Rupert Murdoch

BBC interview with Murdoch in 1968 as he took possession of the newly defunct News of the World. As you can see, he was fully formed even then. The potential for trouble was apparent from the beginning.

Andrew Rawnsley of the Guardian — the paper that almost singlehandedly brought the phone hacking scandals in Britain to light — rips into Rupert Murdoch today. Because Murdoch is a naturalized American citizen and News Corp. is a registered U.S. company, he (or at least the people around him) may be facing charges there too. It’d be too much to hope this causes Fox News to miss a step, but it is a sign that even a behemoth can be brought down by the vigilance of what used to be known as journalism. There is much much less of it in the U.S. than the U.K., but maybe there’s just enough.

Britain has paid a high price for the concentration of so much media power in the hands of one family. Elected politicians have been cowed, public debate has been skewed and policy formulation has been distorted. On Friday, David Cameron offered a confessional on behalf of the whole political class. He admitted that both his government and previous ones had turned “a blind eye” to abuses of press power because they were so scared of that power. Too right. It has been known for years that a minority of journalists have suborned public officials, especially police officers, into selling confidential information. Yet successive home secretaries have either been unable or unwilling to get the police to do anything. It has long been an outrage that it is possible to own such a large chunk of the British media without being either a UK citizen or paying full UK taxes. Yet successive chancellors of the exchequer have been unable or unwilling to do anything about that either.

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