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Saturday, May 31, 2008 

Murdoch and Obama sitting in a tree?

Rupert Murdoch's lavishing praise for Barack Obama, while stopping short of a complete endorsement, makes it look increasingly likely that the Dirty Digger is intending to swing his stalwart support from the Republicans over to the Democrats come the election.

The reason why Murdoch's gambit is so fascinating is that Obama on most issues is far to the left of Murdoch, and certainly far to the left of the Fox News channel, the New York Post and the Sun, whom lest we forget, former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil told us to read if we wanted to know what he's thinking. It's potentially even more eye-catching that Murdoch switching his support from the Conservatives to New Labour in 1997; Obama is certainly further left than Tony Blair ever was.

As always however, this isn't Murdoch going soft in the head in his adage: it's his typical, some would say cunning, others heartless thinking which abandons politicians or even whole political parties once they are no longer any use to him or when it's obvious that their power is ebbing away. While the presidential election is probably going to be tighter than the polls currently suggest, it's still Obama's to lose at this point. Murdoch, as we know, backs winners. Some Labour figures might take heart from the fact that Murdoch has of yet not showed anything like the praise he gave to Obama to David Cameron, or indeed to the Conservatives as a whole. The Sun especially is still notably sniffy, asking recently exactly what George Osborne would do differently to Alastair Darling.

The contradiction here though is that if Murdoch is close to switching to Obama, then no one yet has informed Fox News, who were at the forefront of the Pastor Wright fiasco, repeating the video of his speech asking his congregation to say "Goddamn America" over and over. Only last weekend a guest joked and laughed about the idea of Obama (and (correction) Osama) being assassinated, while Karl Rove, turd blossom himself, having left the White House is now a regular pundit. There's no prospect of the station's notorious right-wing bias being toned down, but if the network starts being fairer to the prospective Democratic candidate, John McCain just might start to worry.

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Murdoch has no political principles - his politics are solely concerned with what he considers will be financially beneficial to Murdoch.

In the 1930s Beaverbrook and Rothermere had political principles of sorts when they campaigned against Baldwin, who saw them off with his famous rebuke [coined by is cousin Kipling] that they sought "power without responsibility - the prerogative of the harlot down the ages".

Unlike today's politicians who are only too anxious to fawn over Murdoch, Baldwin had the integrity to say that Beaverbrook and Rothermere were the kind of men he would not want to have in his house. Can you imagine Blair or Brown - or Cameron - having the guts to say that about Murdoch?

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