment may prove to be a closer analogy than the fall of the Berlin Wall

45

Matt McIrvin 07.11.11 at 12:53 pm

It wasn’t just government officials.

46

SKapusniak 07.11.11 at 1:04 pm

SamChevre. Yes, you’re missing something, the latest round got going when the story moved from politicians and actors and royals, and people famous for being famous to: ‘The News of the World is tapping of the phones of Missing White Girls who subsequently turn up murdered, in the process deleting voice mail message that might have been evidence’.

Then ‘…and also the phones of victims of terrorist attacks’, ‘…and their relatives’, ‘…and the relatives of service members killed in Afghanistan’, ‘…and paying bribes to the police to turn a blind eye, and/or get the access necessary to tap the phones’, ‘…and tapping the phones of the other police investigating the murder of
a private investigator the News of the World had themselves previously employed’. ‘…and being promoted up into the ranks into senior management positions of News International and/or going through to revolving door to heads of commuication for political parties’, ‘…whilst issuing dark threats of vengance against anyone who might cross them’.

47

Alex 07.11.11 at 1:07 pm

the LibDems seem certain to vote with Labour to prevent News Corporation’s BSkyB takeover bid going ahead before all the phone-hacking inquiries have concluded.

And who’s going to vote against? Where’s the pro-Murdoch lobby?

48

SKapusniak 07.11.11 at 1:22 pm

And who’s going to vote against? Where’s the pro-Murdoch lobby?

The pro-Murdoch lobby among MPs will be the ones who still don’t believe that they can collectively succeed in taking Murdoch down all the way, and therefore that the prospect of vengence from News International for being crossed is still a credible threat.

‘If you strike at the King you must kill him’.

49

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 1:23 pm

On the beeb, Peston is saying that the NOTW emails show their royal correspondent asking for money from then-editor Andy Coulson to buy a stolen confidential directory of the royal family’s landline telephone numbers.

Coulson, for those outside these shores, was Cameron’s spinmeister until very recently and was arrested at the end of last week. So I think he’s now definitely out of the game – and Cameron is <i.seriously</i. wounded on the judgement issue. Hard to be a toff, even a modern 'call me Dave' type toff, and hang round with bounders who try to bug Her Majesty.

50

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 1:26 pm

[WTF happened there then?]
Coulson, for those outside these shores, was Cameron’s spinmeister until very recently and was arrested at the end of last week. So I think he’s now definitely out of the game – and Cameron is very, very seriously wounded.

It’s all very well giving people second chances, but when you’re a toff, even a ‘call me Dave’ type toff, you can’t hang round with bounders who want to illegally bug her Majesty. He’s now Flashman, once and for all and for ever and may yet become politically toxic.

51

belle le triste 07.11.11 at 1:37 pm

Eh? Everyone loves Flashman! He farted his way down the Valley of Death!

52

Alex 07.11.11 at 1:41 pm

But Cameron isn’t Flashman. Not by a long chalk.

George Osborne might have been the early Flashman (i.e. a cowardly, enormously arrogant thug with very little to redeem him who prospers because he’s surrounded by idiots). Boris Johnson might do for the late Flashman.

Earnest, churchy Dave? Just the sort of public-school hero Flashman constantly mocks, cuckolds, and betrays.

53

ejh 07.11.11 at 1:42 pm

Meanwhile in buffoon news, Clegg calls on Murdoch to “do the decent thing”. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

54

ejh 07.11.11 at 1:42 pm

Meanwhile in buffoon news, Clegg calls on Murdoch to “do the decent thing”. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

55

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 1:48 pm

I bow to the collective knowledge of those with more extensive knowledge of public school stereotypes than me.

But it wouldn’t be hard to spin this is into a question of the fundamental integrity of the state itself, would it? I mean if her Maj ain’t the state who is? So what’s her Prime Minster doing harbouring a spy representative of a foreign power in his personal retinue? I merely observe that Willie Brandt resigned for that sort of thing

( & ,yes, I know this is pushing it: but what would you do if you were Miliband this afternoon/)

56

Alex 07.11.11 at 1:52 pm

The thing is, though, there’s not much percentage in being a Murdoch loyalist in Parliament now.

It’s the numbers; all the Labour MPs will vote the right way, because they consider this a tribal issue, because it’s the best chance to fuck over the government they’ll ever get, because a lot of them have personal grudges against the Murdochs and also the Met, and because the whips will make damn sure they do.

The Lib Dems will vote the right way. They never had time to get into bed with Murdoch in the very brief transition from irrelevance to doomed coalition partner. And they have a grudge about Vince Cable.

