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Posts Tagged ‘Rupert Murdoch’

FOX’s Murdoch Tries Buying White House, US Media Won’t Sound The Alarm

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 24, 2012

An obviously horrified Carl Bernstein, writing for the UK’s Guardian newspaper (probably because no US media outside of Huffington Post or maybe MSNBC would touch it), on the incontrovertible evidence that Rupert Murdoch was trying to buy himself the US presidency via control of his intended figurehead General David Petraeus, whose candidacy he and Roger Ailes intended to use FOX News to promote:

Indeed, almost as dismaying as Ailes’ and Murdoch’s disdain for an independent and truly free and honest press, and as remarkable as the obsequious eagerness of their messenger to convey their extraordinary presidential draft and promise of on-air Fox support to Petraeus, has been the ho-hum response to the story by the American press and the country’s political establishment, whether out of fear of Murdoch, Ailes and Fox – or, perhaps, lack of surprise at Murdoch’s, Ailes’ and Fox’s contempt for decent journalistic values or a transparent electoral process.

The tone of the media’s reaction was set from the beginning by the Post’s own tin-eared treatment of this huge story: relegating it, like any other juicy tidbit of inside-the-beltway media gossip, to the section of the newspaper and its website that focuses on entertainment, gossip, cultural and personality-driven news, instead of the front page.

“Bob had a great scoop, a buzzy media story that made it perfect for Style. It didn’t have the broader import that would justify A1,” Liz Spayd, the Post’s managing editor, told Politico when asked why the story appeared in the style section.

Buzzy media story? Lacking the “broader import” of a front-page story? One cannot imagine such a failure of news judgment among any of Spayd’s modern predecessors as managing editors of the Post, especially in the clear light of the next day and with a tape recording – of the highest audio quality – in hand.


And here let us posit the following: were an emissary of the president of NBC News, or of the editor of the New York Times or the Washington Post ever caught on tape promising what Ailes and Murdoch had apparently suggested and offered here, the hue and cry, especially from Fox News and Republican/Tea Party America, from the Congress to the US Chamber of Commerce to the Heritage Foundation, would be deafening and not be subdued until there was a congressional investigation, and the resignations were in hand of the editor and publisher of the network or newspaper. Or until there had been plausible and convincing evidence that the most important elements of the story were false. And, of course, the story would continue day after day on page one and remain near the top of the evening news for weeks, until every ounce of (justifiable) piety about freedom of the press and unfettered presidential elections had been exhausted.

So what spared us the prospect of a puppet President Petraeus mouthing Rupert Murdoch’s dogma? Apparently Petraeus himself turned down the idea. That, and that alone. Which was a good thing, because if we’d had to rely on the Washington (Hiatt) Post or the New York Times to do it, we likely would be watching Petraeus being sworn in as president by John Roberts in a few weeks.

Yet another nail in the “liberal media” myth coffin.

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Murdoch’s Media: Bollixing Manhunts, Pushing Lies About Education

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2012

Charles has already brought up how Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has added to its long list of atrocities by messing up the 2006 search for a serial killer in the UK. I’m here to mention how a Murdoch employee is trying, in My Lai fashion, to destroy American public education under the guise of “saving” it with charter schools and vouchers:

A crisis in the U.S. public education system poses a “very grave national security threat,” requiring an overhaul to offer families more choices, business, education and political leaders said in a report.

Along with undermining economic competitiveness and increasing inequality, subpar public schools threaten recruiting for the State Department, intelligence agencies and the armed forces, according to a task force headed by Joel Klein, the former New York City school chief now at News Corp. (NWSA), and Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State.

Several members of the task force, including Weingarten, disagreed on its tone and recommendations, according to their written dissents. Parts of the report cast “public schools in the worst possible light, while ignoring facts to the contrary” and demoralizing teachers, Weingarten wrote.

Vouchers and charters don’t systematically improve the system and instead “deplete badly needed resources from the public schools that educate 90 percent of our students,” Weingarten said.

