Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Phonegate" Meets Pie - The Murdoch Media Empire Fail

I had to wait a few days to write anything about, since I was mired in inappropriate glee over the downfall. But after the circus in London today, complete with a pie throwing protester, I had to comment.

First, here's part of the AP report about the hearings in Britain's parliment:

Summoned by lawmakers to answer for a phone hacking and bribery scandal at one of his tabloids, Rupert Murdoch said he was humbled and ashamed Tuesday but accepted no responsibility for wrongdoing as a widening investigation threatened to ensnare Britain's prime minister.

In a three-hour grilling, the 80-year-old media tycoon insisted he was at fault only for trusting the wrong people at the now-defunct News of the World, and noted that the paper made up a tiny portion of his vast media empire.

The scandal has rocked Murdoch's News Corp. and embroiled Britain's top police, many journalists and politicians. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his Africa trip to appear before a special parliamentary question session on Wednesday.

Murdoch appeared confused and flustered in the beginning of Tuesday's parliamentary hearing, turning frequently to his son James for answers. But he soon regained his trademark cool.

He said he had known nothing of allegations that staff at the News of the World tabloid hacked into cell phones and bribed police to get information on celebrities, politicians and crime victims, and that he never would have approved such "horrible invasions" of privacy.

In the face of lawmakers' suggestions that his organization encouraged such behavior, he was unflappable — even after a protester rushed at him in the middle of the hearing.

Murdoch's media empire, especially it's Fox News outlets, represent everything that is wrong about modern journalism. Like many others, I have little to offer in the way of kind words towards Murdoch, nor all those who helped him get to where he is today. And frankly, it's about time that the unfolding events in Britain are occurring, and I hope it leads to a much further digging into Murdoch's organization and ultimately to it's crumbling. I say crumbling because no one should control so much of the media, no matter what their political persuasion is or their intentions.

However, as a Zen practitioner and a yogi, I have also been aware of another layer appearing in this whole saga. Murdoch's complete unwillingness to take any responsibility here is part of it. His obfuscating comments remind me of the garbed crap that came from our two fallen Zen teacher scandal buddies last fall and winter, Genpo and Eido Roshi.

So, too, is my own glee and general desire for the man to go down in flames like the leaders of Enron, Lehman Brothers, and other predatory corporations that have crashed and burned. Ill will is part of the three Buddhist poisons, a subset feeling and view that isn't quite hatred, but is heading that way.

It's likely things are going to get uglier before this is all over. Already, the whistleblower on the News of the World scandal has been found dead, police leaders in London have resigned, and Murdoch's British news outlets are being accused of widespread bribery. There will probably be an investigation or hearing of some sort here in the U.S. as well, and perhaps in other nations where Murdoch's media stands large.

Although I firmly believe that justice in this case would be to break up Murdoch's empire, and diminish it's power and influence, I'm also using the whole thing as an opportunity to watch the inner workings of ill will and it's friends. If you've had similar feelings around all of this, I invite you to do the same.


Anonymous said...

So many words for Murdoch and co, what about the consumers and advertisers who support this type of news?

Easy to blame and hate Murdoch and co, but without a market they would not exist.

gak said...

I personally would like to see the Murdoch empire fall. I have been reading that he uses info to blackmail people to make things work for him. If the media reports are correct, he should be out of GB very soon. My big fear is that over here, he has enough friends that he will maintain power.

Nathan said...

Anonymous - yes, you're right. The consumers and advertisers play a large roll in all of this.

Gak, It might be awhile before anything major happens here in the U.S. His companies seem to have ties all over the political and corporate landscape.

Brikoleur said...

@Anonymous: "Easy to blame and hate crack dealers and co, but without a market they would not exist." Right?