Saturday, August 29, 2009

media moguls mixing it

News Corporation chief James Murdoch has called for a radical overhaul of broadcasting in the UK to preserve journalistic independence and fuel innovation.He highlighted the scale of the BBC as a "threat" to independent journalism and hit out at its governing body BBC Trust and media regulator Ofcom, which he described as "unaccountable". He said: "As Orwell foretold, to let the state enjoy a near-monopoly of information is to guarantee manipulation and distortion...The only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit."

Hmmmm...,of course this is not at all related to an earlier annoncement that "News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites...."

SOYMB does not exist to defend the BBC but however the blatant hypocrisy of Rupert Murdoch media empire required a comment .

A "near monopoly of information "? See here for the far reaching extent and diversity of the tentacles of News Corporation holdings.

"Accountability" ? News Corp has 152 subsidiaries in low-tax or no-tax countries, one of only four companies to have more than 100.In 1999, The Economist reported that Newscorp Investments had made £11.4 billion ($20.1 billion) in profits over the previous 11 years but had paid no net corporation tax. It also reported that after an examination of the available accounts, Newscorp could normally have been expected to pay corporate tax of approximately $350 million. The article explained that in practice the corporation's complex structure, international scope and use of offshore tax havens allowed News Corporation to pay minimal taxes.

Murdoch has a history of hosting private meetings with influential politicians and endorsing those favourable to his own political views and objectives and has as the effective owner of his multinational decided editorial policy .

Through the media, the working class is constantly exposed to a significant flow of mind-numbing drivel and misinformation. Important issues of the day are distorted, totally ignored or relegated to the margins of page eleven or broadcast as minor news items on the TV. Sensationalism is used to increase market shares and sell adverts, which thus brings in profits. In this latter regards newspapers can be said to be a means of exposing us to advertisers rather than of telling us what we need to know.. The market for a newspaper is advertisers – other business out to make a profit – and the product us! It would be no bold assertion to say that the editor of a daily tabloid is far more interested in the number of advertisers he attracts than the news he reports – though the latter pulls in the former.

Needless to say the likes of Rupert Murdoch have interests that conflict with those of the workers. Thus it is in their interests that news and important issues we should know about are distorted and kept from us, or presented to us in such a way that we end up with tunnel and distorted vision, unable to make informed decisions or engage in intelligent discussion. Thus the media is very much a part of the indoctrination system, reinforcing the basic social values that ensures the survival of capitalism – passivity and sub-missiveness to authority, the virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or illusory enemies, a suspicion of anything outlandish or threatening to the status quo and national pride, etc.

Because people are misinformed, they are oblivious to the real nature of the system that exploits them. This then makes it easy for the media to confuse the workers by hiding real power from view. The result is – and this is intentional – is that they blame governments, their allegiance to political parties often switching overnight because of a newspaper's slanted coverage of certain policies and social conditions. A newspaper like the Sun can make all the difference to a political party's electoral chances. Hence Tony Blair's visit to Australia to prostrate himself in front of Rupert Murdoch in 1997, fully aware that the Sun can run post election headlines such as “It was the Sun what won it” (which followed one Tory election victory). The fact that it is the capitalist system that is seriously faltering, creating problems governments just can't cope with (because it is the system controlling them, not vice versa) would be too dangerous to print or report.

The mass media, though, has effected another change in the political scene. Where once parliament was intended to function as a forum, representing the views and analysis of “the people”, this can now be achieved by the mass media. Whenever a story breaks, or significant events are occurring, the media produces “community leaders”, and “representatives” of consumers, fishmongers or whatever so-called “interest groups”. Thus, the media can claim to represent the divergent views on a particular topic.
This claim, however, is undermined by the fact that the media self-selects these “representatives”, and by the fact that more often than not, these representatives are not even vaguely appointed by the people they claim to represent. In selecting who can speak, the media exercises power similar to that of the medieval monarch determining who gets to sit in their parliament. Indeed, the modern mass media presents itself as a forum for the people, as the place for representation and for determining legitimacy. It is effectively a third house of parliament, the House of the Mass.The media always lies within the hands of the ruling elites, and so ensures that representation remains within the bounds of holding the existing social relations together.

Will the capitalists be able to stem the flood of working-class socialist consciousness by simply putting an article in the Sun or running a scare story about socialists on the TV? It is precisely when the socialist movement is growing that such tactics will be counter-productive. The more lies an intelligent human is told the more he or she will rebel against the liar. It is now, at a time of majority political ignorance, that such tactics may work, not when workers are getting up off their knees.Sure, those who are deluded can be made more deluded by the media of delusion-making; but can a whole movement which is so strong that the media needs to attack it be forced to regress intellectually as a result of the cunning efforts of the Murdoch press?


JM said...

It's funny he should be worried about England's monopoly of information since news corp. has extensive dealings with the Chinese government.

"[Rupert] Murdoch has flattered Communist Party leaders and done business with their children. His Fox News network helped China’s leading state broadcaster develop a news Web site. He joined hands with the Communist Youth League, a power base in the ruling party, in a risky television venture, his China managers and advisers say."

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a lecture by Jared A. Ball / Hip-Hop and Communication as Domination at