And just in case you weren’t sure about the motives of Klein et al:

The message from the majority of the task force echoed a 1983 report, called “A Nation at Risk.” Commissioned by President Ronald Reagan, it fueled three decades of efforts to overhaul U.S. schools.

That would be the report that was discredited almost as soon as it came out, and whose most famous debunking — the Sandia Labs study — was commissioned by George H.W. Bush and then suppressed when it showed that American public schools, despite the constant attacks on them by conservative Republicans and DINOs that were already in full swing, were on the whole performing at levels similar to if not better than private schools.

Meanwhile, the number of charter school scandals continues to grow.

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Murdoch Government Hacking Scandal: The Guardian Prints What The NYT, WaPo, And US Broadcast News Avoid

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 1, 2011

Following up on Charles’ post, here is what you currently get when you type the words “murdoch government computer hack” into Google:

There should be two (2) things that strike the reader:

1) Holy crap. Rupert Murdoch’s people felt they were such studs that they could hack into the computers of the British government as if it were their fricking birthright. Why aren’t they in jail for this?

2) Look at the wide range of media covering this story. While the US broadcast media is as always missing in action, many US papers and magazines have the story — with the striking exceptions of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

And yes, I checked out the “709 related articles” and didn’t see anything by either paper: Read the rest of this entry »

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Murdoch Stew 2: Now With Computer Hacking!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 7, 2011

Rupert Murdoch‘s now fighting not only a two-front war in the phone hacking scandal, it’s branched out in America to include computer hacking as well:

The FBI is widening its investigation of News Corporation’s activities within the US to look at whether alleged computer hacking by one of its subsidiaries was an isolated case or part of a “larger pattern of behaviour”, Time magazine is reporting.

Time suggests that the FBI inquiry has been extended from a relatively narrow look at alleged malpractices by News Corp in America into a more general investigation of whether the company used possibly illegal strong-arm tactics to browbeat rival firms.

This is in reference to the Floorgraphics case, where Murdoch threw a ton of money at the Floorgraphics people to settle the civil suit that was in progress, then bought Floorgraphics immediately afterwards. But just because something’s been settled in civil court doesn’t mean it can’t be tried in criminal court if evidence of criminal wrongdoing exists — hence the FBI’s involvement.

That popcorn’s starting to smell really good right now.

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FOX’s Roger Ailes Linked To Longtime US Phone Hacking Rumors

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 18, 2011

My, my.

Up to this point Rupert’s been trying to insulate his TV fiefdom from his doomed print-media fiefdom.

But that strategy may be about to collapse, as longstanding allegations that Murdoch employee (and former Nixonite and former RNC chair) Roger Ailes phone hacked US citizens for FOX News are coming to the fore:

“Has Roger Ailes been keeping tabs on your phone calls?”

That’s how began a post back in 2008, when a former Fox News executive charged that Ailes had outfitted a highly secured “brain room” in Fox’s New York headquarters for “counterintelligence” and may have used it to hack into private phone records.


But rumors have floated in the press and on the Internet about possible phone hacking in that special-security-clearance-only bunker at Fox HQ for years.

Dan Cooper was one of the people who helped create the Fox News channel with Roger Ailes, and was fired in 1996. In 2008, Cooper wrote on his website that David Brock [who later walked totally away from the conservative movement and is now head of Media Matters — PW] had used him as an anonymous, on-background-only source for an Ailes profile he was writing for New York magazine. Before the piece was published, on November 17, 1997, Cooper claims that his talent agent, Richard Leibner, told him he had received a call from Ailes, who identified Cooper as a source, and insisted that Leibner drop him as a client–or any client reels Leibner sent Fox would pile up in a corner and gather dust. Cooper continued: 

“I made the connections. Ailes knew I had given Brock the interview. Certainly Brock didn’t tell him. Of course. Fox News had gotten Brock’s telephone records from the phone company, and my phone number was on the list. Deep in the bowels of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, News Corporation’s New York headquarters, was what Roger called the Brain Room. Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News. But unlike virtually everybody else, because I had to design and build the Brain Room, I knew it also housed a counterintelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”


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Sunday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 17, 2011

— Rather than make the rich pay their share of taxes, the state of Michigan is taking away democracy from yet another town so it can destroy what’s left of its middle class in the name of “fiscal responsibility”:

Now, Harris is black, and the other cities with EFMs aren’t as segregated (Pontiac is 39% white and 48% African American and Ecorse is 52% white and 40% African American, though Detroit is 12% white and 81% African American).

