Thursday, 28 July 2011

Not So Smug Now Piers?

Piers Morgan is trying his very best to protect his high profile job at CNN and his massive salary by releasing a statement denying any involvement in phone hacking while he was editor at the Daily Mirror.
Morgan, who was also editor at the News Of The World stated yesterday
"I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone".
    While Morgan is sticking to his guns, James Hipwell, a former Daily Mirror journalist, has spoken out and claimed that hacking at the paper was 'endemic' and it was 'inconceivable' that the editor didn't know about it.
    The accusations have now gathered pace with political bloggers putting their boot in too. The political blogger Guido Fawkes quoted a 2006 article Morgan wrote for the Daily Mail, in which he referred to a phone message left by Sir Paul McCartney for Heather Mills.
"I was played a tape of a message Paul had left Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking".
    The evidence seems to be stacking up against Piers Morgan and questions are now being raised about his time as editor.
Was he aware of the hacking or was he just a terrible editor who was incompetent at his job? Let's see how long Piers can stay smug for....

Britain's Losing A Virgin

Sir Richard Branson is moving the company that owns the rights to his brand from the UK to Switzerland in order to reduce it's tax bill.
Sir Richard has long used off-shore tax havens to shield his personal wealth (an estimated £3bn) from the UK tax man. Those woolly jumpers he adores conceal a ruthless operator when it comes to paying less tax.
    There is nothing illegal, but next time Sir Richard is presented as some sort of national treasure it's worth remembering that the entrepreneur has a record of doing everything in his power to minimise his contribution to our actual national treasure.

Unhealthy Relationships

Not so surprising news in the records released this week detailed meetings between government ministers and News International executives. The defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, apparently gave Rupert and James Murdoch confidential briefings on Afghanistan.
  Eyebrows and questions have to be raised about how appropriate it is for Dr Fox to give private briefings on the subject of defence to newspaper owners.  Virtually every publication in Murdoch's international media empire threw their support behind the 2003 Iraq war. And thanks to a Freedom Of Information request , we are now aware that Tony Blair had 3 conversations with Rupert Murdoch in the month leading to the invasion.
This is just the tip of the iceberg at the level of access the press baron enjoy in our political system. It's unhealthy and the idea of reform in the tabloid press is surely the medicine that society needs to swallow.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Now Is The Time To Stop Murdoch...

It seems News Corporation has many villains and the story of Milly Dowler's phone has shown Murdoch's demon workers to be totally sickening and immoral.
    This is an amorality story of corruption as dark, diseased and destructive as known to a modern Western democracy. This didn't just happen overnight, over many years politicians and police officers have been aware of shady goings on but chose to ignore it.

    To understand how we have come to this, Prime Ministers, politicians and the police force effectively encouraging News Corporation, you have to go back some decades.
    Margaret Thatcher made a pact or a sacrifice, depending on the way you look at it, with Murdoch in the 1980's, giving him his every wish in return for his political support and his papers to sing her praises. This move created the monster we see in its true ugly form today.
    Thatcher gave Murdoch the freedom to have a large media market share, which Murdoch then expertly turned into power over the political elite. He took advantage of the freedom our democracy has and with some sort of dark genius, he bullied and bribed to the point where it has become universally accepted that without Murdoch's help and approval no party can be elected or stay in power for long.
    Once Thatcher let Murdoch have this unjust power, Tony Blair then proceeded to follow Thatcher's footsteps and got Murdoch's support in the 1997 election and now, more cringe, David Cameron is hypnotised by Murdoch's media power and enjoys behind closed doors dinners and parties with the media mogul.

    Surely this should be frowned upon, how can we rely on Murdoch's publications to give us objective news when politicians are in the pockets of Murdoch. The answer is we can't.
    For those searching The Sun when the news first broke this week for an explanation would have been sorely disappointed. All they had to show was a page two, 200 word report, a tiny story that the breasts on page 3 overshadowed.
    There is an overwhelming feeling from the public that we do not need to tolerate Murdoch-Government power any longer. The deceit and manipulation by Murdoch and his media empire should not be tolerated in a Western democracy and it has been allowed to happen for too long.
David Cameron and his covert Christmas dinners with Rebecca Brooks before allowing the BSkyB deal to become closer to reality is a pure example of their plan to abandon any chance of media ownership reform.
The sad state of affairs is that whatever the battle, whatever the stakes, in the end Murdoch wins.
    After the phone hacking scandal there is hope, although small, that there could be change. The public have been left feeling disgusted and this feeling should be taken advantage of and used to stop the media becoming controlled by one man and his chosen minions.
    A full independent inquiry needs to be carried out immediately and needless to add, an instant reversal of the green light on the BSkyB deal should also be automatic and it is unbelievable that the takeover could still happen. The decision has been delayed until September. Murdoch has never been so vulnerable and this opportunity should not be missed.
    This is a historic opportunity for parliament to exercise their most aggressive power to stop Murdoch's growing media monopoly once and for all.