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09 July 2011

The Murky World of Murdoch

I shall not be buying a News of the World tomorrow, even though it would have some historical interest as the final one of a 168-year history. I have never in my life purchased a copy of this newspaper, and currently I am studiously avoiding the purchase of any newspaper belonging to Rupert Murdoch’s stinking stable.

This paper has sunk to new and unbelievable depths in its bid for sales. The hacking of mobile phones belonging to celebrities and politicians was the first we heard of the Murdoch empire’s depravity, and to be honest, perhaps we were not too bothered by the fact that we were getting salacious gossip about film stars, entertainment personalities, and politicians.

But now that it has transpired that for years they have been hacking into the phones of families who have been the victims of abductions and murders it is impossible for us to avoid the nausea. Not only have they been feeding their stories from this illegal and immoral activity by accessing the phones and voice-mail messages of parents who have had their children kidnapped and/or murdered, in the case of Milly Dowler a murdered schoolgirl, they tapped into Milly’s own phone when the police were investigating her disappearance, and even deleted messages from her full-to-capacity voice mailbox so that her distraught parents could continue to leave their desperate messages on their daughter’s phone.

Rupert Murdoch’s reaction to all this was to give a few days’ notice that the News of the World would be closed down, thus throwing 500 people out of work (most of whom had not been tied up with these criminal practices). To add insult to injury, he has retained Rebekah Brooks in her job as News International’s Chief Executive, even though she was Editor of the News of the World when much of this sordid activity was taking place.

Prime Minister David Cameron comes out of this with egg all over his smug face as well, since he employed Andy Coulson (another previous editor who had resigned over earlier cases of phone hacking) as his Media Consultant, in spite of having been warned by the Editor of the Guardian newspaper that he had problems.

I hope that if nothing else comes out of this, we shall at last see the end of the decades-long love affair between our political leaders and the Murdoch empire. Please, no more parties, with Murdoch, his son, or his red-topped chief executive of ‘red-top’ papers. No more special access to 10 Downing Street. If our politicians can’t get themselves elected to positions of high office without cuddling up to Murdoch, then they don’t deserve our support.

David Cameron claims to have come to this understanding. Time will tell. Watch this space.

I also hope that Murdoch’s bid to buy up the remaining shares of BskyB TV and thus be in complete ownership of that enterprise will be successfully thwarted by the competent authorities on the basis that he is not a fit and proper person to be in such a monopolistic position with a major media empire.