Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Murdoch is everyone's problem and everyone's responsibility

Too much humbug at the moment. Too much "not us, guv". Yes, obviously what the News of the World did is almost unspeakably vile even by their standards, and anything that can be done to reduce NewsCorp's power and status within British life - however minor, however much rearranging the deckchairs - has to be some kind of positive gesture. But it all goes far deeper. Remember that he began to gain ground, even before Labour's fatal victory-by-default, because much of the British working class had got drunk on '60s pop culture and had decided that the Daily Mirror was therefore too redolent of the old ideas of betterment and self-improvement. Think of how often you've heard people pretend to hate Murdoch "and all he stands for" while gleefully celebrating and enthusing over forms of mass culture which have got where they are very largely through his promotion and exposure. Think of how often you've heard people parroting anti-Murdoch rhetoric because it's what people of their political side do, while simultaneously laughing at the idea of the autodidact and dismissing the very concept of learning for its own sake. And think on. Where the anti-Murdoch Murdochians are concerned - those who think Murdoch is simply one phenomenon in isolation, rather than part of a far deeper and more embedded problem - the final bars of this song have never seemed more relevant.


  1. I hope I've always been a pretty straight anti-Murdoch anti-Murdochian, but I'm open to being corrected for the times I've gone wrong.

    While we can and should criticise ourselves systematically, we should also be able to hold particular individuals responsible when they clearly have an immense degree of personal power. Murdoch has had a unique opportunity to set the news agenda across several continents and to distribute support to his favoured (almost universally bad) politicians. And he's used that power to create a great deal of mischief in the world. We should certainly be able to point that he's a special case deserving unique opprobrium.

  2. I don't think you've ever gone wrong in my experience.

    You are absolutely right, of course. I have been thinking about these things very intensively over the last couple of days, and am about to write a fuller assessment of the historical factors.