Tag Archives: rupert murdoch

In Praise of Nick Davies, the British Bernstein & Woodward to Murdoch’s Nixon

One man, above all, deserves to be singled-out for his single-minded pursuit of the lies, deceit and criminality that have stained British journalism: The Guardian’s special correspondent, Nick Davies.

His has been a lonely crusade. Despite the mounting evidence of corrupt practices, the tentacles of which have extended right into the very centre of the Establishment in this country — Parliament, media barons, senior police officers, Downing Street — Nick Davies has doggedly pursued a campaign which has resulted in the closure of this country’s most-read newspaper. That is some accolade.

But, as he would be the first to point out, it should never have got this far.

The closure of the News of the World would have been avoided if those who knew the truth, or at least had the power to uncover the truth, had done their jobs properly, had fulfilled their duty to the public. And that’s as true of Rebekah Brooks as it is of ‘Yates of the Yard’.

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Opinion: Cameron should be as ruthless as Murdoch‏

In shutting the News of the World, the Murdochs have shown themselves to be ruthless. Their ruthlessness changed the story, although it has not killed it.

David Cameron needs to be as ruthless. So long as the Murdochs have a powerful media presence, his hiring of Andy Coulson and his closeness to Rebekah Brooks are real issues. The retoxification of the Tory party is underway.

Cameron should announce that he was lied to by Coulson, and that the level of rot can only have happened if people at the top were not managing the paper properly. It was Brooks and …

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Opinion: Nick Clegg didn’t suck up to Murdoch – that’s why his minions tried to destroy him

There was a moment during the election campaign last year when many Liberal Democrats realised we had passed through the looking glass.

Nick Clegg’s performance in the first leaders’ debate broke the glass ceiling of British politics and, it seems, caused more than one Tory-supporting newspaper editor to wet themselves in fear.

Then, on the eve of the second debate, the right wing press let slip the dogs of war.

It wasn’t just the Murdoch papers that went for Nick, but they did and they did it viciously. The Sun ridiculed him, splashing outrageous and ridiculous headlines on their front page for days …

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News of the World to close on Sunday

BREAKING: The News of the World, the paper at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal, is to publish its final edition this Sunday.

The BBC reports:

This Sunday’s issue of the News of the World will be the last edition of the paper, News International chairman James Murdoch has said.

In the past few days, claims have been made that the paper authorised hacking into the mobile phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the families of 7/7 bombing victims.

Mr Murdoch said proceeds from the last edition would go to good causes.

Downing Street said it had no role or involvement in the

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Opinion: It should be about more than Murdoch

The left of centre in Britain had better figure out what it stands for when it comes to free speech and the monopolisation of power in the media.

There is apparently a flash mob, due to take place in front of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this afternoon. Well, at least if it isn’t still raining. Then the various protestors will probably head to the pub instead, if I know my protestors.

It’s been organised by several left leaning think tanks and pressure groups to try and achieve two things: 1. To put pressure on the government to delay …

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Opinion: Liberals shouldn’t be scared of Murdoch

Trying to stop Murdoch from consolidating his hold on BSkyB was always going to be difficult. That is mainly because the case for stopping him was rather weak in the terms that governments are allowed to intervene in such matters. Murdoch already has practical control; he does not dominate the total television market, with the BBC and ITV still strong. The case rested on the proposition that he would further dominate the news market as a whole. But what really drove the campaign against Murdoch was fear and loathing. Liberals should have no difficulty with …

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Ed Miliband’s Director of Strategy tells MPs: lay off Rupert Murdoch

Via the New Statesman website:

An email, forwarded on behalf of Ed Miliband’s director of strategy, Tom Baldwin, to all shadow cabinet teams warns Labour spokespeople to avoid linking hacking with the BSkyB bid, to accept ministerial assurances that meetings with Rupert Murdoch are not influencing that process, and to ensure that complaints about tapping are made in a personal, not shadow ministerial, capacity…

It goes on: “Downing Street says that Cameron’s dinners with Murdoch will not affect Hunt’s judgement. We have to take them at their word.” …

The guidance concludes with the warning, “We must guard against anything which appears

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Opinion: Vince wasn’t just wrong to say it. He was just wrong

It was an extraordinary day. In front of two total strangers, Vince Cable, still the nation’s Business Secretary, had declared he’d gone to war – and was going to win – against Rupert Murdoch. He also pontificated about how he might use the “nuclear option” against his own cabinet colleagues. To be sure, such extreme militaristic hubris is deeply odd behaviour from a Liberal Democrat. But in the fog of a curious day at Westminster, liberals must not lose sight of the serious policy implications facing British broadcasting.

