Our straight talking Lancashire lass takes a sideways look at the daily news.
Showdown on Media Street
Finally. The show's over for Rupert Murdoch (for now, at least). The BSkyB take-over is dead in the water, and thanks to the events over the past year News International has its tail between its legs. Today, Rupert Murdoch will be grilled at the Leveson inquiry, one year after the phone hacking scandal blew the media mogul’s empire wide open.
It all started with a rogue journalist at the News of the World who’d been caught hacking into the phones of the rich and famous. At the time, people shrugged and figured that if people craved celebrity they sacrifice privacy to some extent. It’s all part of the game. Not headline news.
But then it was revealed that the mobile phone of murdered teenager Millie Dowler had been hacked. Messages had been deleted, giving her family hope that she was still alive, whilst she was dead in a ditch. This terrible event opened the floodgates, and within days the spotlight focused on the cosy relationship between the police and the government and Murdoch’s media empire.
As revelations poured in, the tidal wave became unstoppable. In a dramatic turn of events, the News of the World paper was closed, hundreds of people lost their jobs. Rupert Murdoch and his son James were hauled into Parliament to give evidence to a Select Committee. Influential high-level members of the Met Police were sacked. Murdoch was pied in the face.
But it didn’t end there. It emerged that the issue went straight to the heart of government. David Cameron hiring former NOTW editor Andy Coulson as Head of PR – Coulson was arrested for his involvement in the phone hacking scandal – the Christmas dinners hosted by the Camerons, attended by the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks (another former NOTW editor, also arrested for her role in the scandals, and protégé to Rupert Murdoch). The high-level deals behind the closed doors of Chipping Norton.
It has now been suggested that the Murdochs used another one of their UK newspapers, The Sun, to relentlessly attack Gordon Brown while he was Prime Minister. And emails released yesterday by News Corps suggest that in return for Murdoch’s support, the Conservatives planned to slash the BBC, get rid of Ofcom (the media regulator) and smooth the process for the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB, giving them a media monopoly in the UK.
It should be added that the Conservatives, via Culture Secratary Jeremy Hunt, have already disputed the significance of these emails and are expected to further argue their case in front of the Leveson Inquiry.
Today Rupert Murdoch gets his day in court, and his revelations are predicted to be explosive. He is out for revenge. We expect disclosure of his dealings with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron… because all these politicians and leaders benefitted from Murdoch’s media support. The thing is, when you deal with the Devil, there’s always a price to be paid.
I’m guessing that if Murdoch is going down, he’s going to be bringing a lot of people with him. Bring on the popcorn!