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Murdoch Watch's Journal

Monday, January 23, 2006

12:28PM - Murdoch: Cameron 'must offer alternative'

*prods community*
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4637948.stm

Tory leader David Cameron should worry less about image and present a "real alternative" to win power, says media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Article behind the cutCollapse )

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

8:44PM - Sun escapes prosecution after legal blunder

From here, original story is here:
It was one of those legal quirks that makes you proud of the England and Wales justice system. The Sun escaped prosecution last week for allegedly naming the victim of a sexual assault after the Crown Prosecution Service bungled the case by naming News International as its publisher. Oh no, said the Sun's lawyers, we're not called News International, we're called News Group Newspapers. Legal manager Tom Crone produced a swath of past litigation to prove his point.
Asked whether News International "holds itself out" as publisher of the Sun, Crone told Huntingdon magistrates court: "Not to my knowledge. Quite the opposite. The publisher, as the attorney general has always known, is News Group Newspapers." Moreover, the Sun lawyer Henri Brandman said there was no such thing in law as News International. "The evidence is absolutely overwhelming that not only has the incorrect defendant been charged but, in fact, there is no legal entity that is the party that's been charged."
Case, as they say, dismissed. But hang on, what's this on the website of News Corp, the umbrella company for Rupert Murdoch's worldwide media empire? "News International publishes four of the UK's top national newspapers - the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World." The address for News International is given as "1 Virginia Street" - Wapping, to you and me. So does all this mean that News International is an illegal entity? We should be told.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

9:33AM - Election Day


The Sun Says


The chance you mustn't waste



YOU only get to vote in a General Election about 15 times in your life.

That’s what a precious commodity you have in your hands today.

It is vital that you use it.

The democratic process is crucial in maintaining the checks and balances on those who rule us. But it is badly weakened if apathy reigns.

Make sure you vote today.

Vote for anyone (well, not the extremist Lib Dems) because contrary to what the moaners claim, your vote DOES count.

Vote for whoever you believe will do the best for you and for the country (that rules out the Lib Dems straight away).

The Sun has very carefully considered the policies of the main parties and analysed the record of Tony Blair and Labour over the past eight years.

We have assessed the potential of the Tory policies and the strength of Michael Howard’s team.

Frankly, we can understand why so many people are confused and say politicians are all the same (apart from the Lib Dems, that is, who are dangerously different).

There’s precious little to choose between Labour and Tory on the economy, tax and public spending.

The real difference is that Labour has been in power for the past eight years and has a proven record of economic growth and stability.

If Labour wins today, it faces the challenge of maintaining that growth while freeing business and workers from the constraints of a government that has already grown too big and too controlling.

Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have taken huge amounts of extra tax from us and have pumped billions more into public services.

There have been improvements in health and education, but they are honest enough to admit that there is still much to do.

Voters remain unconvinced that they are getting full value for their money. Without wholesale reform in the NHS and other services The Sun can’t see how that will change.

But would the Tories really do any better (forget the Lib Dems, they’d only make things worse)?

If you don’t vote at all, you’re wasting a very important right.

And you can hardly complain if you don’t like the politicians who’ll be in power this time tomorrow.




Compare with some of the stuff from yesterday's edition. Remember how it's an 'open secret' that Daily Mail writers get so exasperated at the angle they have to cover things, they go into outright Chris Morris subversion? (I personally saw one BBC ident described as 'a rave with ethnic minorities visibly among the heaving crowd'.)
This stuff is so strident, I fail to see how it can't be some Sun hack taking a piss out of Murdoch's editorial demands and the supposed thickness of the readership.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

7:47AM - "Vote for the Lib Dems on Thursday and you could be signing a young person’s death warrant."


http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,31-2005200954,00.html


Protest peril




ON Thursday, many people who are put off Labour or the Tories may choose to make a protest vote.

But just how dangerous a vote for the Liberal Democrats would be is spelled out graphically by the Prime Minister on this page today.

Polls prove that few people realise just how extreme the Lib Dems’ policies are.

None is more threatening than the proposal to go soft on drugs.

Tony Blair rightly identifies the menace of drugs as the greatest worry for parents.

Vote for the Lib Dems on Thursday and you could be signing a young person’s death warrant.

They want to legalise cannabis and encourage users to grow it at home.

They also want to stop jailing addicts for possessing heroin, crack, cocaine and ecstasy — all drugs which can be lethal.

What sort of baffling message will that send to young people?

Labour tried to take a more liberal approach to cannabis but stopped its plans when it found evidence of a sharp rise in the use of hard drugs.

A Lib Dem government, should that nightmare ever come true, would signal that Britain is a haven for criminal gangs dealing in drugs.

Says Blair: "As a parent, I find such half-baked policies deeply disturbing."

