Opinion: Take that, Murdoch

(c) dfarber

Georgia Lewis

Nick Ferrari, a former News of the World journalist, has been ranting on Sky News about how wonderful Murdoch is, how he has provided employment for thousands of media professionals and how the blocking of his attempt to take over BSkyB is just unfair.

True enough, Murdoch has created jobs galore for journalists. It’s just a shame that it seems that among these journalists were those who saw fit to break the law to get stories or just run stories that cannot be upheld with the public interest defence such as Steve Coogan’s personal life or Gordon Brown‘s seriously ill child.

Ferrari’s argument truly fell apart when he described the blocking of Murdoch’s takeover bid as the government getting in the way of a man who is just trying to expand his business. It was a completely disingenuous defence with the elephant in the room being that expanding a media business is not the same as, say, opening a chain of fast food restaurants.

Yes, we live in a capitalist society where people are entitled to start businesses and if they get rich in the process, that’s all well and good as long as they pay their fair share of tax. Murdoch is neither a UK citizen nor is he paying his share of tax here and the expansion of his media business is not just about an honest bloke trying to make a quid.

In the process, he has become politically powerful and politicians from all sides of British politics have cosied up to him and his senior staff such as Rebekah Brooks – the influence of Murdoch’s media cannot be underestimated. It has created a swathe of heavily biased newspapers as well as Sky News.

The blocking of the BSkyB takeover is not a kick in the teeth of capitalism, which is not going away any time soon. But if one man was to own so much of the British media and to use this position to influence the political landscape, it is not good for democracy or free speech. The expansion of a fast food chain such as McDonald’s may not necessarily be good for people’s waistlines but Ronald McDonald is not interested in telling the public who to vote for or invading anyone’s privacy in the name of sales.

Today is a good day for the British media. May it continue with a thorough investigation into the hacking scandal.

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