Rupert Murdoch is an easy hate figure for the centre-left. He is …

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Robert Peston nails the Cable story

I was going to write a post about the Cable / Telegraph / other Lib Dem ministers story, but reading Robert Peston’s post I see he’s said what I was going to say – but said it first and said it better. So over to him:

What I still feel bemused about is why the Telegraph, for which I used to work, did not publish the one story that would have unquestionably legitimised its under-cover exercise to elicit the private views of Lib Dem ministers.

Pretty much everything these Lib Dems have been caught saying about their Tory colleagues is what one

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Why a part of me is cheering on Rupert Murdoch

At face value, the figures released by News International this week showing that The Times and Sunday Times had registered some 105,000 customer sales since its paywall was erected in July sounded like good news. As analysts attempted to decipher the company’s ‘fuzzy numbers‘, doubts began to creep in.

Understanding those paywall figures

The reality appears to be that roughly 50,000 individual users have subscribed to gain access to the newspapers’ content, whether online or through the iPad app or the Kindle edition. The other c.50,000 customer sales are for single-use or pay-as-you-go access to the website, and will …

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Vince orders Ofcom investigation of News Corp’s bid for BSkyB

The last few months has seen a curious coalition emerge, uniting media foes of right and left and non-aligned, ranging from the Daily Mail to the Guardian, Trinity Mirror to the Telegraph, the BBC and Channel 4. What has brought them together? Opposition to the bid by News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, for full control of BSkyB (the company currently owns a minority 38% stake).

Well, today Vince Cable offered them some cheer — he has referred News Corp’s bid to the media regulator, Ofcom. The BBC reports:

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has ordered Ofcom to investigate News

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Paywall vs ‘Freemium': why Parris, Finkelstein et al may rue Rupe’s decision

Will The Times’s paywall work? It’s the question that’s been asked ever since Rupert Murdoch’s News International announced its intention to place The Times and The Sunday Times websites behind a paywall, blocking any user not prepared to pay a subscription for access.

Last week saw publication of early unofficial statistics which were extrapolated at length in The Guardian and suggest The Times’s website now attracts somewhere between 84,800 and 195,700 daily unique users – compared with c.1.2 million daily unique users pre-paywall.

It’s stating the obvious to point out that’s a huge drop: after all, the point of the exercise is to make money from the few, not be free to the masses. So far, it’s understood there are 15,000 paying users – though whether that figure includes those who signed up for cheap one-month trial offers is not certain – in addition to 12,500 iPad users.

Assuming The Times can retain all those paying customers (which is a big assumption), it’s estimated the paywall could attract revenues of £1-2m a year. I’ve not yet seen, though, a reliable figure showing what the cost in lost advertising revenue associated with a fall in online circulation will total – which make it difficult as yet to work out if News International will generate an immediate net profit from the paywall. That, after all, would be Mr Murdoch’s ultimate response to the naysayers.

What I don’t understand is why News International decided to go all out for the paywall at The Times without at least first testing the market by adopting a ‘freemium’ model, making basic content available free, but charging for premium content.

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It’s The Sun what made us snort with laughter

Yes, folks, truly this is The Sun’s election day front page …

It is, to put it politely, woeful. Not only does it make the assumption that Sun readers will instantly recognise the Obama imagery – by no means a certainty – but it fails the crucial credibility test.

The famous Kinnock light-bulb front page of 1992 captured, cruelly but brilliantly, the nation’s last minute doubts that the Labour leader was prime ministerial. But is there anyone who really looks at David Cameron and thinks, “There’s our Obama”? No.

I was fully expecting a full-tilt Sun attack on either/both Clegg and/or Brown: as they showed 18 years ago, going negative can work. I guess I should be grateful that Murdoch’s rag has thrown away the opportunity to lash out at their opponents in a way which might inflict damage.

