News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is not, as many liberal politicians and commentators would have you believe "the devil incarnate." As a businessman without equal in the media, it's pure fantasy to even imagine he would be involved in everything illegal from ordering phone hacking to blackmail.
He has two main problems that may lead some people to buy into this fairytale...He's a rarity - a tycoon with a media empire that just about spans the globe yet which he personally controls. This is his weak point. It's impossibility for any one person to stay awake through all time zones.
Nevertheless, he has been an all-powerful proprietor who through the decades has created an environment where it's number one or nothing. And since the world today has little or no experiences of great industrial giants, Murdoch is misunderstood by the fast food generation.
European social democracies, in particular, love sticking it to fat cat industrialists...especially if the fat cats are working class people or colonials who rise above their station in life...They have to be knocked down a peg or two.
Be that as it may, Murdoch is not some rabid right wing fanatic bent on proving President Obama was born in Kenya. Yes, he in a conservative. But more than that he has always been a populist, giving people what they want.
The problem here is the Left doesn't want people to have what Murdoch offers them. In something akin to the tradition of racist stereotypes, they develop a malevolent and ruthless capitalist bent on exploiting his workers and dumbing down the general population...the devil incarnate.
The reality is quite different. All the British newspapers Murdoch owns were doing poorly when he bought them. The venerable Times was ready to close. He kept most open, increased circulation and revenues and saved hundreds of jobs.
The story is similar in America, but with the addition of fourth TV network he created to challenge the big three cartel. Fox TV has been an astounding success. And the liberals can't stand it.
The UK phone hacking scandal is the fault of Murdoch placing too much trust in field commanders who, in their efforts to keep their preeminent position in the media market, let the side down badly. You might say it was a similar scenario to Watergate, where President Nixon's cronies, in an effort to assure his reelection, embarked on what was called "dirty tricks," only to screw-up and destroy his presidency. Yet, in Nixon's case he knew, to some extent, what was taking place.
When Alexander the Great conquered much of the known world he left field commanders in charge of the various provinces. But, aside from the fact he died at 32, the empire was so spread out it wasn't long before it disintegrated.
It becomes more apparent the trouble at News International was something that gradually grew through the leadership of some top editors and managers, such as Les Hinton, yet culminating with the leadership of Rebekah Brooks.
The excesses of the men in this drama are less excusable than Brooks' role. Most were seasoned journalists/editors who should have known better, but acted as newsmen obsessed with beating the competition and/or envious of the celebrities they were debasing.
Brooks, however, is an example of what can go wrong when you fast track someone without the proper background. She simply may have been out of her depth and didn't know it. She was too busy enjoying her power, schmoozing the powerful. Why else would the former secretary turned editor of the Sun and News of the World claim she knew nothing and saw nothing?
The best analogy is former US President GW Bush, a man who was clearly out of his depth in the job, yet was fast tracked into it by voters and the US Supreme Court. In the end he got America involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, two needless conflicts that killed thousands of America's young and bankrupted the country after exhausting a budget surplus left by President Clinton
Yet, Brooks was placed in her position by Murdoch, who has taken responsibility, without criticizing his loyal former executives. His daughter Elizabeth was more forthcoming in her barbed opinion of Rebekah. Can't you wait for the tell-all books?
This fiasco is far from over since it has now enveloped Scotland Yard and is of concern to the FBI in America. In the end it will prove that one man, no matter how talented and who controls so much, won't be able exert enough control to keep all his commanders in line.
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