Murdoch isn’t Emperor Ming, says ex-Guardian chief

The Observer’s media columnist Peter Preston has defended a supposedly under fire Rupert Murdoch.

The former Guardian editor provided a semblance of balance in the left-leaning media’s apparently dogmatic pursuit of News Corporation’s head honcho.

While many fret about the possibility of Murdoch taking full control of BSkyB, Preston argues that such a development would be a case of plus ça change.

“In a monopolies-and-mergers world already busy scrapping restrictions on media ownership, things won’t be different,” he said.

“Murdoch is not the Emperor Ming. He doesn’t sign every News of The World expenses chit or control every assignment. His beloved Bun – only 20 controversial jobs ordered from a private eye – barely troubled the scorers the last time the information commissioner blew his top. (The Daily Mail won there with 952 dodgy commissions.) He often trails behind public opinion rather than leads it. The coming of the internet, with all its small start-ups, spurts of growth and infinite variety, has diminished his power, not expanded it. He didn’t pay Jonathan Ross £18m. He hasn’t driven any rival British paper out of business since he saved the Sun.

“Of course he needs watching. Of course there are dangers with any corporation so big. But demonisation is a dangerous and potentially deluding road to tread. If you can’t see your adversary clearly, then you really don’t see him at all.”

Preston added that the New York Times’ investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World failed to go far enough. “Now the Guardian, Independent and BBC are left to try to do what the NYT didn’t do: name enough names, produce enough hard evidence, to make something happen,” he said. (Source: The Observer)

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.


(Source: POLIS)

 

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