By drawing the ludicrously hyperbolic Obama/Cameron comparison, it does almost seem as if The Sun is over-compensating: this arty-farty front page invites derision. Indeed it’s already started …

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“Let’s take on the tabloids”

That’s the message from the two online campaigning groups Avaaz and 38 Degrees. One of their emails says:

The tabloid press is doing all it can to skew the election result by bullying and scaring voters. The political editor of The Sun has been given clear instructions from Rupert Murdoch: “It is my job to see that Cameron f****g well gets into Downing Street”. Murdoch and his tabloid press friends think they’ve got the right to decide who governs us.

Together we can stand up for our right to choose who we vote for and expose this cynical manipulation. Let’s shame the tabloids, and …

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Exclusive poll: newspaper hostility makes voters more likely to back Lib Dems

A poll carried out exclusively for Lib Dem Voice shows that opposition from the Daily Mail, The Sun and Daily Telegraph to the Liberal Democrats actually makes people more likely to vote for the party.

Asked the impact on their voting intention of those papers opposing Nick Clegg becoming Prime Minister, 15% said it made them more likely to vote Liberal Democrat and only 4% said it made them less likely, making for a net +11% saying they are more likely to vote Liberal Democrat.

Of the rest, 19% would vote Liberal Democrat regardless, 35% would not vote Liberal Democrat anyway and …

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LibLink: Stephen Tall – The tabloids’ desperate attack on Liberal Democrats

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free website, LDV Co-Editor Stephen Tall looks at the hysterical over-reaction of the rightwing press to the Lib Dems’ poll surge. It has got, he argues, “the rightwing papers running scared and flinging so much mud it insults their readers’ intelligence”. Here’s an excerpt:

Ever since Nick Clegg’s victory in that debate six days ago, the right-wing press, much like the Tory party, has been utterly paralysed, unsure whether to launch a full-tilt attack on the Lib Dems, or to patronise the party’s surge as the teenage tantrum of an electorate which should jolly well just grow up. …

What really worries the Mail and Murdoch about the Lib Dem poll ratings is this: they understand Nick Clegg’s party is a direct threat to the cosy status quo with which they are so comfortable. Don’t take my word for it: former Sun editor David Yelland made the point quite explicitly on these very pages just a couple of days ago in his explosive article, Nick Clegg’s rise could lock Murdoch and the media elite out of UK politics.

Will the Mail/Murdoch attacks work. Only time will tell, says Stephen, but notes that the newspapers are (to their chagrin) no longer as important as they might have once been:

Posted in General Election and LibLink | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Are YouGov and Murdoch ‘push-polling’ for the Tories?

‘Push-polls’, for those unfamiliar with the term, are a political campaigning technique “in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll” (Wikipedia).*

And it looks like Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper someone [EDIT 20/4/2010 – see Update below) has been paying internet polling firm YouGov to undertake some ‘push-polling’ against the Lib Dems, following the surge in support for Nick Clegg’s party after last week’s televised debate.

Former British ambassador Craig Murray spotted the following comment on the PoliticalBetting.com website, and noticed its significance:

Just

Posted in General Election and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

LibLink: David Yelland – “Clegg’s rise could lock Murdoch and the media elite out of UK politics”

There are, of course many good reasons why the Lib Dems in power would be in the interests of our nation, but some of the most intriguing yet have been outlined by David Yelland in a piece for the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

The piece has many telling details of how journalism works in this country these days, but the chilling conclusion of the piece is this:

Over the years the relationships between the media elite and the two main political parties have become closer and closer to the point where, now, one is indistinguishable from the other. Indeed, it is

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

LDVideo … Balls, Murdoch & Jon Culshaw’s Brown rap

Welcome to the latest LDVideo instalment, featuring three of the most memorable video clips doing the rounds on the blogosphere.

First up is Ed Balls – the guy might have a debating style reminiscent of a school bully demanding tuck money, but here he completely out-smarts tongue-tied Tory education spokesman Michael Gove:


(Hat-tip: Sam Coates).

