It’s been a hell of a week for the Murdochs.
On Sunday, Rupert “Digger” Murdoch released his Sun on Sunday, the tawdry replacement paper for the equally tawdry and now defunct News of the World.
On Tuesday, singer Charlotte Church had a David versus Goliath moment when she took on Murdoch’s “massive corporation with endless resources, [and] a phenomenal amount of power” and won £600,000 in damages, for information illegally obtained by Murdoch’s paper on the singer and her family. As Church told the Independent newspaper that News International were not sorry:
“In my opinion, they are not truly sorry, only sorry they got caught.”
Not a truer word said, for the News of the Screws would have carried on their underhand, illicit and corrupt methods if the Guardian had not been assiduous in their investigation of the whole Phone Hacking Scandal. Indeed, Charlotte Church said she only agreed on the settlement with the News International because they planned “to go after my mother again”.
On Wednesday, James Murdoch announced his resignation from News International - this is damage limitation, possibly as a precaution against future criminal proceedings and against the further tarnishing to the family business. But wait - can Murdoch’s brand be even more tarnished and disreputable? An organization currently under investigation for corruption, bribery and extensive illegal activities?
And all the while the Levenson Enquiry continues.
Of course, there will always be those dumb apologists who make the pitch that without Murdoch we wouldn’t have had this or that or the other. Well, this that or the other, just isn’t so, for if one was to take all the good Murdoch’s papers have allegedly achieved, and weigh it up against the bad it has actually perpetrated across the UK and the world, then the Murdochs would be found sadly wanting.
Murdoch’s suitability to be running a business, let alone a newspaper, is the question posed by respected journalist and broadcaster Peter Oborne, in the Daily Telegraph, where he asks:
Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to run a company?
It may seem an obvious question, but it’s not the sort one expects to find in the conservative Telegraph, where Oborne writes:
Until now, it is only the lesser people who have carried the can for the culture of criminality that flourished inside News International, with the buck stopping with editors such as Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. The time has come to look higher up – and I am not thinking of hapless James Murdoch, who belatedly resigned as the chairman of News International yesterday afternoon.
Rupert Murdoch, the company’s founder, insists that he never had any knowledge of wrongdoing, and no doubt that is true. But he was the man at the top. He took a very keen interest in the way his British newspapers were run (a newspaperman to his fingertips, last weekend he could be seen hard at work in the newsroom as the Sun on Sunday was launched) and it was he, and nobody else, who set the culture.
We learn more about this culture practically every day. It was a culture of bullying and intimidation, where facts were distorted and lies told. It was a culture which merged the boundaries between police, media and the political class. Though brilliant in many ways, it also did a great deal to debase and even to destroy our public life. Now Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen of Australian heritage, is promoting the break-up of Britain through an alliance with Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (they met yesterday).
Murdoch’s culture, we now know for a fact, included the criminal culture at the News of the World. We have also heard the corruption allegations from Sue Akers concerning the Sun. Of course nothing has been proved, but if even half of what she says turns out to be true, then it is time to ask whether Rupert Murdoch is a fit and proper person to run not just a newspaper, but any British public company.
Undoubtedly, Murdoch is a wily businessman, but the core values his business seed and promote are the lowest, most insidious and craven, which clearly reveal Murdoch’s true ambition - his thirst for power.
Read Peter Oborne’s article here.
Details of Don’t Buy The Sun here.
Via the Daily Telegraph