Wednesday, 13 July 2011

How much power does Rupert Murdoch have?

The investigation into the widespread hacking by Murdoch's newspapers continues in the UK. The conservative estimate of 4,000 people targeted may turn into over 10,000 such victims.

Murdoch has been busy buying shares in his own company and is considering selling the rest of his newspapers in the UK. What he really wants is the BSkyB deal. This deal must be worth an amazing amount of money (and power).

The puppetmaster

Considering that every Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher has had strong links with Murdoch and that more recent ones needed his approval to go for that job, the results of the Weeting Inquiry could be very interesting, if conducted properly. One thing I find really interesting is that Tony Blair doesn't appear to have been targeted for snooping as Gordon Brown has. If anybody has blood and dirt on his hands, that would be Blair. Any information about his private dealings would have been far juicier than anything about Gordon Brown... Also, he was in power when the investigation into the hacking started and didn't go very far.

Murdoch and Tony Blair

Rebekah Brooks with Tony Blair

Murdoch with his protegee Rebekah Brooks

What we have so far is a story about Murdoch's organisation employing very unethical practices to gain information about a great number of people, either to sell newspapers or as ammunition against politicians and other people in positions of power. We have a number of Prime Ministers who had to ask Murdoch's permission to run for office (the protocol is to ask the Queen permission to form a government). The investigation was swept under the carpet for a number of years and the orders to disregard much of the evidence must have come from somebody very high up.

The story only started to cause some outrage when it came to light that a young murder victim, victims of terrorist attacks and dead soldiers were all targeted by Murdoch's unscrupulous organisation.

Milly Dowler (left) with her family

London bombings

British troops in Afghanistan


Murdoch has interests on both sides of the pond and it's highly unlikely that the same modus operandi wasn't employed in the US. Does he have the same clout and as much dirt on Americans as he does on the British? Will he be able to suppress any investigations in the US? He has many British politicians in his pocket, but ironically, a TV station like Fox News would fall foul of the broadcasting regulations in the UK.

Murdoch appears unconcerned, seen here reading the last
edition of the News of the World

If this man comes out of this scandal unscathed and still able to call the shots, we may have underestimated his power and influence. That's a very frightening thought indeed.

Forget ethics, forget the law, forget the Constitution, forget Democracy. Murdoch rules.