Murdoch Culture of Fear

The News is now the story. Today’s Reuters has a special report on the cynical, money-grubbing burn-out work culture at News of the World. Rebekah Brooks created a macho organization where reporters competed for the sleaziest sources…

“We used to talk to career criminals all the time. They were our sources,” says another former reporter from the paper who also worked for Murdoch’s daily tabloid, the Sun. “It was a macho thing: ‘My contact is scummier than your contact.’ It was a case of: ‘Mine’s a murderer!’ On the plus side, we always had a resident pet nutter around in case anything went wrong.”

And does this sound like extortion?

“It was a ridiculously cynical approach to news,” says Peter Burden, author of the 2008 book “News of the World? Fake Sheikhs & Royal Trappings.” “They just thought: here are these endless people that Joe Public are interested in because of ‘Big Brother’, and they thought they could do what the hell they liked with them and they raided them rotten, them and their families.”

Editors would then often use damaging stories as bargaining chips, trading them for future access to public figures or to build relationships with stars. Often, the paper would drop the story they had altogether and publish something more sympathetic.

“It would be things like: ‘We know you were sleeping with your secretary but we’ll keep it out of the paper if you give us the story about how you were given away as a child,” said the long-term freelancer.

“They used to call stories ‘levers’,” said the general news reporter.

If the News approach was applied to politicians, and if this culture extended to the US holdings that include Fox News, things are going to get really interesting on this side. Already Les Hinton, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has had to resign. What next?

WHAT’S NEXT: A look at Murdoch’s political money trail. With the Citizens United decision clearing the way for more corporate money in politics, this deserves investigation.

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9 thoughts on “Murdoch Culture of Fear

  1. From what I have seen, the pervasivenss of right-wing media, not just in the Murdoch empire but also on talk radio, even local papers like the Valley Breeze here in No. Providence, has spawned a critical mass of believers in right-wing thinking that is impervious to facts, other ideas, science, anything that is not part of the narrative. Even if Murdoch falls, there are plenty to take his place.

    The right-wing is increasingly successful politically and perhaps financially, but they are ruining the country and the planet. I doubt they can be stopped and recommend that even iof we continue the struggle we also enjoy the last days of a civilized society, there is still much to enjoy.

    • What is your “civilized”society Barry?A planned one?You’re welcome to live in one-just don’t hope for it here.
      The planned societies worldwide are not doing so well.I can’t wait for “klaus”to move to Europe where he can “dine” as he once put it.Their days are numbered even more than ours(if we don’t turn Obama out of office).

  2. Barry-that statement of yours is a gross exaggeration.
    Most people you characterize as “right wing”just want to not be taxed to death;want some semblance of control over who comes into the country and who stays;want a lessening of nanny state government breathing down their backs with enforced political correctness,oppressive gun control,soiciopolitical indoctrination in schools,and other intrusive meddling in the private lives of citizens.
    There is also a mistrust of government trying to dilute the American identity and our national sovereignty in the slide towards intternationalism.
    The science you take for gospel is sometimes flawed either by poor methodology or by design.

    I don’t give a hoot in hell for Michelle Bachmann,but i also cannot stand the idea of four more years of this strutting empty suit in the White House.I am not concerned with maintaining loopholes allowing the super-rich

  3. I don’t know what happened-so as I was saying,I support closing tax loopholes,but someone making $250,000/yr is not a plutocrat by any means.
    You use a very broad brush dismissing people who don’t follow the leftist party line.
    We aren’t all on the same page.
    I watch and read leftist sources because I don’t need my opinions shaped by anything but what I see for myself.
    I also pay attention to right leaning sources.
    I end up somewhere to the right of center on most issues and further to the right on others.
    I’m not sure if an issue like immigration even fits into the left/right parameters at all.

  4. The difference between science and gospel is that science is based on evidence, gospel is based on faith.

    • Yeah,I get it.Some people take scientific pronoucements on faith without critically examing what is being asserted and who is doing it.
      The whole global warming/climate change dispute has been so sontaminated by dishonest “science”on both sides of the issue that the truth is probably irrevocably lost.At least in terms of what the causes are.
      When politics gets into scientific methods,it all turns to garbage.
      It’d be nice if you ever questioned the left wing boilerplate one iota as much as you leap on anything conservative with derision and anger.
      I’m a strong believer in science untainted by ulterior motives.
      I also believe in a Creator because this Universe didn’t just make itself and develope such an intricate structure by happenstance.

  5. Observer, I know ndviduals such as you have complex nuanced views but I stand by my comment that right-wing thinking is runing the planet and the coutry.

    I disagree with your comments on Obama, seems clear to me he is the best President of my (long) adult lifetime who has mostly handled a difficult situation as best as can ber done. (except Afghanistan)

    The right-wing thinking has made it impossible to address the global climate crisis, the skyrocketing human population growth, to establish a reasonalbe health care system, to ensure the upper income folks pay their share, to nvest in necessary infrastructure, to support public higher education and keep it affordable for working class kids (as previus generatrions did to my benefit) – all this is leading to ruin.

    • Barry-Obama isn’t the worst President of my lifetime-Jimmy Carter certainly was.He brought more experience to the job and allowed some our our most serious problems to get a head of steam under his administration.
      Carter had been a Governor and naval officer,and he managed to completely screw up immigration,foreign policy involving the USSR and Iran,and he still thinks he was right!!
      How much of what you have are you willing to share?I love you progressives who like to say how much I should give away-look at yourself before you tell me anything-I’ll never make six figures in my life and I do not care much about what problems the “rest of the world” has.Let them take care of their own issues.
      We caan take in a certain number of refugees and legal immigrants,that’s it.
      Rep.Luis Gutierrez is basically threatening to “take it to the streets”if the Dream Act doesn’t pass.It sounds like he’s hankering for a race war here,and that’s the last thing we need.If he promotes violence,I hope he’s the first one it turns on.Most of my family is Hispanic to one degree or aanother and they sure don’t want what that scumbag Gutierrez is trying to stir up.
      I also benefited from a free public higher education.That’s no more in NY because some progressive fools decided that EVERYONE needed a free higher education,whether or not they were literate or not-the result was that the city university system collapsed under its own weight.theywere teaching remedial reading in college!! I’m not for this one world crap whatsoever-I believe in national boundaries that are meaningful.

    • BTW-some of the worst rape of the environment originates and has originated for a long time in China,Russia,Brazil,Indonesia,Eastern Europe-all right wing strongholds.Not quite.Your arguments are like a sieve concerning this particular issue.

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