Amid the Murdoch scandal, there is the acrid smell of business as usual

Source: John Pilger

In Scoop, Evelyn Waugh’s brilliant satire on the press, there is the moment when Lord Copper, owner of the Daily Beast, meets his new special war correspondent, William Boot, in truth an authority on wild flowers and birdsong. A confused Boot is brought to his lordship’s presence by Mr. Salter, The Beast’s foreign editor.

“Is Mr. Boot all set for his trip?”

“Up to a point, Lord Copper.”

Copper briefed Boot as follows: “A few sharp victories, some conspicuous acts of personal bravery on the Patriot side and a colourful entry into the capital. That is The Beast policy for the war… We shall expect the first victory about the middle of July.”

Rupert Murdoch is a 21st century Lord Copper. The amusing gentility is missing; the absurdity of his power is the same. The Daily Beast wanted victories; it got them. The Sun wanted dead Argies; Gotcha! Of the bloodbath in Iraq, Murdoch said, “There is going to be collateral damage. And if you really want to be brutal about it, better we get it done now…”. The Times, the Sunday Times, Fox got it done.

Long before it was possible to hack phones, Murdoch was waging a war on journalism, truth, humanity, and succeeded because he knew how to exploit a system that welcomed his rapacious devotion to the “free market”. Murdoch may be more extreme in his methods, but he is no different in kind from many of those now lining up to condemn him who are his beneficiaries, mimics, collaborators, apologists.

Read More: Amid the Murdoch scandal, there is the acrid smell of business as usual

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