The Everyday Corruption of the Corporate Media
Hughes, Lesley, Canadian Dimension
THE BAD NEWS just keeps coming.
Every time a thoughtful Canadian turns around, there are fresh disclosures of bad behaviour in the media. Not long ago, denial of media abuse was so deep in functioning democracies like ours that both producers and consumers could tune out any hint of wrongdoing with almost no effort. That was before media baron Conrad Black went to prison, before Jan Wong self-published the details of her professional divorce from the Globe and Mail, before scores of News Corporation employees ratted out Rupert Murdoch and before US icon Dan Rather confessed his sins (and those of CBS) in a tell-all autobiography.
British MP Tom Watson and acclaimed journalist Martin Hickman had to keep their expose Dial M for Murdoch a secret until the last moment, fearful that powerful people on Fleet Street or in Scotland Yard might sabotage it. The two traced the corruption of Rupert Murdoch and his news empire, showing how it ensnared UK politicians and police, how it threatened the basic human rights of unsuspecting ordinary people and undermined the very democracy it claimed to serve.
Few details have surfaced in Canada's corporate media, but among the alleged crimes of Murdoch's media are phone and computer hacking, perjury, extortion, destruction of evidence, bribery of police and public officials, intimidation, illegal surveillance and invasion of privacy. Those are lesser crimes compared to the claim that, using these illicit news-gathering techniques and the threat of blackmail, Rupert Murdoch and his corporation covertly held the balance of power in British politics from Thatcher to the present. Both David Cameron and Tony Blair have testified publicly to maintaining a necessary coziness with Murdoch and his agenda.
Murdoch had his ways of ensuring cooperation in his rise to the top of the media business, with a billion readers and annual sales of $33 billion: money, flattery, and especially fear. …