Murdoch – a toxic stream since 1919 . . .

Heinz Fuchs, poster, Germany, 1919

An  article in Counterpunch reveals the true legacy of the Murdoch newspaper empire stretches back to those defining years just after World War One at the beginning of the last century.

During the recent hearing into the phone-hacking scandal in the British Parliament – when Rupert Murdoch received a pie in the face despite the efforts of his wife to apprehend the shaving-foam assassin –  he claimed that his father ['a modest newspaper proprietor'] had left him one small provincial newspaper to run, which Rupert had then transformed into a media empire.
He also made claims about his father’s role in exposing the ‘scandal of Gallipoli’, which Ian Jack in The Guardian dismissed as – at the least – an exaggeration;
Sir Keith was “not rich” only by Rupert’s standards, and the disclosure of the mess at Gallipoli owed at least as much to the Daily Telegraph’s reporter, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, as to him.
The article in Counterpunch describes how ;
Rupert’s father, Sir Keith, founded the dynasty during World War I as a dirty-tricks minion for “Billy” Hughes, probably Australia’s nastiest prime minister.
It then tells how after a malicious anti-semitic campaign against the Jewish General in charge of  the Australian troops – which failed – Keith Murdoch threw the weight of his paper’s influence behind the parties at Versailles who were determined to exact the cruellest vengeance on the German population.
Already starving, and with large areas of Germans being either ethnically-cleansed or handed over to neighbouring powers, the continuing blockade as well as the financial sanctions imposed on the German economy proved a fertile ground for the early versions of the Nazi party – the Freikorps and Nationalists – to grow and prosper in the desperate climate.

At Versailles, Keith was Billy’s ever-present aide in striving to make the Peace Conference into a vicious cock-up, rich in racist and imperialist content. Curiously, the pair would have had zero leverage but for the failure of a plot of Keith’s, which sought in 1918 to remove Australia’s battlefield commander on the Western Front, John Monash, for being an unheroic Jew. (Monash wrote home that it was a bore having to fight a “pogrom” at the same time as fight Ludendorff.) The overall commander, General Douglas Haig, wouldn’t play: and Monash’s divisions led the British breakthrough at Amiens which, ruining Ludendorff, put Germany – suddenly, unexpectedly– at the Allies’ mercy. Haig and other soldiers hoped there might be space for a decent peace. But politicians of various brands thought otherwise and none outdid Keith’s boss in vengeful demagoguery,  destroying at last all the credit Monash had gained for Australia. Billy and Keith weren’t prime authors of the Versailles debacle in 1919. But none toiled harder in its cause.

Murdoch’s other smokescreen – that he is an outsider battling the Establishment; a representative of the common man is also demolished in another Counterpunch article called The Phony Populism of Rupert Murdoch ;

The ‘Dirty Digger’ himself might have lacked the right accent, but even when he was first challenging the newspaper establishment, he was scarcely proletarian. Murdoch inherited his first paper, the Adelaide News, from his father, Sir Keith; he did his schooling at Geelong Grammar, a quintessential finishing college for the rich and entitled that also educated a young Prince Charles.

The journalist David Marr tells of attending a lecture in which Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert’s son, denounced the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for drawing attention to his shenanigans in the mobile phone business: the particular program in question was, he said, a ‘disgracful and biased attack’ by ‘our media elite’. So powerful has the peculiar vocabulary of New Class anti-elitism become that a man born into the most powerful media dynasty the world has ever seen can still present himself, without any trace of irony whatsoever, as an outsider being done down by society’s rulers.

Since Murdoch’s appearance at the Parliamentary Committee, a number of other significant developments;

  • Evidence given by James Murdoch to the Committee concerning his knowledge of the endemic phone-hacking at News International has been called into question by various ex-NI executives and ex-employees.His agreement to a massive payout to keep a case out of a public court now looks like an attempt to pervert the cause of justice.
  • A laptop and phone in a bag found near Rebekah Brooks’ house has been claimed by her husband, who claims that she has nothing to do with either, and is attempting to retrieve said items from the police. This story was covered extensively for two days, and then disappeared from the media. Mr Brooks is an old Etonian racehorse owner.
Sean Hoare, the former News of the World journalist who first claimed Andy Coulson had knowledge of phone hacking.

Sean Hoare, the former NOTW journalist; the first to claim Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking.

  • Sean Hoare, a real journalist and the first real ‘whistleblower’ in this story,  a 47-year-old who was sacked by the NOTW by then-editor Andy Coulson because of drink and drugs “problems,” was found dead at his London residence by police last Monday, 18 July [from here - a site that strangely comes very near to the top of a Google search on this subject, which seems to suggest that the public is not as convinced by the 'no suspicious circumstances' line as the British media].As one of the comedians on the BBC ‘satire’ the Now Show put it – it’s been investigated by the police – the same police who’s top officers are currently resigning in the wake of this scandal. So that’s alright then . . . 
  • Two of the Met’s top police officers, including Sir Paul Stephenson, the Chief Commissioner,  have resigned over their links with the News International corporation. The other is John Yates, the policeman who twice resisted calls to reopen the investigation into phone hacking, and who resigned as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over his relationship to Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World.
  • Les Hinton, NI Chief Executive and old friend of Murdoch has also resigned from the company, pending investigations into his time at the NOTW. Ex-editor of The Sun and the NOTW Rebekah Brooks has been arrested over suspicions of involvement in phone-hacking and the corruption of police officers.

This toxic seam has only just started to reveal a corruption that has spread throughout the ruling class of Britain – it is impossible to say how much further the Establishment will let the investigations proceed.

Needless to say, there are probably more than a few people who saw the news about Sean Hoare and thought it might be better to keep their lips carefully sealed; and a few others who are checking their backs, waiting for their Brutus to bring them down; especially the ones who – as on old friend of mine from the East End commented ‘know where the bodies are buried . . . ‘

Good luck folks !

One Response to “Murdoch – a toxic stream since 1919 . . .”

  1. lighthouse posters Says:

    So now Justice Lord Levenson is saying the Phone Hacking Affair inquiry has to be allowed more time in its deliberations. The scope of the inquiry is likely to widen, not just to other newspspers but to other areas of the media too. On the one hand, he’s right to ask for this. On the other hand, I’m worried; is this the famous British technique called ‘kicking it into the long grass’ we’re witnessing?

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