I don’t think it is only a coincidence that the English-speaking countries who are suffering at the hands of right wing kleptocratic governments in which inequality is rising, are those where Rupert Murdoch, via the American multinational mass media company, News Corporation (trading as News Corp) has large media interests. Those countries are the US, UK and Australia1.

In Australia, News Corp owns the national Australian newspaper, the online news site news.com.au, and has a 45% share of Australian Associated Press. It also owns the Daily Telegraph (Sydney), the Herald Sun (Melbourne), the Courier Mail, Brisbane News (Brisbane), the Advertiser (Adelaide), the Sunday Times (Perth), the Mercury, Sunday Tasmanian (Hobart), Northern Territory News and Sunday Territorian (Darwin). The company also owns numerous smaller suburban and regional newspapers. It also owns Sky News, and 50% of Foxtel1.

In the United States, News Corp owns the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, while in the United Kingdom, it owns The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times1. In addition to News Corp, Murdoch also owns the Fox News Channel, a cable and satellite television news channel, which is viewed mostly in the US2.

In the United States all of the Murdoch-owned media are extremely supportive of the Republican Party. Indeed, the Fox News Channel is so supportive of the Republicans, and especially the Trump presidency, that they are even now attempting to discredit the Mueller investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign team and the Russian government3. In the UK, Murdoch’s outlets are very supportive of the Conservative Party4, along with others of the yellow press, such as the Daily Mail4,5.

In Australia, Murdoch outlets unambiguously supports the Liberal National Coalition, even though it is now generally acknowledged to be one of the worst governments the nation has had for a long, long time6,7. This support has even been to the extent of covering up the Joyce scandal for 3 months or more, despite it being in the Independent in mid-November of 20178. Why does Murdoch do this? He is naturally conservative and simply loves to exercise power for its own sake9. He is also largely concerned with profit and conservative governments are more likely to decrease corporate taxes and regulation, and are less concerned with workers’ rights or their having a decent wage; all these add to Murdoch’s bottom line.

Those countries where Murdoch doesn’t own extensive media interests currently have relatively progressive governments; namely Canada and New Zealand. While this has not been the case in the past, Murdoch has extended the life of regressive governments beyond their use-by date. Since neoliberal economics is history and social conservatism is history; the ethos of regressive governments is history. When we get a progressive government, then we can perhaps decrease the malevolent power of Rupert Murdoch. Regulators in the UK have stopped Murdoch attempting to take over Sky10, so there is a realisation in the UK that he has too much power. However, recent news indicates that British PM, Theresa May, will allow Murdoch to take over Sky as long as he supports her at the next general election. Murdoch also has too much power in Australia, but governments have been too afraid to take him on. This is doubly true of the Liberal National Coalition. They will never do anything, as he has been their biggest supporter.

Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/19/how-fox-news-cried-coup-over-mueller-investigation
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/03/which-parties-are-the-uk-press-backing-in-the-general-election
  5. http://www.blotreport.com/media/daily-mail-only-good-for-budgie-cages/
  6. http://www.essentialvision.com.au/best-government-in-last-10-years
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2016/jun/14/new-research-abbott-and-turnbull-the-worst-economic-managers-since-menzies
  8. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/exclusive-barnaby-joyce-peeling-back-the-rumours,10942
  9. https://theconversation.com/murdoch-and-his-influence-on-australian-political-life-16752
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/23/theresa-may-rupert-murdoch-sky-regulator

 

2 Comments

  • Jim says:

    An interesting proposition. I am not sure how correct it is, but there is a lot of food for thought. In any case it is grim state of affairs when so much of the print media is in so few hands. Murdoch dominates and Fairfax has a fair slice of the rest. One of the unfortunate recent developments is that the major players have gobbled up quite a lot of country newspapers as well. For example, a couple of years ago I was disturbed to learn that Fairfax now owns both the Launceston Examiner and the Burnie/Devonport Advocate. Incidentally Murdoch taking over the Hobart Mercury would have made no difference to the political comment. When I was a student in Hobart in the sixties The Mercury was totally right wing. I can still remember their bad tempered editorial after the ALP won the 1964 state election quite easily–it finished “if that is how Tasmanians want it then they deserve what they get” or words to that effect.

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