I can’t see any help coming from the Scottish or Welsh nationalists, from Northern Ireland, or from the one Green. Coulson is involved in a specific scandal in Scotland (the Sheridan e-mails), and Ian Paisley Jr. has been demanding that the police investigation covers Northern Ireland affairs.

So that could be a majority there. The Tories are divided, too. A lot of the traditional rightwing ones seem to have a special down on NI, like Peter Oborne. It’s the shiny faced libertarians like Gove who actually like it.

If you strike at the king you must kill him. True. But you really don’t want to sign up as bodyguard to a king who isn’t going to win. The more votes there are against the BSkyB deal anyway, without your intervention, the less valuable a promise of future retaliation is.

57

StevenAttewell 07.11.11 at 1:57 pm

SKapusniak – Murdoch is no Omar. Indeed.

58

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 3:01 pm

This is the gift which just keeps on giving.

The Guardian are running a story that Gordon Brown was a NI target whilst both PM and Chancellor. Not just the NOTW, but also the Sun and, especially, Sunday Times seem involved. Phone, bank details, family medical records – it looks like full spectrum surveillance. Or, to put it another way, given he was either number 1 or number 2 in the govt at the time, straightforward spying.

Ok: we’ve moved on from the ‘one rotten apple’ journalistnot being a viable defence for the Murdoch empire to the ‘one rotten apple’ paper not being a viable defence……

59

JP Stormcrow 07.11.11 at 3:41 pm

Not that it is materially relevant to the overall News Corp. empire (other than last opportunity), but this write-up at Ars Technica on the ~$1B reverse-Midas act with MySpace makes a gratifying read.

60

JP Stormcrow 07.11.11 at 3:42 pm

“lost opportunity” not “last”

61

Substance McGravitas 07.11.11 at 3:49 pm

Well, I suppose they didn’t go as far as Jean Chrétien, who forced Conrad Black to renounce his Canadian citizenship voluntarily in order to take a peerage.

A tragedy approaching the import of wondering where that matching sock went.

62

bert 07.11.11 at 4:31 pm

Competition Commission? Excellent.
Now they’re forum-shopping for regulatory oversight.
Jeremy Hunt is utterly feeble.

Can you hear the drums?
OFCOM, OFCOM, OFCOM …

63

Phil 07.11.11 at 4:47 pm

Last week we were talking about the NOTW, over the weekend we were talking about News International, and today we’ve started talking about News Corporation. You pull one loose thread…

Incidentally, the Latin manus (hand) is 4th declension and feminine; as a result the Italian mano (pl mani) is feminine & takes adjectives ending in -a, or -e in the plural. Hence ‘mani pulite’, ‘clean hands’.

Who has clean hands in this one is less clear – it seems to be mostly repentant sinners, of varying degrees of sincerity & resentment.

64

CharlieMcMenamin 07.11.11 at 5:30 pm

OK , add Italian grammar as well as public school stereotypes to the increasingly long list of things I don’t know about.

65

AntiAlias 07.11.11 at 6:25 pm

Ha Ha! We have Berlusconi but you, you have Murdoch!

Low blow, man.

66

Phil 07.11.11 at 8:35 pm

I wouldn’t worry about it – not knowing that ‘mano’ is feminine is a *long* way down the list of Things Non-Italian Speakers Don’t Get (well below ‘panino’, and no one with any sense complains about that).

67

dr_eats_babies 07.11.11 at 11:22 pm

this comment is fake

68

ajay 07.12.11 at 8:38 am

I’ve always wondered how a person like Murdoch would be viewed in his home country.

Well, as we can see, with firm denials that it is in fact his home country.

(“If I am right, the Germans will call me a German and the French will call me a citizen of the world; if I am wrong, the French will call me a German and the Germans will call me a Jew.”)

69

bert 07.12.11 at 6:36 pm

Minute-by-minute tracker of BSkyB’s share price today:
http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/files/2011/07/Sky-chart.jpg
Spot the moment the Government announced it’ll be voting with Labour tomorrow.

Murdoch’s offer price is 700.
The market has its doubts, shall we say.

70

Meg Thornton 07.16.11 at 2:42 pm

Ajay @68 – it’s not that we’re denying he was born here. But he left. He left, and he didn’t come and get his Australian citizenship back when he was able to. He effectively said we didn’t damn well matter. So why the flying heck should we claim him as one of ours? He doesn’t want to be an Aussie, that’s fine by me.

Now, if we could just get our politicians to act on tightening our cross-media ownership rules back up again (after they were loosened like a set of cut stay-laces in the 1980s – 1990s) so that Messr’s Murdoch, Packer and Fairfax can start sharing the rather small Aussie media ownership pond (puddle, really) with a few other people, we might just see some actual journalism happening over here.

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