The matter with Murdoch

“News Corporation’s Board of Directors and management are committed to strong corporate governance and sound business practices.” So speaks the Corporate Governance page of News Corporation’s website. Well, umm…

It’s worth remembering that News Corporation doesn’t just own the (late, unlamented) News of the World, the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times. It also owns Twentieth Century Fox, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Dow Jones, Harper Collins and a large chunk of BSkyB. Among others. And the one consistent thing about all of them is the cultural DNA that they share: Rupert Murdoch’s. The sickening behaviour uncovered at the News of the World is a direct result, but it won’t be restricted just to that old rag. Wherever Murdoch presides, the culture he creates is pervasive.

Conrad Black, Robert Maxwell, Randolph Hearst – remember them? But Murdoch’s isn’t just megalomania on a grand – you could say grandiose – epic scale. It’s much, much more sinister than that. And we’re only just beginning to see it uncovered now.

I watched Newsnight the other night, to see Alan Rusbridger, among others, suggest that there was much to be grateful to Murdoch for: he’s a newspaperman through and through, after all. But I can’t agree. If the health of British newspaper publishing depends on what Murdoch and his like have done for it, then I’d rather do without them altogether, thanks very much.

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