Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rupert Murdoch vs the World

Hacking a dead girl's phone to delete messages so that you can "harvest" more messages is the state-of-the-art for reporting in Murdoch's press empire.

Here's a cartoon showing how Murdoch "improved" the Wall Street Journal when he took it over...

Click to Enlarge

I think I see a way for Rupert Murdoch out of his current mess. Just bid a higher price to induce the current corporate owners to unload the UK government and sell it to him lock, stock, and barrel. He can then simply quash all the lawsuits and openly unleash the police on his critics. Now that would be Murdoch "justice".

Here is Barry Ritholtz's forlorn hope for the media:
You cannot have a functional Democracy without a vigorous press and a well informed electorate. Here’s to hoping that the net effect of the unfolding scandal is a more aggressive press run by Journalists, and fewer media barons mucking up the process.
Oh how "yesterday" that kind of thinking is...

Ritholtz gets into the swing of things when he notes:
Murdoch has had an out-sized influence on the political processes on 3 continents and numerous countries. In the UK, he is facing possible charges of corrupting Scotland yard. After years of bullying Parliament into submission, the MPs smell blood in the water and appear to be out for revenge.

In the US, Murdoch’s Fox News has coarsened the political process and LITERALLY made the American public dumber. Fox News viewers consistently rank amongst the least knowledgeable, worst informed people when it comes to the FACTS about the issues of the day. Over the short run, it has been a cynical yet highly profitable infotainment machine, but ultimately, highly destructive to our body polity.
In Canada we had our Mini-Me of a right wing nut media baron, the infamous "Lord" Black who is still serving time in a US jail for his crimes while running his media empire. From Wikipedia:
Black was convicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago on July 13, 2007 and sentenced to serve 78 months in federal prison, pay Hollinger $6.1 million, in addition to a fine of $125,000.

Black was found guilty of diverting funds for personal benefit from money due Hollinger International when the company sold certain publishing assets and of other irregularities. For example, in 2000, in an illegal and surreptitious arrangement that came to be known as the "Lerner Exchange," Black acquired Chicago's Lerner Newspapers and sold it to Hollinger.[22] He also obstructed justice by taking possession of documents to which he was not entitled.[23] The case is still under appeal.


On October 28, 2010, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned two of the three remaining mail fraud counts. It left Black convicted of one count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. The court also ruled that he must be resentenced.[40] On December 17, 2010, Black lost an appeal of his remaining convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice. The three-person panel did not provide reasons. On May 31, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to grant Black leave to appeal his two remaining convictions without any comment.[41]

The resentencing on the two remaining counts by the original trial judge occurred on June 24, 2011.[42] Black's lawyers recommended that he be sentenced to the 29 months he's already served while the prosecution argued for Black to complete his original 6½ year sentence. The probation officer's report recommended a sentence of between 33 and 41 months.[43] At the hearing, Judge St. Eve resentenced Black to a reduced term of 42 months and a fine of $125,000, returning him to prison on September 6, 2011[3] to serve the remaining 13 months of his sentence.[4]

On June 30, 2011, Conrad Black published an article for the National Review Online that provided his scathing view of the legal case, detailing it as a miscarriage of justice and an "unaccountable and often lawless prosecution."[44]
Oh, and I believe "Scarface Al" Capone wrote a news article from jail pointing out that his conviction was a travesty of justice and that he, Capone, was a well-known pillar of society in Chicago and that the police and judiciary in Chicago were well known for corruption and railroading honest citizens into jail.

The problem these days is that a good man who owns a media empire just can't get his voice heard. People need to know that fine folk like Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch get to to the top by starting out working for pennies, being frugal, working hard, providing a good service, getting noted for their probity, and advancing through the organization, until they finally become top boss beloved by all their employees. Along the way men like Black and Murdoch learn to respect hard work and the life of ordinary citizens, so they show generosity of spirit and a helpfulness toward broader society in recognition of their own good fortune at achieving all the rewards that life has on offer.

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