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Murdoch's Last Stand

The bid for BSkyB was withdrawn an hour ago, and while there isn't quite dancing in the streets, there certainly is on the internet. Murdoch has as many defenders as Moamar Ghadaffi.

The announcement came after the formal statement to Parliament by Cameron, and a PM's questions which must have convinced NewsCorp lawyers that to go ahead would have been ridiculous, especially considering the Commons unanimous vote of no-confidence in Murdoch tonight. And naturally, the ordeal of answering questions to next Tuesday's select committee can now be avoided.
What might not be so easy to duck are the possible charges under US law related to allegations that the families of 9/11 victims were hacked. Or the continuing market dive in in NewsCorp shares. And if, as everyone believes Murdoch is not a fit and proper person to own all of BSkyB, then he is not a fit and proper person to own any of it. But exactly how far NewsCorp falls depends on how much effort ordinary people put into pressurising companies not to advertise with any of their outlets, as they did last week when sinking the News of the World.
And if NewsCorp is vulnerable to public outrage, which corporations are safe? Murdoch is being run out of town on a rail. This is what happens when you give people to much power over information in an age when information is power.
Murdochosaurus Rex is just another dinosaur destroyed by a change in the technological climate, and a meteor called Milly, in his case. In Tunisia, the meteor was called Mohamed Bouaziz, but the climate was just as inhospitable to tyrants.

Anyone who thinks nothing has changed is beyond hope. A dinosaur. You simply cannot go about giving vast numbers of people control over information without giving them power. And in an age when information is power, that is lethal, especially to those whose business is the monopolisation of information (and therefore power). Murdoch was destroyed by the shift from the capital intensive push-media world to the mad internet world which gives us all a voice. And it is instructivbe that the branch of the media which resisted all attempts to smother the truth were the least profitable, like the Guardian, or the one which has no shareholders to answer to at all, namely the BBC. Thank god for the BBC. If Murdoch had not been exposed, future of the the BBC was very shaky. It was the main target in his sights after the BSky B acquisition.


  1. Through Avaaz, 150,00 letters arrived in Westminster opposing the bid last week and an on-line petition was being signed at more than one person per second. This was a victory of the people and any MP would have been foolhardy to ignore this volume of opinion. However Murdoch may be down but he is not out. He will bide his time to make another bid when the heat cools in say 18 months time, meanwhile hiving off his newspapers which are loss makers. He will see that the power of the written word has passed to the internet and his newspapers are no longer of much use to him. The battle must go on. We should start by demanding that the PM and every govt. Minister publishes a daily list of all their meetings, official and unofficial with every organisation, business or their representatives.

  2. It's up to us to demand the standards which commercial print journalism obviously cannot provide in its dotage. But the crucial legislation would be to limit media ownership to one or two companies. After that, they could pretty much do what they want.


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