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Rupert, the Sun King, might be "a newspaper man" but........

In a piece in The Nation discussing the possible takeover of some newspapers in the US by the Koch brothers, reference is made to whether the journalists in the take-over target might prefer Rupert Murdoch as a proprietor.    Seems not, even though some expressed the view that unlike the Kochs, the Sun King was at least "a newspaper man".   But with a large caveat!

"True, but by the same logic, Jack the Ripper was a lover of the ladies. Murdoch may be a “newspaper man,” but he is surely not a man who respects honest journalism or even the laws of society as they apply to it (or much else, for that matter). Just in the past few weeks, Murdoch has been making news in the following ways:

§ He paid out $139 million to settle a class-action suit by News Corp. shareholders, who accused the board of directors of putting the Murdoch family’s interests above those of the company with regard to both the British phone-hacking episode—one of the most egregious criminal scandals in the history of journalism—and News Corp.’s sweetheart acquisition of his daughter Elizabeth’s television production company. The lawsuit alleged that the board “disregarded its fiduciary duties” and allowed Murdoch to run News Corp. as his “own personal fiefdom.”

§ Murdoch allowed, and then proceeded to defend, the unconscionable publication by his tabloid, the New York Post, of a front-page photo of two innocent people attending the Boston Marathon beneath the screaming headline “BAG MEN,” with the massive subheadline: “Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.” This was not merely a mistake; it was a deliberate falsification of information that the FBI had made available to all journalists. Unsurprisingly, both men were brown-skinned. Also unsurprising to longtime skimmers of the Post’s front page, this “story” came shortly after the paper had falsely portrayed yet another dark-skinned-but-innocent individual, this one a Saudi, as a suspect in the bombing. (The paper also multiplied the actual death tally by a factor of four, claiming twelve fatalities.) An apparently out-to-lunch Murdoch tweeted afterward: “All NYPost pics were those distributed by FBI. And instantly withdrawn when FBI changed directions.” Nobody in the Murdoch empire cared to explain just how hundreds of thousands of newspapers already distributed could be “withdrawn,” especially in light of Post editor Col Allan’s statement that “we stand by our story.”

§ In Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, columnist Karl Rove was once again opining on its op-ed pages without revealing to readers the full extent of his enormous role, both financial and political, in the candidacies he was describing. As Media Matters has noted, in addition to Rove, during the 2012 election, “numerous op-ed writers…were not identified as Romney advisers” when writing in support of the Republican candidate.

§ Meanwhile, as Bloomberg Businessweek reported in a laudatory cover story on the mogul—who took home pay of $22,418,292 plus benefits in 2012, according to David Carr’s New York Times column—the Justice Department is still investigating News Corp. under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for the alleged bribery of Chinese officials.

If Rupert Murdoch can somehow be considered a savior of journalism of any kind, much less of some of our most important daily newspapers, then perhaps we need to reconsider our opposition to a mercy killing and put our hopes (and prayers) in reincarnation instead."


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