The following is my response to an OpenDemocracy.net article by Matthew Richmond entitled “News International: Britain’s Mafia”.
That men like Rupert Murdoch can gain significant influence over politicians and political processes is about as surprising as a topless model on page three of The Sun. I think it’s fair to say that he is not the kind of guy most people would want babysitting their children, but then neither are the politicians he bribes, influences or blackmails.
Corporate heads like Murdoch and politicians are two peas from the same rotten pod. The only difference between them is their chosen method of obtaining power and wealth.
Murdoch’s latest scuffle with politicians was just a turf war and has absolutely nothing to do with ordinary people. Murdoch and highly positioned politicians live in a different world to ordinary mortals, a world of immense material wealth and the finest things life has to offer that most folk can only dream of – they’re the greek gods of our time. Murdoch’s wealth was primarily built on giving ignorant people garbage to watch and read, and gaining a dominant position in mainsteam media by manipulating politicians the world over. The wealth of politicians is derived from direct theft from the productive classes and by using their power to dip their fingers in lots of corporate pies – pies like News International.
So, both politicians and Murdoch are pretty damn high up the immorality scale, but politicians are certainly worse because they rely on coercion and the use of force. No one has ever been forced at gun point to buy The Sun or watch Fox News of course because that is not allowed, so News International has to use other non-violent ways of influencing the masses to consume their output. Government gets tax payers to cough up their cash with a direct threat of violence, which is really easy when you have the moral sanction to do so and a police force. I would guess that Murdoch recognises politicians as a bunch of criminals and inferior, morally, to himself. He probably sees dealing with them as an unpleasant but necessary means to his end, like a bar owner who has to pay protection money to the mafia.
As long as we keep believing that giving a group of people (government) all the guns in the world and the moral sanction to use them will create a better world, guys like Rupert Murdoch will get to exploit that group’s powers. When society at large stops believing that violence solves problems, the group with the guns will no longer exist, and therefore the impact on society of guys like Murdoch will be significantly reduced.