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Friday, July 06, 2007 

Another one bites the dust.

It seems Brillo Pad Neil got a little ahead of himself in reporting that Murdoch had succeeded in his $5bn bid to purchase the Wall Street Journal from Dow Jones, but it does now look as if Murdoch is going to succeed in getting his filthy mits on the world's largest and most influential business newspaper.

The dissent about the sale of yet another newspaper with major clout to Murdoch's stable hasn't been so much about how it will instantly swing to the right - the WSJ op-ed pages are so right-wing that they make the Times' look like the Socialist Worker's by comparison - but how the editorial independence which it currently enjoys will instantly come under Murdoch's clunking fist.

Editors at the Times and Sunday Times have in the past hilariously offered their opinion that Murdoch has never interfered with their work, and while he certainly doesn't exercise the same sledgehammer with which he orders about the staff on the Scum and News of the Screws for instance, it's more than apparent that one of the reasons why he doesn't need to do so is that his selected editors either agree with him or know that to potentially contradict his own views would instantly constitute the sack. No amount of promises about how he won't interfere with the independence of the paper will alter the one major piece of evidence we have about how he almost by stealth makes certain that his newspapers across the globe follow his own views.

In the run up to the Iraq war, one of the few people who was prepared to talk about oil in connection with the eventual invasion was Murdoch himself. He stated in an interview with the Australian magazine that:

"The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy...would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country."

Not freedom for the Iraq people then, or the removal of a dictator with weapons of mass destructions, but rather the emancipation of the country's oil for the betterment of mankind.

Amazingly, every single one of Murdoch's 175 editors agreed with his stance on Iraq. Even in China, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, every newspaper supported the Iraq war, even if they weren't as gung-ho as the Scum was. 4 years and 650,000 lives later, even if you were to do a similar survey now you'd likely find that every single one of those newspapers was still at least supportive of the invasion, if not of the aftermath.

The Wall Street Journal itself has at least got in its detailed, well-sourced article on how Murdoch has in the past meddled and dabbled with the editorial line of his other papers. It might well be one of the last chances it'll ever have to be critical of him again, so treasure it.

And just in case you think that Murdoch could never get away with introducing the equivalent of the Fox News Channel here, Ofcom yesterday put into place the first steps towards what could be the abandoning of the impartiality rules governing news broadcasts, because "ethnic minorities and the young are failing to engage with it". Sky News has never exactly been the most restrained news broadcaster, but the threat of having Sun News ought to be enough to send a shiver down the spine of anyone who believes in the dissemination of the truth, as the study into the misperceptions surrounding the Iraq war showed.

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