The Sun couldn’t agree more.

On Saturday we reported the tragic case of soccer starlet John Courtney, killed by heroin before he could fulfil his promise in life.

Vote Lib Dem and there could be many like John.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

2:18PM - So, The Sun's backed Blair...

(x-posted to murdoch_watch & ukpolitics)

I wonder what deal Murdoch got out of it?


I don't know about you, but the campaign (such that it is through the heavy fog of indifference it's blanketed in) palpably turned right then and there. With widespread reports of ministers 'bricking it' [sic] about the core Labour vote dropping away due to disillusionment & over-focusing on the Daily Mail set, and the Tories making the campaign 95% about race, for a moment it looked like Howard was in with a chance. Now the Sun will get the proverbial unwashed hordes out to vote Labour, it seems all over bar the "I've been given the vote of confidence over Iraq I needed to press on with my agenda" speech.


Some interesting analysis on, as the Americans say, that "hotbed of hijab-wearing Leninism", BBC News, with a political correspondent revealing that Murdoch was "unhappy" with Howard's immigration stance. (Odd considering the Tories are just feeding off the paper's Foreigner Frenzy, but Murdoch is in it to make money - he'll sell papers by whipping up hatred but doesn't want to go through with any of it due to the skills shortage and the need for cheap labour.)

Also on this morning, was that whilst no-one's sure if the media influences public opinion or just follows it, politicians believe it does, with anecdotes about Blunkett etc. concerns over formulating policy, not on the country's needs or the wishes of the electorate, but on how "Murdoch will react to it". Best soundbite of the whole facade so far: "Some campaigners have been persuading reluctant would-be Labour voters with 'Vote Blair, get Brown'- but perhaps a more apt phrase would be 'Vote Blair, get Murdoch'!".

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

11:13AM - UK Murdoch Papers 12/4/05

CutCollapse )

Monday, April 11, 2005

5:10PM - Papers

Papers 11 AprilCollapse )

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

8:48AM - The Sun 6 April

CutCollapse )

Also, Murdoch: what's he up to? is of note, sorry busy at work so no analysis apart from pointing out the magic phrase 'Instead, we are going to listen very carefully to Labour and the Tories between now and May 5 to see which party deserves the backing of our readers.'

Saturday, April 2, 2005

2:46PM - Murdoch saves £522 million in taxes

Link, which itself quotes an Observer article.

Rupert Murdoch last week floated his family's 3.8 billion-pound personal investment company in Bermuda - saving himself 522 million pounds in taxes.
Bermuda was chosen because the media tycoon, who chairs News Corporation, wanted to avoid the taxman after his firm changed domicile from Australia to the United States recently. Just prior to the Bermuda float, Murdoch bought a 20-room, three-floor residence opposite Central Park in Manhattan for 22 million pounds. Days later he bought a house in Beijing.

I particuraly like the comment "Well, supporting a war is one thing, paying for it is quite another I guess."

Meanwhile, in other news ( http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k5/mar/mar172.htm)

It's been five years since media mogul Rupert Murdoch last visited India, and much has changed in the interim. The biggest of course being that the Star network, a distant number three in 2000, is today India's most powerful broadcast network by a good distance.
The rest of the article makes him sound like some modern-day imperialist Raj deigning to visit one of the colonies for some hands-on "leadership". Which, I suppose, is how he may see himself, even down to the extraction tube jammed into the economy's main artery...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

12:42PM

Couldn't find a front cover for the News of The World, but did find their two main stories. Nothing about James Callaghan, of course, but these seem to be the top two non-sleb/football stories:

MINISTER IN SEX-FOR-JOBS SHOCK
A MARRIED Cabinet minister made a sleazy pass at a Blair Babe during Party conference, offering to boost her career in return for sex, a sensational new book claims.
"Glamorous former MP Fiona Jones says he tried to seduce her with the sick offer: "Do you know what I can do for you?" "
Well, this is fun. Rudimentary research seem to show she was kicked out for (possibly) getting caught rigging expenses. And we have an election coming up - hey, what's that grinding sound?

Beyond the usual unprovable allegations crap, note, as ever, how an article tut-tutting about randy old men... is written to appeal to randy old men.

Currently at http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/story_pages/news/news1.shtml but they change that page's content each week.

And of course, it wouldn't be a Murdoch tabloid without:

Lunacy
ILLEGAL immigrants are being waved through at Britain's sea and airports—and told: "Come back later so we can send you home."
http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/story_pages/news/news2.shtml
It seems a "DIY deportation policy known as "temporary admission" is in use across the country". Customs officials are so over-stretched, they can't keep up with the amount of border traffic, thus waiving Them through and telling Them to come back later for fuller processing, whereupon of course They are never seen again(TM).