But it is rather telling that the first city in MI to have its democracy taken away under Rick Snyder’s EFM law is one that has long suffered under both globalization and racism. Rather than finding real solutions to those long-festering problems, we’re just going to shut it down.

— Wonder what life is like growing up with an Objectivist parent, a worshiper of welfare queen and moocher Ayn Rand, goddess of the Tea Party? Wonder no more, as Alyssa Bereznak describes the behavior of her Randroid father:

From what I understood of his favorite capitalist champion, any form of altruism was evil. But how could that kind of blanket self-interest extend to his own children, the people he was legally and morally bound to take care of? What was I supposed to do, fend for myself?

The answer to my question came on an autumn weekend during my sophomore year in high school. I was hosting a Harry Potter-themed float party in our driveway, a normal ritual to prepare decorations for my high school quad the week of homecoming. As I was painting a cardboard owl, my father asked me to come inside the house. He and his new wife sat me down at the dinner table with grave faces.

“We were wondering if you would petition to be emancipated,” he said in his lawyer voice.

“What does that mean?” I asked, picking at the mauve paint on my hands. I later discovered that for most kids, declaring emancipation is an extreme measure — something you do if your parents are crack addicts or deadbeats.

“You would need to become financially independent,” he said. “You could work for me at my law firm and pay rent to live here.”

— Hugh Grant may well have broke open the News of the World phone hack scandal case, by breaking through the various firewalls put up around Andy Coulson, Rebekah Wade Brooks, and other Murdoch employees (and Tory government employees, at least in Coulson’s case). His method? Giving the person who bugged him a taste of his own medicine. (The audio is here.) Here’s a portion of the transcript:

Me So, how’s the whistleblowing going?
Him I’m trying to get a book published. I sent it off to a publisher who immediately accepted it and then it got legal and they said, “This is never going to get published.”
Me Why? Because it accuses too many people of crime?
Him Yes, as I said to the parliamentary commission, Coulson knew all about it and regularly ordered it . . . He [Coulson] rose quickly to the top; he wanted to cover his tracks all the time. So he wouldn’t just write a story about a celeb who’d done something. He’d want to make sure they could never sue, so he wanted us to hear the celeb like you on tape saying, “Hello, darling, we had lovely sex last night.” So that’s on tape – OK, we’ve got that and so we can publish . . . Historically, the way it went was, in the early days of mobiles, we all had analogue mobiles and that was an absolute joy. You know, you just . . . sat outside Buckingham Palace with a £59 scanner you bought at Argos and get Prince Charles and everything he said.
Me Is that how the Squidgy tapes [of Diana’s phone conversations] came out? Which was put down to radio hams, but was in fact . . .
Him Paps in the back of a van, yes . . . I mean, politicians were dropping like flies in the Nineties because it was so easy to get stuff on them. And, obviously, less easy to justify is celebrities. But yes.

Turns out that it wasn’t just the News of the World doing it, but the Daily Mail and The Sun as well — and when Rebekah Wade (now Rebekah Brooks), the current chief executive of Murdoch’s News International, was editor of the Murdoch tabloid The Sun:

Me So everyone knew? I mean, would Rebekah Wade have known all this stuff was going on?
Him Good question. You’re not taping, are you?
Me [slightly shrill voice] No.
Him Well, yeah. Clearly she . . . took over the job of [a journalist] who had a scanner who was trying to sell it to members of his own department. But it wasn’t a big crime. [NB: Rebekah Brooks has always denied any knowledge of phone-hacking. The current police investigation is into events that took place after her editorship of the News of the World.]


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