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Monday, November 17, 2003
Murdoch on Europe

Over the weekend, I was brought up short by broadcast extracts of several Murdoch interviews. In principle, he thought that the proposed European constitution was a threat to ‘us’. I immediately wondered about the nature of this ‘us’ to whom he referred. Was it his papers (Sun, News of the World, Times), was it his business empire, or was it one of his countries? (Murdoch had Australian nationality before becoming a US citizen to further his businesses). Surely he didn’t mean ‘us’, the willing subjects of HM the Q and residents of Airstrip One. In the words of St Maggie, ‘Could Murdoch, even half-heartedly, be considered one of us?’

Fortuitously, the Guardian leader has picked the matter up and developed the argument. Read about it here. Here’s some of the flavour:
To be lectured on sovereignty by someone who junked his own citizenship for commercial expediency is an irony to which Mr Murdoch is evidently blind.

In other words Mr Murdoch seeks to impose a homogeneity of view on approximately 8 million Britons who buy one of his papers.

It requires a redefinition of what we - that's the rest of us - mean when we talk of the freedom of the press.

Readers [of Murdoch titles] have been put on notice that the views expressed [therein] have not have been freely arrived at on the basis of normal journalistic considerations.

Both readers and voters are thus entitled to take anything the Murdoch papers have to say - especially on British politics or Europe - with a giant pinch of salt.

Mr Murdoch is entitled to his views [but] the moment he starts talking about "we" is the time to stop listening.
Agreed but the problem is that our politicians – of both major parties - seem to be unable to restrict further erosion of genuine press freedom. They stay their hands where the old wife- and nationality-trader is concerned for fear of bad reports in his ‘news’papers. They are quite unable to dissociate themselves from this hideous dependence, like drug addicts threatened with withdrawal of their supplies.

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