Friday, July 15, 2011

The empire strikes back: The Australian starts campaign against possible new press regulations; attacks politicians critical of Murdoch's News Corp.

The new day arrives first in the East, of course, so the articles now appearing in The Australian are no doubt the first signs that Murdoch's press empire plans a full counter attack against its critics.

Both articles, posted at the same time last night, go on the attack.
David Flint starts his attack on critics of News Corp. by stating "I am no toady of the Murdoch empire", but then goes on to defend News Corp. and its political positions. Flint goes right after the current Australian government, no friend of the right wing press, by ending his column this way:

"The last thing we need are more laws or inquiries. What we need is good limited government and, if they can't give us that, an early election," Flint writes, essentially calling for an end to the current government.

Purely coincidentally I'm sure, The Australian also posted a column by Cameron Stewart which quotes a former The Age editor, Mike Smith, as saying that government regulation of newspapers would be bad for democracy.

But the column seems to use the words of Smith a bit out of context.

"It would be bad for democracy," he told The Weekend Australian. "It ought to be possible for anyone to publish a newspaper.

"But there will be increasing pressure for regulation, and maybe even public support for regulation, if the industry does not do better on self-regulation, and that is the lesson which dozens of other industries have learned."
The fact that both columns would appear simultaneously should not be surprising knowing that Fox News executives have been accused to of passing out talking points to its commentators, or using talking points provided by its political allies.

This morning, for instance, Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy and his on air guest Robet Dilenschneider urged Fox News viewers to "move on" from the phone hacking scandal.

“We know it’s a hacking scandal, shouldn’t we get beyond it and deal with the issue of hacking? We have a serious hacking problem in this country,” Dilenschneider is quoted by Think Progress as saying.

Yes, we have a hacking problem, especially when one of the largest media companies in the world is using the technique.

Then there is this WSJ article from today which quotes the chairman of News Corp. as saying that the company had handled the phone hacking scandal "extremely well in every way possible."

It is possible that instructions have gone out to try and limit this scandal to the U.K. only. But for those who thought News Corp. would not react to all the negative press being thrown at it, or would even consider divesting any of its media empire voluntarily, well sit back and watch the reaction build over the next week. The empire is prepared to fight back.

As entertaining as this Colbert Report might be, it might already be outdated. But it's worth a look anyway.