The second clip shows Rupert Murdoch furiously denying suggestions that he alleged President Obama made a racist remark, followed by Rupert Murdoch alleging that President Obama made a racist remark:

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Opinion: Cast-iron Conservatism – brittle promises obtained from a flexible friend

On 26th September 2007 David Cameron gave what he called a cast-iron guarantee. The guarantee appeared in a piece published under his name in Mr Murdoch’s Sun. Liberal Democrats, who set some store by their own political education and haven’t read the piece, really should take the opportunity to read it in its entirety.

The aspiring party leader explains that it is an article of faith for him that: “No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.” And, because of that, he promises, any Conservative government led by him will “hold a referendum on any EU treaty.”

Mr Cameron explains, in the same piece, that his determination to hold a referendum isn’t simply a reflection of his deepest political beliefs but a practical matter too. It is integral to Conservative economic policy making. Why should that be? The explanation seems straightforward. It is vital because: “One of the great challenges rolling back the tide of bureaucracy.” And, Mr Cameron continues, “you can’t do that without targeting one of the main sources of this bureaucracy – Brussels.”

Without the referendum he’d promised Mr Cameron makes it clear it will not be possible to free UK businesses from red tape; the kind of European regulation which makes it impossible for the UK economy to succeed. Of course what most of us call regulation – and Mr Cameron calls red tape – isn’t quite the easy target that it once was. And Mr Cameron’s cast-iron guarantee has almost completely rusted away.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Huhne on Coulson: “either complicit or incompetent”

The BBC reports:

Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson has told MPs he did not “condone or use” phone hacking when he was editor of the News of the World. Mr Coulson quit as the editor after a reporter was jailed for hacking.

Although he said he had not known about it, he told the culture committee he regretted things going “badly wrong” and had taken responsibility by going.

Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne has not been won over by Mr Coulson’s performance today:

Andy Coulson’s defence is that he did not know what was going on despite the mounting evidence that

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Huhne calls for independent inquiry into newspapers’ phone tapping

There’s been a lot of ‘shock! horror!’ at this morning’s Guardian revelations by Nick Davies that ‘Rupert Murdoch’s News Group News­papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.’ The reaction is of course the right one. What I’m less convinced by is the supposed surprise of many in the media at the extent of the illegal activity undertaken by Mr Murdoch’s papers. (And don’t think for a moment the practise is restricted solely to the Murdoch empire).

By coincidence, I’ve just finished reading Nick Davies’s 2008 book, Flat Earth News, in which he devotes an entire chapter to what he terms ‘The Dark Arts’, focusing on the willing way in which newspaper reporters – and, yes, their editors and proprietors – sanctioned the increasing use of phone-tapping and other criminal acts to dig dirt, some of it in the public interest, much of it not. As Nick writes,

The truth is that what was once the occasional indulgence of a few shifty crime correspondents has become the regular habit of most news organisations. The hypocrisy is wonderful to behold. These organisations exist to tell the truth and yet routinely they lie about themselves. Many of these organisations have been the loudest voices in the law-and-order lobby, calling for tougher penalties against villains, tougher action against antisocial behaviour, even while they themselves indulge in bribery, corruption and theft of confidential information. (p.286)

Quite.

And good on Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne for writing today to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, to call for an independent inquiry into these allegations, pointing out that the Met is itself in the firing line because it may have neglected its duty to prosecute the serious offence of tapping and may have failed to alert victims of tapping.

Chris’s comments are below:

An independent inquiry by either the Independent Police Complaints Commission or another police force would be more appropriate than a further investigation by the Met. Why did prosecutions not take place? Why were the victims of tapping not informed? These are matters that the Metropolitan Police must answer.”

And here’s his full letter:

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Daily View 2×2: 9 July 2009

Happy Independence Day, Argentina! And happy birthday to Paul Merton and Tom Hanks.

Two big stories

Murdoch Papers hack phones
The Guardian has the story of Murdoch titles doing dodgy things with mobile phones – and it backfiring on them to the tune of at least £1m. There are clear links to current Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson.

There’s an awful lot of this story on the Guardian’s site – including an interview with hack victim Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes.

I hope this story has legs. This was shoddy journalism that should have serious consequences.

Darling’s banking reforms attacked
The FT looks

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 4 Comments
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