Assuming the story is factually true, there's one obvious thing wrong with this - it's caused by there not being enough immigration officers as opposed to 'letting 'em all in'. It doesn't matter what admissions policy there is - there are not simply enough people to administer it.
I see two options:

  • Hire more immigration officers.

  • Drastically simplify the admissions policy.

  • Unfortunately, gutting public services is the Policy That Dare Not Speak Its Name right now - and anyway imagine the headlines if they did increase staff....
    Clearly, a firm immigration policy (cough cough) is what's being suggested here. Returning holidaymakers and wealthy businessmen only, perhaps?

    Oh, there's a wonderful graphic with it too:

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    12:08PM - Sun cover



    I think it's time for a little audience feedback.

    Should I/we put murdoch-paper front pages up, and if so, which ones?

    Oh yeah, and any suggestions for improvement to the community description would be good too.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    12:55PM - Not the Sun



    Vigilante violence: Death by gossip

    His assailants believed Paul Cooper was a paedophile, so they beat him to death. But he was innocent.

    This is very sad indeed and the reason for inclusion should hopefully be obvious.

    Mr Cooper's death appears to reflect the nationwide climate of suspicion and fear being fuelled by growing public concern over crime and punishment.

    Rising hostility toward minority groups, clamour for tough sentences against offenders and a sinister desire for retribution are being driven by an increasingly prevalent right-wing agenda.

    When the murder of Sarah Payne led the News of the World, four years ago, to publish the names and photographs of 50 people it claimed had committed child sex offences - tapping into anxiety about paedophiles in our midst - protesters circulated a list of 20 alleged sex offenders on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth and proceeded to target them.

    In that climate of suspicion, a female registrar was hounded from her home in south Wales because neighbours confused "paediatrician" with "paedophile". A former sea captain from Grimsby, Humberside, who had been cleared of paedophile offences, was murdered after his details were published in the local newspaper.

    Mr Cooper's life appears to have been carefree before the vigilantes began targeting him.

    Current mood: angry

    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    1:10PM

    In the grand tradition of similar sites, I'm going to put today's front pagers on articles (unless people want me to stop).Collapse )

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    5:24PM - FUN MURDOCH FACT #1



    Now of course it's not quite the same thing, but FUN MURDOCH FACT #1:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/the_company_file/299543.stm

    Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch may run one of the most profitable businesses in the UK, but it appears that he has somehow managed to avoid running up a tax bill over the past 11 years.

    According to The Economist, Mr Murdoch has saved at least £350m in tax - enough to pay for seven new hospitals, 50 secondary schools or 300 primary schools.

    ...

    Overall, News Corporation paid just £146m ($238m) in corporate taxes on profits of more than £2bn.

    In other words he is paying tax at a paltry rate of just 6%. That compares with normal company tax rates of 30% and upwards.


    That's £350M in personal tax 'saved'. At an estimate, £500m of corporate tax. And that article's from 1999.

    Just another form of state 'handouts' - but much bigger. But we're not likely to see that in two-inch-high red letters in every newsagent in the land, are we?

    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    9:57PM

    Can Victoria Newton, Dominic Mohan and Bill Leckie (Scottish columnist who gets on my tits) be "interests" in the user info?

    Bridgey xxx

    9:33PM - Former 'EastEnders' actor sues The Sun

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds19946.html
    Ex EastEnders actor Chris Parker has launched legal action against The Sun over a story it printed earlier this year. The 21-year-old, who played Spencer Moon, agreed to leave the soap in January after a failed suicide attempt last November. The Sun had reported that instead of leaving by mutual agreement, Parker was sacked after refusing to see the show's psychologist. Speaking today, Parker's solicitor, Jonathan Coad of Simkins, said that legal papers had been filed at the High Court in London. He added that an earlier attempt of calling for an apology had been rejected by the newspaper.

    I hope he takes them to the f***ing cleaners. You may remember the usual "you're a poof aren't you?", "no I'm not, honest I'm not" routine from the tabloids - they could smell the fear he had over what headlines they would come up with. So he OD'd on paracetamol & slashed his wrists.

    Below is the article (link to copy-and-paste), which was of course not true and widely pointed out at the time. But people forget, under the constant blur of celebrity guff, and the big inch-high letters are what sticks in the mind:

    EASTENDER Chris Parker has been SACKED following his suicide scare. The troubled star, 21, got the boot after refusing to see the show's psychologist.

    Bosses had given him indefinite leave and wanted him checked out before he returned to his role as Spencer Moon on BBC1. But Chris, who took painkillers and tried to slash his wrists, insisted he was okay. A show insider yesterday revealed: "Chris told producers he was keen to return because he was feeling much better. "They insisted he see the show psychologist first — but he refused, saying he was fine. But producers decided they do not feel confident that he should return full time."

