Kelvin McKenzie had a very amusing piece on the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ website. While I have to admire his chutzpah in putting it to such a hostile audience his claims about Murdoch and his media empire are as much hot air as usual.
‘In the two decades he[Murdoch] has owned the channel [Sky], not one editor or journalist has suggested that he has interfered or even made suggestions about news coverage.’
Why would he need to when he can pick people like you, whose political views are his own exactly like his own as editors? (i.e spread hatred of immigrants, the unemployed and foreigners, plus talking up whichever of the two main parties he has a deal on further media deregulation and targeting the one he’s not currently made a deal with)
He then launches into an advert for Sky TV.
‘Sky is the giant of television. Sure it has the football but it has so much more. Even a cultural philistine like me finds myself drawn to Sky Arts, National Geographic and the History Channel. All have unexpected gems that you cannot find anywhere else.’
It’s hard to understand why the Guardian is giving Sky free advertising space here.
Kelvin then starts praising Murdoch’s supposed services to reducing unemployment in the UK.
‘Thank God for the Rupert Murdochs of this world. I wish there were hundreds more in our country. Unemployment would be wiped out at a stroke.’
Not sure what his evidence for that is. Murdoch backed Thatcher from the start. In opposition the Conservatives put out an election poster showing a dole queue with the words ‘Britain isn’t working’. At that point unemployment was over 2 million. By three years into Thatcher’s first term in office (helped there by the support of Murdoch and his Sun newspaper) unemployment was over 3 million. That doesn’t seem like a great job if you’re judging by results.
If everyone was like Murdoch we’d certainly have no tax base at all due to his companies managing to pay almost nothing in tax on their vast profits and would go bankrupt like Greece.
His companies used tax avoidance to pay no net taxes at all in the UK in the 1990s (no-one found this out till 1999). News Corporation recently paid $77mn in taxes to one Australian regional government after claiming for 7 years that it hadn’t been avoiding taxes.
I’ll grant that Murdoch’s firms do certainly provide employment for some dodgy ‘private investigators’ like Glenn Mulcaire, who has suddenly done a massive u-turn on his belief that no-one has any right to privacy, now that it affects him, asking reporters to respect his family’s privacy
McKenzie has more praise for Rupert
‘Why has Rupert a monopoly? Simple: nobody else had the guts, the nerve or the stunning management skill to take on the establishment.’
Allying himself with the leaders of the two main political parties alternately and getting his papers to tell people to vote for the one he currently has a deal on deregulation of media ownership with is “taking on the establishment”.
David Cameron and his other Bullingdon Club boys aren’t the establishment? Few people have been as close to "the establishment" as Rupert Murdoch and Kelvin McKenzie.
There’s also his media empire’s use of phone hacking and unusually long ranged mikes to target anyone who goes up against them.
Finally Kelvin says
‘Sky is not Fox News and I have my doubts that in leftwing, socialist, clapped-out Britain, the latter would work commercially or audiencewise.’
It wouldn’t work because it’s blatant propaganda and has had shows by people like Glenn Beck claiming Obama is racist against white people; and has edited out the applause from News reports on his speeches.
That’s apart from the fact that the last time the UK had a government that could be described as socialist was the Atlee government in 1945-1950.
I wonder what Kelvin might have said about a left wing or even vaguely liberal person saying Britain is “clapped out”. I’m guessing the phrase “Brit bashing” would be involved.