Burn Murdoch, burn!

The Spectator's cover.

The headline on the final issue of Rupert Murdoch’s News Of The World, “Thank You & Goodbye” provoked speculation of suitable rejoinders like “Piss Off & Good Riddance!” and more colourful expressions of the same sentiment.

There’s a global celebration at the political storm that continues to beset the Murdoch corporate media empire. And there seems no end in sight with former NOTW editor Rebekah Brooks arrested for alleged phone hacking and bribery of police officers – even though there is speculation that this arrest  is a device to minimise the flack for the the British polic.

Of course we know that Murdoch’s empire is still alive, powerful and malignant but it is good to know that the empire is not invincible. In 2010, Forbes listed Rupert Murdoch as the 13th most powerful person in the world. And he certainly behaved like he was, routinely granting audiences to prime ministerial hopefuls from Australia to Britain who believed that rather the electors held the key to winning government.

People like Rupert Murdoch really think they rule the world and there is an objective basis to this because never before in human history has there been such a concentration of wealth and power in the hands of such a small minority.

As an article “The Internationalization of Monopoly Capital” by John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney and R. Jamil Jonna in the June 2011 Monthly Review noted:

“Inequality, in all its ugliness, is, if anything, deeper and more entrenched. Today the richest 2 percent of adult individuals own more than half of global wealth, with the richest 1 percent accounting for 40 percent of total global assets.60 If, in the “golden age” of monopoly capitalism in the 1960s, the gap in per capita income between the richest and poorest regions of the world fell from 15:1 to 13:1—by the end of the twentieth century, the gap had widened to 19:1.61 From 1970 to 2009, the per capita GDP of developing countries (excluding China) averaged a mere 6.3 percent of the per capita GDP of the G8 countries (the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, and Russia). From 2000 to 2006 (just prior to the Great Financial Crisis), this was only slightly higher, at 6.6 percent. Meanwhile, the average GDP per capita of the fifty-eight or so Least Developed Countries (a UN-designated subset of developing countries) as a share of average G8 GDP per capita declined from 1.8 percent in 1970, to 1.3 percent in 2006.62 The opening decade of the twenty-first century has seen waves of food crises, with hundreds of millions of people chronically food-deprived, in an era of rising food prices and widespread speculation.63

The Murdoch empire controls a massive 70% of print media in Australia and if Foxtel’s $2 billion bid for Austar is successful, this will create a pay-TV monopoly in Australia under the management control of News Corp.

In Britain, even with the closing down of of NOTW, it still controls The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and 39%  television network British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), the International Business Times website reported.

In the US, Murdoch owns Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, the rabidly reactionary Fox News Network and the New York Post, among many other smaller media outlets.

With media domination like this it is no wonder that many people believed Murdoch’s empire to be invincible. But it is not. Every one of these corporate empires depends on the workers it employs – and exploits – to get anything done. Without the daily slog of their employers these corporate emperors can do ZILCH.

We saw a little revolt even from the NOTW staff as its last issue was being prepared, as this Melbourne Age report explained:

“Sacked News of the World staff appear to have fired a parting shot at their former editor Rebekah Brooks, disguising mocking messages in the crossword of the tabloid’s final edition.

“Brooks, now the chief executive of News International, reportedly brought in two loyal proofreaders to sanitise Sunday’s final edition of any jibes directed at her following the newspaper’s spectacular demise during the phone hacking scandal.

“But they failed to detect the not-so-cryptic clues that appear to savage her in the crosswords on page 47.

“Among the clues in the paper’s Quickie puzzle were: ‘Brook’, ‘stink’, ‘catastrophe’ and ‘digital protection’.

“The Cryptic Crossword appears to go even further, including the hints ‘criminal enterprise’, ‘mix in prison’, ‘string of recordings’, and ‘will fear new security measure’.

“Another clue was ‘woman stares wildly at calamity’, with suggestions it refers to a photograph of Mrs Brooks as she left the News International HQ in east London on Thursday after staff were told the paper would be shut down.”

A small and belated protest, perhaps, but it is a reminder of real potential power of the workers to bring down even the biggest of corporate empires that rule the world today.

One Comment to “Burn Murdoch, burn!”

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