Thursday, July 14, 2011

Murdoch: into the Endgame

Two weeks ago Rupert Murdoch-controlled News International has a minority holding in BSkyB and full ownership of four national Daily and Sunday newspapers. True, He had explored turning his Dailies into seven day operations, but that looked to be a little while away. Also true, he was bidding for 100% control of BSkyB.

Now he has a minority holding in BSkyB and full ownership of three Daily and Sunday newspapers. A seven day Sun looks to be only a few weeks away and although the current bid for BSkyB has been shelved, another bid could be tabled within a few months, if need be.

It rather looks as though Murdoch has lost a battle, but not yet lost the war.

Yet there is still the ongoing political shitstorm to get through. Though the pressure from the BSkyB bid may take some of the heat away, there is still the ongoing police investigation and the political and judicial inquiry and the real possibility of a backlash in the US.

From the point of view of the UK, Murdoch has had a small defeat: his papers can never again behave with such impunity, and British politicians will now be extremely wary in their dealings with the press. We will see if that will be enough to satisfy the wrath of political and public opinion.

I suspect it will, which will mean that the Murdoch serpent has been only partially de-fanged.

For me, however, it is not enough: it merely restates that breaking the law is a bad idea, it does not take sufficient sanction against the criminals responsible in the first place. The judicial inquiry and the police investigation must be backed to the hilt until full completion.

Never again should the press or the police, still less politicians, believe themselves to be above the law.


Richard T said...

The re-erection of a Murdoch Sunday paper may lead News International into more trouble. As the precipitate closure of the News of the World made the staff redundant without notice and outwith the statuory 90 day consultation period, the organisation is going to walk into serious unfair dismissal problems if the Sunday Sun appears at any time within the 90 days and probably within whatever statutory notice was in the employees' contracts. The redundancy terms are going to have to be very generous to avoid trouble and, bearing in mind the manner of the dismissals, I can't see much hope for forbearance from the former employees of the News of the World. We shall see.

Tim Worstall said...

Not quite. News I owns the newspapers. News Corp owns News I plus the BSkyB stake.