Rupert Murdoch is a union-bashing, racist, warmongering thief, hypocrite, liar and all round crook. That’s not news to anyone, nor are these characteristics unusual for his class of people – the capitalist class. In fact, they are prerequisites. What is unusual is that some of the crimes of his empire are being brought into the light of day.
The News of the World scandals are a small tip of the iceberg relative to the crimes of the Murdoch empire. The hacking scandals go back some years, but people didn’t care quite so much when it was the royals or celebrity targets. The pressure intensified rapidly with the revelation of the hacking of a murdered girl’s phone.
It is this example of rottenness that has drawn the most attention and the most feigned regret from the Murdochs themselves. But this focus is designed to keep the exposure of the empire from going any deeper.
Murdoch acted quickly to close the News of the World, and a few hacks have fallen on their swords to try to stop the unravelling. While his competitors and adversaries within the system are having a field day exposing the rottenness, they will play along with the deception because they are all in the same boat, and if he falls, then he takes a lot of people with him.
This was nowhere clearer than in the parliamentary committee’s questioning of the Murdochs. The pie-throwing incident aside, it was a highly choreographed distraction. With few exceptions, the questioning steered well clear of anything that would expose the empire’s scandals. No questions were raised about the original News of the World whistleblower, who had only a day before been found dead in his apartment in London; the corporate media continue to run the police line that there is “nothing suspicious” about his death. There was little or no questioning about News Limited’s connections with the political establishment and the police. The questions that were asked were ridiculously banal distractions – like why Murdoch used the back door when visiting Downing Street.
But the real omission is that the News of the World scandals fade into irrelevance compared to the historic crimes of Murdoch’s empire. Through his global media, Murdoch is responsible for selling and giving cover to horrific wars and anti-worker decisions that have wreaked untold human suffering.
While such horrors of capitalism are systemic, Murdoch himself has had more influence on selling the “war on terror” than any other single politician or capitalist. It was the News of the World and other Murdoch-owned media that sold the lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Murdoch told the parliament inquiry: “I would like all the victims of phone hacking to know how completely and deeply sorry I am. Apologising cannot take back what has happened. Still, I want them to know the depth of my regret for the horrible invasions into their lives.”
He has no regret for the invasions into the lives and countries of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine. No regret for the more than one million Iraqi people who have died because of the war that he sold. No regret for the soldiers who have died in the wars for oil; in fact, News of the World even hacked into some of their phones.
It is the most sickening hypocrisy imaginable.
The Murdochs, like all of the capitalist class, are very conscious of their interests. Racism and war play a very important part in the maintenance of their system.
The Murdoch empire has perpetuated and inflamed the anti-Muslim hysteria over the past decade.
The Murdoch empire has sold the lies and misinformation behind racist policies like the NT intervention in Australia.
The warmongering and racism of the Murdoch empire is an important part of a very conscious war on the working people of the world.
The Murdoch empire is also at the forefront of selling the policies of privatisation, social security cutbacks and other attacks on working people and spreading prejudice against the organised working class. In many ways it continually seeks to pit worker against worker, to distract from the real enemy.
When there is resistance or exposure of their crimes, they use their connections with the political establishment and the state to guarantee their position. Paying cops for information would be the least of the corrupt practices involve in maintaining an empire like Murdoch’s.
This interconnectedness and corruption are another aspect of the News of the World scandals that is receiving far less attention in the corporate media. The sensationalism of the pie thrower (which was indeed sensational) has taken precedence over the coverage of the cops who have been questioned about their connections with News Limited.
These connections are nothing new or unusual for the capitalist system. The capitalists and the state machine are, in the words of Lenin, “connected by a thousand threads”. Even if a few of the threads are cut by the resignation of some senior cops, this interconnection will remain intact. Corruption is an integral part of capitalism’s operation.
The Murdochs have their media empire to flog their feigned apologies and regret. They pay PR consultants to prepare them for the public exposure. It’s all a charade to stop the real questions being asked. But who’s going to buy it?
The Murdoch empire is exposed, but as in its newspapers, there is not much news in the exposure. So far, he has not lost a thing. The closure of News of the World and the failure of his bid for the satellite channel BSkyB are irrelevant in comparison to the scale of the $70 billion empire.
A few executives have been forced out, but ultimately this is about protecting the empire itself. We can’t expect any real justice from the system itself. Even if the big fish were really to be fried, the injustice perpetuated by the Murdoch empire would still prevail, because greed, corruption and deception are the norm for capitalism. Capitalism is based on exploitation and subjugation of working people; it is a criminal system, so it requires criminals to run it.
So while we can all revel in Murdoch’s long (and pied) face and demand that he pay for all his crimes, ultimately to do away with such criminality, we have to do away with the capitalist system. Capitalists will only ever run society in their interests. That is why working people need to overthrow them and run society ourselves, in our interests.