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The Milly Effect

The Wapping-gate scandal has reached America, and shares in News International are falling again, in spite of the sacrificial offering of News Of The World. Renault has announced a review of advertising by all News International outlets, and there seems to be a new campaign every hour to prevent the takeover of BSkyB.
The abuse of Milly Dowler is universally despicable, not just to Britons. And Murdoch's lofty indifference in Palm Springs is making things much worse. Americans think he should be trying to save his empire by meeting with the offended families, and apologising to them face to face, rather than sacking hundreds of innocent workers at a stroke. In Britain, that thought hasn't crossed anyone's mind. We know him too well. And now we also know his appalling son, and his toxic protege Rebekah Brooks and their sidekick Andy Coulson. And arch-reptile Glen Mulcare. And what a crew they are. And the more people are exposed to them, the more likely they are to vomit at the sight of any NewsCorp production.
How far the disgust will spread across the Junk-sheet market is hard to say. And the mysoginy, bigotry, racism, and lynch-mob mentality won't end even if News Corp disappeared overnight. But the assumption of innocence has gone. And as Liverpool proved, people do have long memories. It is no longer possible to claim that 'lively' tabloid journalism is 'just a bit of fun', when the cost is a corporate Big Brother scrutinising the private lives of anyone it pleases. That proposition has offended a core part of the British identity, ironically enough for a brand parading in the Union Jack whenever profitable. And so the junk press will always now be under suspicion.
The culture is changing 
mainly  because of the shift from print to the internet. The surge of pressure on companies not to advertise in the News of the World came via social network outrage, and so it had to close. And after this experience, there will be pressure on newspapers in future to convince readers that their stories are from ethical sources. In effect, the public will adopt an editorial role. Rupert Murdoch will think what we tell him to think...
This is another example of the internet at work, creating the sense of significance which makes things happen. By giving people a voice, and subjecting their opinions to instant peer-review, the internet is creating a far more sophisticated population than ever. One in which there are far too many lawyers for comfort. If you're a crook.
The other amazing effect is that politicians are suddenly not afraid of News Corp anymore. Which is another echo of Tahrir Square worth wallowing in for a while, and something we haven't seen in 30 years, and which could radically change the political atmosphere. Especially when it is remembered that the disaster of NuLabour was a direct response to the political power of the Murdoch empire. If only that embryonic political courage can be translated into genuine moral purpose, and the rest of the consumerist toxins purged from the culture, the memory of Milly Dowler might be honoured appropriately. After all, it was the same paranoid, sadistic tabloid agenda which perverted the minds of creatures like Levi Bellfield in the first place, and which drives thousands of other teenage girls into depression and worse. The fact that people everywhere should take such instant and furious offence on her behalf is a blazing testimony to something real  and deep and shared. There is that to be grateful to Rupert Murdoch for, indirectly, even though it contradicts everything he represents.
Murdoch rose by peddling a debased version of humanity, and by debasing humanity as much as possible to increase the market. But producing this muck week after week so desensitised his operatives that they saw nothing wrong with tapping the phone of a murdered child. Murdoch's influence is broken by his own product. At last the shit comes home to roost, which must surely be a lesson to all other kinds of consumerist pornographers and drug dealers.

It seems like most of accepted, received 'history' is also going to have to be re-evaluated. If the myth of Murdoch is punctured, as now seems the case, so are the myths he created, like 'The Loony Left', 'Political Correctness', 'Chavs', 'Scroungers' and the entire cast-list of grotesque scapegoats in his fantasy world. This is another tipping point in a very important year.


  1. Anonymous4:25 pm

    At last a journalist is not blaming the public for buying Murdoch's newspapers. I am fed up with all the people queueing up to say it is our fault for buying the papers when we did not know how the information was obtained. As soon as we, the public, were made aware we rose up in disgust. Thank you so much for finally speaking out on our side and placing the blame where it lies on Mr Murdoch's slimy shoulders.

  2. OI! You calling me a journalist?
    Shucks. Thanks.


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