    Producers will write him out using scenes he shot BEFORE last month's suicide drama at the Marriott Hotel in Westminster, London. Chris was taken to St Thomas' Hospital. The incident came after lapdancer Lucie Clark claimed the pair invented a kiss-and-tell tale to quash rumours he is gay.

    Scriptwriters are now reworking plots to include Spencer's hurried exit and his last on-screen appearance will be early next month. Chris, who came runner-up in the first series of Strictly Come Dancing, is the latest star to be axed by new EastEnders boss Kathleen "The Hatchet" Hutchison. She has already given marching orders to Dirty Den, the six Ferreiras and gangster Andy Hunter. An EastEnders spokeswoman said: "We'd like to thank Chris for all his hard work over the last two years and wish him the best of luck in the future." His lawyers denied 22-year-old Lucie's story — and Chris has strenuously denied he is gay.

    8:17PM - Fox News Host: Global warming is a trick by Satan

    Huz, and indeed, zah! The National Association of Evangelicals pas a resolution about global warming. And up pops this funky fellow:
    Cal Thomas, who is humbly the host of 'After Hours with Cal Thomas' on the FOX News Channel.

    He says:

    Do evangelicals have time on their hands because they've finished the mission to "go and make disciples of all nations"? Is this not a great enough commission that "global warming" and a host of other "issues" must be added to make evangelicals contemporary and relevant?

    There is no biblical expectation that a "fallen" world can, should or will be improved prior to the return of the One to whom evangelicals are supposed to owe their complete allegiance.

    Rev. Ted Haggard, president of NAE, says he has become passionate about the issue because he is a scuba diver (but not a scientist) and has seen how "global warming" affects coral reefs. What about passion for Jesus Christ?

    The first description of Satan is that he is "subtle." (Genesis 3:1) Another translation says "crafty." Satan tempts to do what seems good. Liberal churches have long believed in a doctrine of salvation-through-works... It's a subtle, but effective, means of distracting evangelicals from their paramount calling, which is about conversion, not political convictions.

    By focusing on the other kingdom, one can have the most influence on this kingdom. By attending mainly to improving this world, one is doomed to futility and can do little for the other one.

    So there you have it. Alright, he doesn't come out and say so, but his statements are consistent with a viewpoint of 'global warming is part of the Devil's plan to distract Christians from their mission to convert people'.

    It's at this point that I want to say that he's an extremist whackjob, but I can't - not only is he a regular host on the largest news channel in the world (Hello, Mr. Murdoch!), but yes, he's on message with Bush etc. Not getting into that (off-topic). But it's interesting to note he would seemingly disapprove of people feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc. Does this guy even fricking read the bible?

    Now, I can't be the only one to notice that the culture lag between where I am in the UK and the USA seems to be getting narrower - apparently whatever moral panic/cultural trend/etc. sweeps the US, we get it 10-15 years later. Obesity, gun crime, crack on the streets, television for idiots (Hello, Mr. Murdoch!), etc. But it seems to be getting shorter and shorter - note how our darling media is trying to whip up the abortion debate even though, as largely practical Brits, no-one really cares, unless you make money or publicity out of manufacturing public outrages (Hello, Mr. Murdoch!). And can I say Jerry Springer?

    Remember: Cal Thomas preaches that global warming is a distraction trick by Satan. And he's on the US version of Sky News. How long before he & his mates start showing up in force over here, eh?

    Addendum:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1206-10.htm

    Millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened - as a sign of the coming apocalypse.

    A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

    Friday, March 18, 2005

    7:12PM

    Hi, I've just joined because this looks like a good idea for a community.

    Relating to the gypsy issue in the Sun, I've just read this little piece in Private Eye that is quite eye-opening:

    The Sun's campaign against illegal traveller's camps has the public backing of Tory Dartford Council- or that of its deputy leader Jeremy Kite anyway. Kite was quoted in the paper pledging the council's support the day after the campaign had launched- even though the council hadn't actually had a meeting or taken a vote on the subject. By an amazing coincidence, Cllr Kite happens to work in the advertising department at News International, owner of the Sun. Wasn't it a bit of a conflict of interest? "Everyone has to work somewhere," he told the Eye.

    1:23PM - Launch

    OK, I've been meaning to set this up for a while - Welcome to murdoch_watch!

    The UK general election is hotting up and as ever it's the Murdoch-owned papers that are setting the agenda. I wanted to start this when the Sun was going on about 'gypsies' some time back, so this will have to be the first entry!

    "We are very worried about lines like 'Stamp on the Camps', such as the Sun used. Our fear is that hooligans and thugs will go out and do just that."

    And here is a column by Johann Hari about everyone's favourite Murdoch attack dog, Richard Littlejohn:

    The asylum-hating press - and the politicians who appease them - have blood on their hands